Determine Critical Customer Requirements (IV-53)

 Ultimately, it is the customer who determines the value of any product (goods and services) with a decision to buy or not by.  These decisions of based on a complex system of critical customer requirements.  In order to manage (control and improved) any business process, one must be able to determine the critical customer requirements that influence these decisions.

Customer value is made up of cost, quality, features, and availability factors (CQFA).  To prosper, a business process must do well and at least one (1) of these four (4) areas while at least meeting acceptable levels in the others.  If a business can be “best in class” in any of these four (4) quadrants, or above average in more than one quadrant, they can thrive.  However, the level of the bar in all the quadrants is constantly changing because of the environment and competition.  For this reason, determination of critical customer requirements must be a continuing activity.

In addition to looking into customers CQFA preferences, it also helps to understand the entire system of customer expectations, needs, and priorities.  To understand clinical relationships and interactions of all these factors, tools, such as the cause–and–effect and quality function deployment, should be employed.

Customer Expectations

A deeper knowledge of the customers is required in order to properly serve them.  There is a need to go beyond the sale, to uncover the subjective factors of why the product was purchased.  The emphasis on listening to the customer, results and information on customer expectations, priorities of expectation, and needs.

The customer’s expectations of the product can be described through an analogy similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  (Albrecht, 1992):

  • Basic
  • Expected
  • Desired (IV-54)
  • Unanticipated

customer needs

Customer needs are not stable, but are continually changing.  A product of service that satisfies a certain need may generate new needs for the customer.  Miles levels hierarchy of needs would be a good illustration of the advancement of needs (physical, safety, social, self-esteem, and self–awareness).  As an individual’s needs are for field, he/see advances of the hierarchy.  As the customer obtains a suitable product of service (the basic needs are for field), they will look for new attributes.

Karen Lewis customer needs as follows:

Stated needs

Real needs

Perceive needs

Cultural needs

Unintended needs

These are customer needs related to the use of product


Safety needs

Product simplification features


Service for product failures

Customer service

Customer’s needs are changing at a more rapid rate than before.  They require new products or services to take the place of existing or inadequate once.

Customer priorities

The customer will have priorities as to which of their meeting expectations and needs will be met.  Thoughts, supplier has a problem and determining how to know what they’re customers want and what the companies priorities should be calm.  Services or products that are high priority today, may be unimportant 5 years later.

Companies can make used of customer interviews, surveys, focus groups, phone surveys, male surveys, audits, self-reports, or other data gathering tools to identify customer needs and expectations.  Both same tools can be used by the customer to assigned priorities to the quality attributes of the companies products or services.  The tools do not have to be complicated but should assess the right questions:

What attributes are of value?

How desirable is each attribute?

How do we compare with competitors products?

What other features or services would be of value?

The information could be gathered and summarized for management use.  The use of priorities for customer needs and expectations can able to company to respond in a more timely manner.  They can also direct and improvement team towards addressing an area of weakness.

Quality function development

Quality function development (2 half D) is a tool that is sometimes referred to as “voice of the customer,” or as the “house of quality.”  Quality function deployment has been described as a process to ensure that customers wants and needs are heard and translated into technical characteristics

The technical characteristics are handled by the company of the design function, or better still, through a cross functional team that includes sales, marketing, design engineers, manufacturing engineers, and operations.   This activity should focus the product or services unsatisfying customer requirements.  2.   She’ll affect Dee is a tool for the entire organization 2 use.  It is flexible and customized for each case in works well for manufactory products or in the service industry.

Every LFT provides a graphical method for expressing relationships between customer wants and design features.  It is a matrix.  List the attributes a customer wants and compares it to the design features (services that satisfy customer wants).

The collection of customer wants and expectations are expressed to the methods available to most any organization: Surveys, focus groups, interviews, trade shows, hotlines, ETC.  The house of quality is 1 technique to organize the data.  The house of quality is so named because of the image used in its construction.  The use of Metro sees is the key to the building of the house..  The primary metric is the relationship metric between the customer needs or wants in the design features and requirement.  Hunter, 1994.

The construction of the house follows, similar to Hauser

The left side of the house has to customer needs

The ceiling has design features and technical requirements

The right side continues to customer priorities (comparisons)

The foundation contains to benchmarking, target values

The roof of the house contains and metrics describing the relationship between the design feature

The possible benefits of using the every FD process are:

Created customer driven environment

Reduces the cycle time for new products

Uses concurrent engineering methods

Reduces designed to manufactory costs (fewer changes)

Increases communications through cross functional change

Creates data for proper documentation of engineering knowledge

Establishes priority requirements and improves quality

The house of quality is flexible and customized to each situation each organization well-developed guidelines that will modify the above image.   However the basics of every FD will remain the same: To hear the voice of the customer and be proactive in the design of products to meet customer needs.


