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ISO 16355 — From Voice of Customer to Quality Assurance

There are many approaches to new product design and development, each with strengths and weaknesses. ISO 16355, the new standard for QFD, stands unique in that it is not tied to a specific set of tools, but is rather a framework onto which any number of tools can be included.

ISO 16355-1:2015, part 1 of the standard, in fact includes a tool matrix that identifies 124 methods and tools that have been integrated into QFD over the years in over 131 conference presentations. If you are interested, these papers have been assembled in one 1,400 page collection available from the QFD Institute (ISBN13 978-1-889477-86-2).

What also sets QFD apart from other methods is its cross-functionality. As most of our readers know, the "F" in QFD stands for organizational function, not product function. What this means is that product quality can only be assured if all relevant organizational groups participate together.

"F" in QFDThat is, Marketing must assure that the most important needs of the most important customers have been identified, prioritized, and measured against competitive alternatives. R&D must assure that innovative solutions out-perform the competition where it matters most. Design engineering must devise function and specification targets that exceed expectations and excite the customer. Production engineering must assure that build and commercialization processes meet these specifications in every product, every time. This holds whether the product is physical, service, or information-based. Support must assure that the customer can put the product into proper service that continues to provide benefit throughout its lifetime.

Some product development methods are excellent at capturing the voice of the customer, others excel at providing insight and focus, while still others assure innovation and build quality. But these methods tend to live within one organization group and must "throw" their results "over the wall" to the next group to do its work. QFD, when executed according the late Dr. Yoji Akao's Comprehensive approach that is documented in ISO 16355, has the linkages necessary to integrate all these groups on one team so that the work is co-developed simultaneously.

example of how things can go wrongLet's look at one exampleof how things can go wrong. Every December, a group of artists produce a calendar for the new year, to exhibit their inspirations in a useful set of prints, each with the days of the month large enough to hang on a wall and to write daily tasks.

The artists select which art work to be used for which month, provide print-ready electronic files, determine the number of copies to produce and whom to distribute to, and send this all to an online production and shipping company.

They have been doing this for a number of years with the same vendor, but somehow things changed this time. The electronic interface for uploading the artwork and distribution information worked as always before. But when copies of the final product arrived, the calendar pages (the actual months and dates) were from 2016 instead of 2017. Apparently, someone in the production company neglected to update the months/dates information to 2017. The mistake was caught when one of the recipients complained.

In other words, without Quality Assurance, the entire production run for these artists, and no doubt any other group using this same production company, became scrap.

The entire printing and shipping had to be redone at no additional charge - a huge loss for the production company.

Too often, QFD is seen as limited to only voice of customer analysis (VOC) or House of Quality. But in fact, the real power of QFD is the cross-functional bridges it builds between the customer, marketing, design, engineering, operations/production, and quality assurance.

This full cross-functionality is covered in ISO 16355 in these newly-released parts: The quality assurance connections are detailed in ISO/TR 16355-8:2017, which is part 8 of the standard that takes over from design optimization in Parts 6 and 7 and follows through detailed design and development, testing and validation, supply chain and procurement, build and produce, packaging and logistics, launch, support, and finally retirement from the market and flow into the next generation product.

This final linkages essentially closes the loop by assuring that the product development strategy is fulfilled, the customers are satisfied with the entire offering, and the competition is kept at bay.

Key areas of these standards are the core of the next QFD Green Belt® course. Please join us to build your professional skills and competitive advantages.

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