Matching the Voice of the Engineer to the Voice of the Customer: An Evolution of QFD
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Short, Timothy David; Garside, John; Appleton, Ernie; Morris, Adrian; McEachran, Harriet; Beeley, Edward
Section: Design Methods and Tools
Previous research has noted the need for engineers to understand the wants/needs of the customer if engineering enterprises are to remain commercially viable. It has also been shown that this commercial sustainability is a vital part of "Designing for Sustainable Development", rendering an understanding of the customer even more important. Traditionally, QFD has played the role of translating this Voice of the Customer into something that engineers can understand at a point in the design process when the target is still somewhat vague - the "Fuzzy Front End" of design. Unfortunately, QFD has not become as widely accepted as might be thought. This paper looks at some of the problems inherent in QFD and proposes a new methodology to fit into the Fuzzy Front End - "Voice of the Engineer/Voice of the Customer" (VoE/VoC). It goes beyond the pure analysis of QFD and the complexity that therefore ensues, to a method far simpler that has significant benefits. The method is described using the example of a mousetrap and then presents two commercial case studies, carried out by Durham University. Finally, the paper concludes that the new methodology has the potential to render QFD a relic of the past.