Daniela Cosma, Dorel Badea,
Marinel – Adi Mustaţă
“Nicolae Bălcescu” Land Forces Academy, Sibiu
Abstract: This article sets a context for QFD in terms of
the problems QFD helps us solve, advancing a conceptual
framework for the application of QFD to planning strategies in
the economical, educational and military field in Romania. It also
shows the opportunities and the risks of using QFD instruments.
By focusing resources on the key elements resulting from the real
requirements of the clients , and on the qualitative standards
specific to European and international market, to education and
military technology
it can be determined whether simple
improvements are sufficient or new strategies are needed to
increase the efficiency of the transformation process that all
economic , education and military institutions have undergone in
the context of integrating in UE and NATO structures.
One of the most important product development
process concepts in recent years, specifically aimed
at ,,reducing product development time and adapting the
characteristics of produces and services to the client
requirements”[5] is QFD For most organizations, the
product or service development process was in existence
long before QFD came on the scene. The introduction of
QFD is often viewed by developers in Romania as an addon - a tool that must or can be used in addition to the
existing development processes a. An alternate way we are
presenting in our paper is of viewing QFD is as an organizer,
or as the glue that can bind together the many aspects of
development. However, like most tools, it is not the
answer for every job. Although QFD has the potential to
meet the product development objectives of shortened cycle
time and reduced cost, it is not a short-term answer to
product development problems. QFD is one technique
program managers should have available for consideration
in application to their program. Only a high level of
constructive communication between Product Design,
Manufacturing and Purchasing can guarantee the best
answers to the question how these questions, and the
smartest decisions at the outset of development.
To a large extent, thinking of QFD as being at the
center of the communication process helps each functional
group to find out how its work fits in, and to tell all the
other groups what it needs from them
In Diagram 1, the objects arranged in a circle
around QFD represent typical organization functions, each
of which plays a role in successfully bringing a product to
market. In order to execute their functions well,
theseorganizational functions must communicate with other
efficiently, and must all befocused on a common goal. For
example, Purchasing must negotiate for the best materials,
services, at the best price.
Diagram 1: QFD Organizer Of The Development Process
Qfd has its roots in japan of the late 60’s and early
70’s. the successes in japan helped lead to the adoption of
qfd by companies in the united states starting in the early
80’s. since then, with applications across many different
manufacturing and service based companies in the us, qfd
has led to some dramatic success stories:reductions in
overall project costs (e.g. 50%), reductions in project cycle
time (e.g. 33%),and major increases in productivity (e.g.
200%) [2].
The qfd methodology is implemented via the
following sequential steps [1]:
1. the objective statement - identification of the customer,
their requirements, and the goal of the qfd team.
2. the whats - identification of the characteristics of the
product and/or services desired by the customer.
3. the hows - identification of the ways of achieving the
These steps are applied across the sequential phases
of a product/service development cycle: product/service
planning, design planning, process planning, and production
planning. for each phase, a matrix is used to map from the
desired characteristics (the whats) to the options for meeting
these characteristics (the hows),[2,4]in phase 1 the whats are
the customer requirements and act as the matrix inputs. the
matrix outputs for phase 1 are the product/service design
specifications, the hows. these phase 1 matrix outputs, the
hows, in turn become the phase 2 matrix inputs, the whats,
this sequential approach continues,resulting in production
requirements as the outputs, or hows, of phase 3.
,,The vendor's goods and services must have exactly
the characteristics that allow the developers to deliver the
product or service that their customers will prefer over the
competition. the purchasing agents must understand what
manufacturing needs and what product design has called
for, and must understand how these things relate to
customer needs”[6]:. small misunderstandings can lead to
large errors. likewise, the product design and manufacturing
people must know what's possible in the way of purchasing
from suppliers.are the specifications realistic?are the right
things being specified? could better things be specified?
“Qfd provides criteria for determining the
goodness or appropriateness of any decision. these criteria
are derived directly from, or can be clearly traced to,
customer needs.”[4]
Experimental part
Hence, the voice of the customer becomes the key
backdrop against which communication occurs during the
development process. development cycles are generally
rather long for most products and services. automobile
development cycles in the u.s. were about 5 years during
the 1980's, and are now approaching 3 years during the
competitive '90's. desktop computers take 6 to 12 months
to develop by the most competitive u.s. companies
(completely new designs take much longer.) the time
between software releases is generally 1 to 2 years. brand
new services from financial companies often take six to
eighteen months to launch. the biggest problem developers
face with these long time frames is dealing with the
uncertainties of the future. who can be sure that decisions
made on a particular day will be appropriate in the
business climate of one, two or five years in the future? so
many things can change during that time. customer
attitudes could change, based on political, social or
scientific developments that could not have been predicted.
