House of Quality
There are many different methods used in the product engineering field of business activity, such as the Quality function deployment one. It was developed in Japan in order to help transform the so-called “voice of the customer”, or simply “VOC”, into some particular engineering characteristics for a product.
The mentioned term “voice of the customer” is widely used in business and IT. It helps describe the in-depth process of capturing the customers’ expectations, same as the preferences and different versions. As one of the market research techniques, the Voice of the Customer produces a particular detailed set of both customers’ wants and customers’ needs, which can be organized into some definite hierarchical structure.
Once the process of defining is finished, the previously mentioned set can be prioritized due to the relative satisfaction and importance of the available alternatives. Voice of the Customer studies are known for consisting of both quantitative and qualitative research steps. They are usually conducted at the start of any new process, service or product design initiative in order to understand the customer's needs and wants better. It is also known as the key input for new product definition as well as the setting of the detailed design specifications.
There are many techniques used for gathering the needed information. The focus groups, individual interviews, the ethnographic and contextual inquiry techniques are known to be the most popular ones. All of them have something in common involving the structured in-depth interviews, which are known to be focusing on the customers' experiences with current products or their alternatives within the category which is treated under consideration. Needs statements can be after extracted, organized into some more usable and useful hierarchy and prioritized by the customers on the final stage of this process.
Pic. 1. House of Quality Customers Competitive Assessment
It is very important for any product development team to be involved in the mentioned process. Those who are responsible for producing the high-quality products and/or services are expected to define the right topic, design the needed samples, generate the questions for the discussion guide (observing or conducting) and analyze the interviews, processing and extracting the needs statements after. In both business and engineering, any new product development is known to be covering the complete process of bringing a new product to market where there is a scarcity of something in particular. The most central aspect of any new product development process is product design one. It stands along with other different business considerations.
Any new product development can be described as the transformation of some market opportunity into a product that is available for sale. That particular product can be either physical or intangible, such as some belief, experience or service. While developing a new product, it is important to understand all the customers’ needs as well as customers’ wants, same as the environment, the nature of the market itself and a few other constituents.
Key variables that drive any customer need is time, quality and cost so it is important to take it into consideration while making a new product. Developing different strategies and practices in order to better satisfy the customers’ requirements may lead to getting the needed result of increasing the sales. Also, it is always possible to increase your own market share by a regular development of your new products.
There are known to be many challenges and uncertainties which companies often face throughout the processes of both development and production. Using both the elimination of barriers to communication and the best practices are known to be the main concerns for managing the new products development process.
The definition of so-called VOC or Voice of Customer is the following: actual customer descriptions in words for the features and functions customers wish for services and goods. This term can be also viewed in terms of a customer indicating the external one of the supplying some entity or a few entities.
The original developer of QFD or Quality function deployment was Yoji Akao, describing it as one of the methods that can be used for transforming the qualitative user demands into some quantitative parameters, deploying the functions in order to form the needed quality and deploying different methods in order to achieve the design quality into some subsystems and/or component parts. The mentioned author combined his work in both quality control and quality assurance points with function deployment that is known to be widely used in the so-called “value engineering”.
The house of quality as a part of quality function deployment can identify and classify all the customer identifies and desires, the importance of such desires, identifying the engineering characteristics which can be relevant to the mentioned desires, allowing the verification of the correlations and assigning the priorities and objectives for the system requirements.
Pic. 2. House of Quality solution
The output of the house of quality can be a matrix that can be created with the help of both ConceptDraw DIAGRAM and ConceptDraw STORE applications. Both of them can be always downloaded from this site and used for creating the HOQ diagrams and HOQ matrices. Having the House of Quality solution from the ConceptDraw STORE application might result in great looking drawings as it offers two stencil libraries to use the design elements from.
Thus, having such design symbols which represent different actions and shapes such as Plus, Plus contour, Circled plus, Minus, Minus contour, Circled minus, Circled X cross, Square contour, Square, Arrow up, Arrow up contour, Arrow down, Arrow down contour, Circle contour, Circle, Circled dot, Ellipse, Triangle up contour, Triangle up, Triangle down contour, Triangle down, Diamond, Diamond contour, Star contour, Star, Sharp, Tick, Tick contour, Asterisk 5 points, Asterisk 6 points and others, may help any ConceptDraw DIAGRAM user create the needed drawing within a short period of time getting a great looking result as well as a professionally looking one.