VDQI - An Approach to Predict Vehicle Design Quality at Early Stages of Product Development 2010-01-0699
In today's world with a dynamic market and varying customer expectations, it becomes inevitable that we find means of recognizing customer needs with all dimensions and instill them as inherent specifications of a product. Automobiles no way fall away from these intangible demands of the changing world, as personal conveyance (car/motorcycle/scooter) nowadays is more of a basic need.
It becomes more of challenge to automotive manufacturers, to offer continuously improving quality products, at competitive prices to be in business. It's very important that as automotive designers we recognize quality in its totality and establish a predictive methodology to inculcate quality into the design at early stages of vehicle development.
In this paper, an effort has been made to understand, define, recognize the meaning of product quality from various perspectives and develop a systematic approach to predict product quality, as a sub function of engineering design quality and is logically transformed to a measurable index. Few elements of the study being subjective in nature, it becomes mandatory that we ensure repeatability and reproducibility in the results and conclusions drawn. During the process, specific focus is given in setting up standard operating procedures and guidelines ensuring minimum errors while executing the experiment.
This work is inspired by recognition of the fact that the lifecycle of a product and its market presence has significant relationship to the capability of the product in continuously meeting its customer needs. Vehicle Design Quality Index (VDQI) is an index which indicates the extent to which the product specification (function and form) meets the expectation of its target customer. VDQI tries to recognize various dimensions of product quality through five basic classified indices i.e. product performance, eligibility to target application, customer perception, emotional power and product value.
VDQI is derived and established as a predictive engineering design tool to measure, target, monitor and improve vehicle design quality throughout its lifecycle. Preliminary study of the approach is encouraging and shows a potential capability of VDQI to understand the target segment, its customer needs, evaluate benchmark capabilities, set design targets and arrive at right product specifications for the right market. However establishing live correlation in mapping the index to product lifecycle and market presence is an ongoing process.
Predicting ‘Design Quality’ (function and form Vs. customer needs) along with focus on other domains of quality like, manufacturing, supply chain and sales & service will definitely set industrial benchmarks helping designers to deliver high quality products to the market.