The house of quality: matrix "1" in a QFd process
The House of Quality (HOQ) is the first matrix that a product development team uses to initiate a Quality Function Deployment (QFD) process. This matrix is especially powerful because of the amount of information that can be documented and analyzed. QFD methodology requires that the team ask specific questions about customer needs, competitors, and how their organization will meet the challenges of providing products that delight the customer.
Below are the step needed to create a House of Quality.
Customer Requirements - The first step in a QFD project is to determine what market segments will be analyzed during the process and to identify who the customers are. The team then gathers information from customers on the requirements they have for the product or service. In order to organize and evaluate this data, the team uses simple quality tools like Affinity Diagrams or Tree Diagrams.
Regulatory Requirements - Not all product or service requirements are known to the customer, so the team must document requirements that are dictated by management or regulatory standards that the product must adhere to.
Customer Importance - On a scale from 1 - 5, customers then rate the importance of each requirement. This number will be used later in the relationship matrix.
Customer Rating of the Competition - Understanding how customers rate the competition can be a tremendous competitive advantage. In this step of the QFD process, it is also a good idea to ask customers how your product or service rates in relation to the competition. There is remodeling that can take place in this part of the House of Quality. Additional rooms that identify sales opportunities, goals for continuous improvement, customer complaints, etc., can be added.
Technical Descriptors/"Voice of the Engineer" - The technical descriptors are attributes about the product or service that can be measured and benchmarked against the competition. Technical descriptors may exist that your organization is already using to determine product specification, however new measurements can be created to ensure that your product is meeting customer needs.
Direction of Improvement - As the team defines the technical descriptors, a determination must be made as to the direction of movement for each descriptor.
The Relationship Matrix - The relationship matrix is where the team determines the relationship between customer needs and the company's ability to meet those needs. The team asks the question, "if I control this technical descriptor, will it have a positive impact on the customer's need?" Relationships can either be weak, moderate, or strong and carry a numeric value of 1, 3 or 9.
Technical Analysis of Competitor Products - To better understand the competition, engineering then conducts a comparison of competitor technical descriptors. This process involves reverse engineering competitor products to determine specific values for competitor technical descriptors.
Technical Values for Technical Descriptors - At this stage in the process, the QFD team begins to establish target values for each technical descriptor. Target values represent "how much" for the technical descriptors.
Correlation Matrix - This room in the matrix is where the term House of Quality comes from because it makes the matrix look like a house with a roof. The correlation matrix is probably the least used room in the House of Quality; however, this room is a big help to the design engineers in the next phase of a comprehensive QFD project. Team members must examine how each of the technical descriptors impact each other. The team should document strong negative relationships between technical descriptors and work to eliminate physical contradictions.
Absolute Importance - Finally, the team calculates the absolute importance for each technical descriptor. This numerical calculation is the product of the cell value and the customer importance rating. Numbers are then added up in their respective columns to determine the importance for each technical descriptor. Now you know which technical aspects of your product matters the most to your customer!
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