In today's world class operating environment it is becoming increasingly important to focus our efforts on satisfying our customer's needs and expectations. Satisfying reliability oriented features is no longer good enough. We must consider performance features and add unexpected features that will excite our customers. The features that excite a customer are the features most often spoken about.
This means, to lead in a world class market we must do much more than just meet customer's needs and expectations. We must also develop products in the shortest possible time at the lowest possible cost. The only way we remain competitive in a world class market is by accomplishing the goals of shortened development time, reduced test and manufacturing costs, and giving the customer a product which meets all of their needs and expectations.
In addition, we must also consider more than the end consumer when we define the term “customer.” There are many internal customer-supplier relationships in every aspect of our business: designs must be ready to manufacture and assemble; office procedures must be cleared of redundancies; and all support departments must be well coordinated and focused. All these efforts require careful planning.
This paper is about how the aforementioned goals can be accomplished by using a very powerful planning tool called Quality Function Deployment. People using this tool have reported significant reductions in lead time, development time, and start-up costs. For example, Komatsu developed and launched four new pieces of heavy equipment in one year using Quality Function Deployment versus a five-year industry standard.
We must meet this world class challenge and lead in competitiveness and shareholders equity.