QFD was developed to ensure an open, planned, and effective method of exchanging and gathering information needed to manage and grow a business. ISO 9001:2000 has a specific requirement for customer information exchange. The section in chapter 7 called “ customer communication ” directly relates and requires a company to develop effective arrangements for communication with customers in relation to product information, enquiries, contracts, or order handling, which includes amendments, customer feedback, and customer complaints.

QFD is a proven quality method for ensuring that good communication is established between the customer and the supplier, as well as internally between their company departments. This is often an unrecognized intercompany problem until a serious problem occurs that internal communication should have eliminated. Companies that are successful in communication skills use QFD communication techniques. Repeated success with existing and new customers is the standard for their use of the QFD method. Training is available for individual QFD users in the Green and Black Belt expertise areas offered through websites on the Internet.

It is necessary to know what the direct infl uence on your business relationship thinks of your company. This information will give you insight as to what actions are needed to maintain your company as their prime supplier. What your customer ’ s actual needs and wants are involved in your business relationship. Contacts within all levels of your customer are necessary for a successful business relationship, and how you get reliable information is very important.

QFD is implemented immediately after customer and supplier contact occurs. When the program has commenced past the initial negotiation stage, the customer may provide a competitive product sample or design idea for the supplier to review for manufacture. Pricing, prototyping assistance, and specifi cations are discussed with a pending order and delivery date established. Then, depending on subsequent discussions, a contract or purchase order is written. The fi nal details are worked out, and a contract may be signed before business begins for the program. QFD is used to both establish and maintain good communications with the customer and to keep it strong and continually improving for continued business growth.

QFD is a reliable communication system used to establish good communication and is a recognized quality method that assists in building and opening up the customer communication bridge. This information collection method is shown in Figure 3.8 . As designed, it replicates a house, thus its name, the house of quality (HOQ). The QFD method of communication between customer and supplier is called the “ voice of the customer ” in matrix form.

QFD was designed to develop the information needed from any level of company management by just varying the type of questions asked, primary and secondary, and the type of information needed, planning, procedures, and people. When the roof of the house of quality is completed, additional information is gained and is identifi ed as the performance measure between the relationship items of planning, procedures, and people for this particular HOQ. As can be observed, a great potential of information is possible when completed. The HOQ can consider a host of variables and have them compared with others in a developing matrix of information that can then be used to build on a business relationship for success.

 

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