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Quality Function Deployment: Should the IV House be a Duplex?

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010276D
Publication Date: 2002-Nov-14

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The IP.com Prior Art Database

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Rick W. Purcell: AUTHOR


This article proposes improvements for Quality Function Deployment to support new product launches, when the emphasis must shift from planning to reacting. QFD can also be used as a reacting tool by expanding it to generate a Process Troubleshooting Guide. This Guide can provide a traditional IV House that prevents countless problems from occurring and a reactive IV House that assists in the efficient resolution of the problems that do occur.

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� Quality Function Deployment:

Should the IV House be a Duplex?

by Rick W. Purcell, NPDP, Senior Research Scientist, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, rpurcell@kcc.com

While it is easy to become fascinated with the Fuzzy Front End, we must also recognize that putting new products on the shelves and new profits on the accounting ledger requires an equal obsession with the Well-Defined Rear End. Quality Function Deployment (QFD) provides a solid connection throughout the stages of a new product project by systematically tying the Voice of the Customer to product planning, manufacturing process planning and, ultimately, operations planning. The planning and prevention benefits of QFD are many; however, one might question: Why stop there?

Planning tools such as QFD are valuable contributors in the project stages leading up to the launch of a new product. Once the launch stage is reached, however, it is time to stop planning and start doing. As most anyone with manufacturing experience will attest, this means shifting the emphasis from planning to reacting. Can or should QFD make the transition from planning tool to reacting tool? The answer to both is; Yes!

It’s 2:00 a.m. on Saturday night, only 4 hours until time for the lead process engineer to report to work for his eleventh consecutive 13-hour shift in support of manufacturing start-up for the company’s newest product. The phone rings. The panicked voice of the night shift operations leader starts rambling…”QA rejected our last production lot! The current lot likely has the same problem! We tried a couple of things but nothing worked! What should we do?”� � � � �

Despite the best of planning and prevention efforts, this fictional depiction is all too real for many people. And it is a pretty safe bet that the lead engineer’s drowsy response to “What should we do?” will not be “Look for a solution in the QFD Charts.” This is unfortunate for the solution may well be hidden therein.

The Subdivision of Prevention

Quality Function Deployment for a continuous process traditionally consists of four main steps:

1.      Capturing the Voice of the Customer �

2.      Building The House of Quality

3.      Building the II/III House

4.      Building the IV House

“The Voice of the Customer is the cornerstone of the QFD process.”[1] In this stage, there are three key pieces of consumer information that are gathered through market research. First, the relevant product attributes are identified. Second, the relative importance ratings of the product attributes are determined. Finally, competitive products are rated relative to the product attributes. An example of a completed Voice of the Customer worksheet is shown in Exhibit 1.� � � � � �

Exhibit 1. Voice of the Consumer




� Customer Survey

Product Attributes







Tastes Good







Doesn't make me sick







Not burnt on the outside














Not raw on the inside






Looks good







Is tender...