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QFD Diet

picture - a diet scaleThe COVID pandemic has isolated many of us at home and amplified our desires for comfort food. Perhaps, like me, you are worried about gaining weight and fitting into your office clothes.

As I attend my lectures and read articles on dieting, it occurs to me that while there are many uncontrollable aspects to our lives, we quality professionals should be seeking variables we can control. I offer my perspective on using our TQM and QFD principles and methods for this purpose.

Quality Principles and Methods

Quality Assurance to achieve goodness and prevent problems rather than Quality Control to solve problems. We know that those who put out fires always get more rewards than those who prevent them. It’s human nature, although it is illogical in so many ways. Sadly, my logic does not work well -- if I eat the cake I gain one pound, but if I refuse the cake, I should lose one pound. But from a health perspective, we can examine the actions and choices we make that lead to wellness rather than the inaction and poor choices that lead to regret.

Focus and Priority are necessary when we cannot always make perfect choices all the time. If you are familiar with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), you know that humans make the most accurate choice when comparing two things at a time, or pairwise comparison. That means, when choosing between alternatives of a high calorie pizza or a healthy salad, let’s first pairwise compare the judgment criteria –- which is more important, enjoying 15 minutes of a hot slice of Pizza Hut or whatever your favorite pizza parlor, or being alive to see your grandchildren graduate university?

Root Cause Analysis can work for both quality assurance (design approach) or problem solving (analytic approach). You may know the 4M of the fishbone diagram for problem solving (Man, Machine, Method, Materials), but here are the 6P of wellness quality assurance: People, Place, Process/Program, Plan, Provisions, Physical activity.

Data is your source of truth. You can track your food choices and physical activity, as well as weight, glucose, body fat%, calories, waist circumference, and other characteristics in control charts to see trends, common cause and special cause variation, etc. Don’t try to remember – write it down. Use root cause analysis to understand what goes right (common cause variation and how to maintain it) and what goes wrong (special cause variation and how to improve it).

Gemba is where we find the truth. Investigate what is in your food, who and how it is prepared, and other places where the true situation must be observed. Be sure to mask up when you go out, please.

Market In vs Product Out thinking can best be parodied with the Sixties song “If you can’t eat the food you love, than love the food you eat.” (apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young).

Defined Process combines a few of the above methods regarding planning and measuring data. Find what works for you and repeat it. If the process is stable, you should be able to predict the results. If it is not stable (look at your control charts), then weight gains or losses may just be random. Follow a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle so that you can take corrective actions in a timely way.

Participation by Everyone. I like to diet in secret, too. Then, when I fail, no one knows. By building in the assumption that I will fail, I will never succeed. This is risky, but tell your family and friends, your colleagues, even the waiter. Some of my best successes have been at restaurants where I tell the waitperson “My doctor put me on a severe diet of low fat, low salt, low carb, but not low taste. Please help me to stay healthy. What can you recommend?”

Next Process is Your Customer. How you feel tomorrow is the customer of the choices you make today. Try not to eat until you hate yourself!

Hoshin Kanri Diet

diagram - hoshin kanri dietOne of my first QFD teachers, Akashi Fukuhara, introduced me to this Hoshin Diet (click here for a larger diagram). It lays out a long term vision, short term plan, measurable targets and the means to achieve them. Make your own model following this approach and let us know how it worked.

If you need more information about QFD, quality methods and tools, AHP, Hoshin, etc., please join our next Virtual QFD Green Belt® training and the upcoming QFD Black Belt® training planned later in 2021. Your questions and comments are always welcome; please contact us.


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