Customer satisfaction depends on the supplier determining what the customer really wants and needs to be successful as well as on how the supplier will meet the quality and product specifi cations and requirements. To do this, the supplier uses QFD to develop the action items needed for meeting the customer’s needs and wants through acceptable responses to questioning. Customers often are not aware of the QFD function occurring and are generally very open in their response and assistance to their potential or current supplier. To obtain this information, the supplier must decide what is thought to be the customer’s most important needs, until the supplier is told otherwise. Also, the higher up the decision chain, the more valuable the output to the questions asked.

Considerable planning is required for a successful questioning session. QFD is designed as a house (matrix) of many specifi c questions with primary and secondary needs determined through analysis of the initial customer solicitation. From this involvement, questions are selected as an identifi ed requirement on the customer request for information side, and at the top (roof), the supplier’ s measure of performance as perceived needs and concerns, when the service is provided.

What is established is a customer and supplier “ relationship grid. ” The grid is used to request information and then, when answered, to record the response of the customer. The matrix is used to quantify the importance of customer perceived service and quality items or any other items the matrix is set up to analyze. All industries and businesses can use the matrix by simply adjusting the relative importance factors to suit their business. The matrix can be narrowed down to specifi c analysis areas of the business, and when modifi ed with information requests, it can be used in other areas for customer input to your personnel.

Knowing what you think your customer needs and wants before developing your business relationship is a plus for any customer/supplier arrangement. QFD can focus on the analysis of your customer business relationship as to its ability to meet the customer ’ s needs. A fl ow of customer and supplier communication plan is shown for the design and product realization process.  The information developed in the initial house of quality does not stop but continues with new and more specifi c questions supplying the information to improve and encourage a discourse of information between each party.

This is the fi rst step in establishing both business and quality relationships with your customers, knowing what they want, need, and expect from you, their supplier. Table 3.3 shows response scoring to the questions in the relative column. Scoring can be by symbol or numerical value where a score can be generated and used for evaluation of your customer response system improvements over time.

A major reason why QFD and specifi cally customer contact is so important is an example of a major supplier/customer experience.

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