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Example research essay topic: Quality Function Deployment - 1,644 words

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Product development knits a new technology or novel idea together with specific customer requirements to fill a corporate strategic need. The customer requirements are deployed through the hierarchy of the product and through time as the technology being embodied in the product is refined. The deployment of customer requirements into a product involves numerous decisions at all product hierarchical levels. Some useful concepts in understanding the complexity of decisions in product development are the following: Quality Function Deployment (QFD), teamwork, and designation of static/ dynamic status of parts of the product early in the development process. QFD is one of the many tools existing for Concurrent Engineering. It is a tool to translate the wishes of the customer into technical demands for the product. Demands for the design, funtional demands and process demands originate in these technical demands.

With these demands it is possible to fit the wishes of the customer to the product. As a consequence of this it is possible to manufacture a product that fulfils all the needs of a client. Furthermore QFD makes a comparison between the already existing product and the products of the more important competitors. The Definition of Quality Function Deployment Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a way of making the 'voice of the customer' heard throughout an organization. It is a systematic process for capturing customer requirements and translating these into requirements that must be met throughout the 'supply chain'. The result is a new set of target values for designers, production people, and even suppliers to aim at in order to produce the output desired by customers. QFD is particularly valuable when design trade-offs are necessary to achieve the best overall solution, e.g.

because some requirements conflict with others. QFD also enables a great deal of information to be summarized in the form of one or more charts. These charts capture customer and product data gleaned from many sources, as well as the design parameters chosen for the new product. In this way they provide a solid foundation for further improvement in subsequent design cycles. QFD is sometimes referred to by other 'nicknames' - the voice of the customer (from its use as a way of communicating customer needs), or the House of Quality (from the characteristic house shape of a QFD chart). QFD as discussed here contains far more. King (1989) and Clausing and Pugh (1991) provide more extensive and complete views.

Dean (1992) views QFD as a system engineering process which transforms the desires of the customer/user into the language required, at all project levels, to implement a product. It also provides the glue necessary, at all project levels, to tie it all together and to manage it. Finally, it is an excellent method for assuring that the customer obtains high value from your product, actually the intended purpose of QFD. Mizuno and Akao (1994) indicates that QFD is far more than has previously been disclosed. It is clearly the mechanism for deploying quality, reliability, cost, and technology throughout the product, the project to bring forth the product, and the enterprise as a whole. According to Akao (1990), QFD "is a method for developing a design quality aimed at satisfying the consumer and then translating the consumer's demand into design targets and major quality assurance points to be used throughout the production phase.

... [QFD] is a way to assure the design quality while the product is still in the design stage." As a very important side benefit, Akao (1990) points out that, when appropriately applied, QFD has demonstrated the reduction of development time by one-half to one-third. Sullivan (1986) says that "The main objective of any manufacturing company is to bring new (and carryover) products to market sooner than the competition with lower cost and improved quality. The mechanism to do this is called quality function deployment .... [QFD is] an overall concept that provides a means of translating customer requirements into the appropriate technical requirements for each stage of product development and production (i.e., marketing strategies, planning, product design and engineering, prototype evaluation, production process development, production, sales). ... In QFD, all operations are driven by the 'voice of the customer'; QFD therefore represents a change from manufacturing-process quality control to product-development quality control." QFD is a structured process, a visual language, and a set of interlinked engineering and management charts which uses the seven management (new) tools. It establishes customer value using the voice of the customer and transforms that value to design, production, and manufacturing process characteristics.

The result is a systems engineering process which prioritizes and links the product development process so that it assures product quality as defined by the customer/user. Additional power derives from use within a concurrent engineering environment. QFD, as applied under the kaizen philosophy and within total quality control, is by far the most highly developed form of integrated product and process development in existence. According to Akao (1990) the definition of QFD reflects two purposes: Quality deployment: focus on the product, deployment of customer needs and requirements together with other important areas of of the product, e.g. technology, cost, reliability etc. Quality function deployment in the narrow sense: focus on the processes, deployment of quality activities in the functional organization. Together these two purposes create 'Quality function deployment in the broad sense' or Comprehensive Quality Function Deployment. To rephrase this in a single sentence, Comprehensive QFD is the simultaneous deployment of quality, technology, cost, and reliability throughout the product, throughout the project to bring forth the product, and throughout the enterprise as a whole. Comprehensive QFD include the simultaneous deployment of: The quality deployment component of comprehensive QFD is shown below.