Design using quality function deployment

Hauser 1988 illustrates how the house of quality can be used to change the product.  By describing the product in the language of the engineer: Along the top of the house of quality caught, the design seemed list those engineering characteristics that are likely to affect one or more of the customer attributes.  “The interview functional team feels the body of the house, the “relationship matrix,” indicates how much each engineering characteristic of facts each customer attribute.”  The strengths of these relationships are indicated by numbers or symbols.

“By comparing weighted characteristics to actual component caused, creative design team set priorities for improving components.”  Hauser, 1988.   It is important to focus on customer satisfaction values when considering the engineering characteristics.  Increasing one engineering characteristic may have a negative impact on another engineering characteristic.  It may also be an indication that a different solution is required in the design.  “Engineering is creative solutions and a balancing of objectives.  The house of qualities distinct improvement trick else engineers specified various engineering features that have to be improved collaterally.”  Hauser, in 1988

The foundation of the house continues to binge marking or target values.  The values indicate “how much” each of the measures.  For the primary example given in figure for about 12 page 58, the how much target value include the temperature range, book weight, maximum areas, cost, etc.  this area may also be used to indicate objective measures for competitive products and technical importance of each factor.  there is a tendency to give a tolerance for the target values, but it is better to set the target values as single objectives, and then rate the engineering characteristics in terms of the ability of achieving the target values.

the right–hand wall of the house in the figure indicates the customer competitive assessment and other factors affecting the customer.  the competition comparison shows graphically the relative weights between the primary in the competition.

the elements which are included in the house to customize to the particular product or services being described.  when reviewing a completed house, the easiest methodist to look at each area separately, walls, ceiling and foundation, to understand the factors, relative strengths, and interactions.

the “howell” portion of the figure is identified as design features.  various other checks have used “engineering characteristics,” “design requirements,” “technical descriptors” and “technical details” as descriptions.  the  “how much” floor area and the “comparison” right wall area of the house in the figure are included to show their impact on the design of the product.

after setting the primary design characteristics, hauser 1988 suggest using the “house” from the house to qualify as the “wants” on another house the depicts detail product design.  this process is repeated with the process planning else and then production planning house.  in this way, the voice of the customer is carried through from design to manufacturing.

while it is easy to get caught up in the process of constructing the houses and completing injury of the data, one should not lose sight of the objectives of the house of quality met that allergy.  hauser 1988, states that “the house of quality is a kind of conceptual map the provides the means of into functional planning and communication.”  “the principal benefit of the house of quality is quality in–house.  he gets people taking in the right direction and thinking together”

the voice of the customer, both external and internal, is quantified and presented in the format of a house of quality.  the different organizational functional groups, engineering, marketing, manufacturing and so on, are able to see the effect of design and planning changes in order to balance customer needs, cost and engineering characteristics in the development of new or improved products and services.

various alters use the basic game of the house of quality presented by hauser and include additional factors in symbols to show other data relationships.

other approaches

The quality function deployment (every FD) approach, is a rigorous processed and requires considerable time and effort to implement.  Some situations do not require all of the importance of a formal QFD.  Time pressures may force a quick resolution.  In these cases, a simplified approach using a cause–and–effect matrix or perceptual map can be effective.

Cause–and–effect matrix

A cause–and–effect matrix can help prioritize the importance of keeping process input variables open per and KPIV).  To construct the cause–and–effect matrix:

Lists to keep process output variables open) KP old these) for the process.

Assessment a priority number for customer importance to each KP old B41 (Lowell) to 10 (high).   Placed this number with dictate P old B identify her in the cells across the top of the matrix.

Lists to KP IVs that may cause variability or 9–informants in the process in the cells down the column on the left side of the matrix.

Assign, by teen consensus, a number from 1 (low) to 10 (high) 40 effect each KPID has on each KP old B in the appropriate cells in the matrix.

For each KP IV column in the matrix, multiply to KP OV process priority value from the top role by the KP ID of fact value in each cell and some possible role to compute the total for the KP IV and reach consensus on which KP IVs should receive priority attention.

Results from the cause–and–effect matrix can direct efforts for:

Listing and evaluation of KP old these in a compatibility summary

Listing and evaluating of KP IVs in a control plan summary

Listing and investigating KP IVs and a half in EA

This simple matrix can provide a rapid overview of the most popular KP old B to KP IV relationships and help determine critical customer requirements.

Perception maps

The following steps described how to determine the appropriate questions to help quantify and prioritize the needs of the customer.

Conduct brainstorming sessions to identify a wish list of features and–or problem resolutions.

Rank the brainstorming session items and considered a highest drinking items for possible customer survey questions.

Construct a set of questions, being Will not Tobias responses on customer satisfaction or customer importance with the wording.

Collected numerical rating (E.  G.  1–5 on both satisfaction and importance) for each item and plot them on a perceptual map

Then the items will be plot as on page 63




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