even if the events could be predicted, the reactions of
customers cannot be predicted with certainty. against such
a backdrop of uncertainty, how can the developer produce
the right product or service at the right time? two strategies,
used in combination, can go a long way toward reducing
these risks: reduce cycle time, and stay tuned to the
customer. we've discussed the first strategy elsewhere
staying tuned to the customer means developing a clear
and detailed understanding of customer needs during the
planning stages of development. it also means checking
development decisions against up-to-date assessments of
customer needs on a continuing basis. the longer the
development cycle, the more likely the marketplace and
associated customer needs will change. the change will
most likely be a quantitative change -- that is, importance
levels or satisfaction performance levels on the customer
needs may vary. less likely, but very significant if it
happens, is a qualitative change: a new customer attribute
may appear. the qfd matrix or matrices can easily be
updated with such changes, and development targets and
priorities can be reassessed to determine whether the
development work as planned is still on track. once again,
by placing qfd at the center of the organization's
development communication model, any changes to the
voice of the customer can quickly be assessed against each
function's organization's motivations are very
similar to an individual's motivations. this analogy
between individuals and organizations is quite natural,
since organizations are made up of individuals. as
individuals, we first need food and shelter. once we have
these, we seek steady supplies of food and shelter - in
other words, security. if our personal security can be taken
for granted we may turn our attention to more abstract
goals, such as expanded influence on the people around us.
Results and discussion
The most common threat to revenue flow is the
competitive threat - another organization offering products
or services that meet the same needs as our organization is
meeting. other threats arise from rising costs or waste within
the organization. in this never-ending cycle to deal with
threats to survival, security and expansion, organizations are
continually evolving. the organization most successful in
coping with these threats has the greatest ability to expand
its influence, and therefore imposes threats on other similar
organizations with similar goals. qfd can play an important
role in helping organizations become stronger, and therefore
more likely to survive, more secure, and more able to
expand. in this chapter we'll explore various ways that qfd
can help. ,,a useful way of thinking about this is to divide an
organization's coping strategies into two main categories:
decreasing its costs, and increasing its revenues”[5].
The manner in which qfd is implemented may have
a large impact on the benefits derived and thus managers
should be reluctant in pushing qfd on their teams without
their consent and commitment [3]. qfd can also be
introduced in a bottom-up manner by a roduct team member,
or by another neutral party, such as the quality assurance
group. when all the team members and their management
are committed to qfd as a means to achieve a specific goal,
and when they and upper management treat the time, energy
and money spent on implementing the process as an
investment in the product and team, qfd may provide the
significant benefits identified.
Qfd is a powerful tool that can lead to significant
improvements in product and process performance.
however, like most tools, it is not the answer for every
job.although qfd has the potential to meet the product
development objectives of shortened cycle time and reduced
cost, it is not a short-term answer to product development
problems. qfd is one technique program managers should
have available for consideration in application to their
Key to competitiveness is the ability to respond to
the competition by producing new products and services
rapidly. there are many obstacles to rapid production of
products and services. some of these are:poor understanding
of customer needs;failure to strategically prioritize
efforts;willingness to take on unmanageable risks;tendency
toward unbuildable designs, undeliverable services;overreliance on formal specifications;testing scenarios which
fail to find key defects.
Qfd is time-consuming. worse than that, it is
explicitly time-consuming, in the sense that the qfd makes
obvious and visible the need for several long meetings,
attended by quite a few people. for groups that have never
used qfd before, this appears as time added to their already
crowded schedules. what's not as explicit or visible is the
time that qfd saves. the first step in any development
activity is a "requirements phase" in which key decisions
are made that determine the path of the rest of the
development process. in most development environments
this process is experienced by the development team as
unstructured, endlessly recycling, mysterious and
unsatisfactory. the qfd process systematically guides a
development group through a process of answering
questions and making judgments that are exactly those they
should be dealing with in order to determine the
requirements. the difference between qfd and less structured
requirements-setting processes is that qfd forces
development teams to consider all the issues, especially all
the customer needs, in a systematic might seem
that a comprehensive look at all issues may take longer than
most development groups customarily spend. however,
experience has shown that the qfd process generally covers
more ground faster than less structured methods. not only
can qfd reduce the overall development process by
providing more complete planning, it also takes less time
than less structured planning methods.this is because qfd
provides a process, a clear set of steps, for making the upfront decisions that constitute the requirements phase of
development. qfd can be seen as a planning road map, that
informs the development team of what decisions must be
made at each step, and what information is needed to make
those decisions. this road map helps the team to plan in such
a way that they will have the information they need when
it's time to make decisions, thus reducing the likelihood that
they will need to revisit previous decisions.
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