Note that the roof and side roof on the charts correspond to a deployment, in the sense of the systematic diagram, rather than to the correlation matrix used in the USA for the house of quality. The quality chart is the key to quality deployment. But we must remember that it is only one chart of many in the Bob King matrix of matrices (King, 1989), which provided the West with it's first glimpse of a recent version by Prof Ohfuji (Ofuji, 1995) shown at the next page. According to Mizuno (1988), the seven new tools are the product of the Japanese Society for Quality Control Technique Development. After a worldwide search, in 1976 they proposed the following new tools for quality control: Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC) They were chosen to meet the following criteria: The ability to assist in the exchange of information The ability to disseminate information to concerned parties The ability to use "unfiltered expression" Nayatani, Eiga, Futami and Miyagawa (1994) note that the "Committee for Developing New QC Tools was dissolved in 1978 and reconstituted as The Seven New QC Tools Research Group for the long-term study of the new tools. ... The First Seven New QC Tools Symposium was held in 1979." Figure 3 on page 5 uses a relations diagram to examine the problem solving process with and without the seven new tools. If you want to understand the power of these tools, you must study it.

A personal observation is that a concept can only be expressed if the language is rich enough to permit the concept to be expressed. A corollary is that many concepts cannot be expressed because the language is not rich enough. The seven new tools compose a rich visual language which allows the user to easily explore and decompose complexity that cannot be dealt with otherwise. According to Mizuno(1988), the relations diagram method is a technique developed to clarify intertwined causal relationships in a complex situation in order to find an appropriate solution. It is typically represented graphically as squared ellipses (concepts) connected by directed lines (arrowheads show direction). The directed lines represent causal relations between the concepts. He further notes that relations diagrams can be used to Determine and develop quality assurance policies Establish promotional plans for TQC introduction Design steps to counter market complaints Improve quality in the manufacturing process (especially in planning to eliminate latent defects) Promote quality control in purchased or ordered items Provide measures against troubles related to payment and process control Effectively promote small group activities Reform administrative and business departments Mizuno(1988), says that the affinity diagram method (KJ method) clarifies important but unresolved problems by collecting verbal data from disordered and confused situations and analyzing that data by mutual affinity.

It is typically represented graphically as nested squared ellipses (concepts) which have smaller and smaller subgroupings of concepts. Establish a QC policy for a new company or a new factory and to implement that plan Establish a QC policy concerning new projects, new products, or new technology and to implement that plan Conduct quality assurance market surveys when entering a new untested policy Find a starting point for TQC promotion by creating a consensus among people with varying opinions regarding the problems that arise within each department Invigorate project teams within various groups According to Mizuno(1988), the systematic diagram method searches for the most appropriate and effective means of accomplishing given objectives. ... Systematic diagrams can be divided into two types: The constituent-component-analysis diagram breaks down the main subject into its basic elements and depicts their relationships to the objectives and means of obtaining those objectives. The plan-development diagram systematically shows the means and procedures necessary to successfully implement a given plan. It is typically represented graphically either a horizontal or vertical tree structure connecting the elements. the systematic diagram method can be used to Deploy a design-quality plan in the development of a new product Depict the relationship between a QC production process chart and the development of certified levels of quality designed to improve the accuracy of quality assurance activities Develop ideas in order to solve problems dealing with quality, cost, and delivery that arise in new businesses Develop objectives, policies, and implementation steps Pursue the specification of increased efficiency in parts and control functions Naya ....

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Research essay sample on Quality Function Deployment

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