Voice of the Customer (VOC)

Tell me, what comes first when you hear “business”? I know it is a consumer and producer, aren’t these? The consumer is usually known as the customer as well, and on the other hand, the producer fulfills the customer’s needs and wants. 

The prime and first component of the business is the customer. To do business efficiently, you need to understand the customer’s needs, wants, expectations, and experiences with your services or products. This simple concept is called the voice of the customer in the area of business. In other words, VOC, or the voice of the customer, refers to the concept that talks about the customer’s thoughts about a company, product, or service that any services provider wants to learn through analysis. This information is used to improve products, services, and customer experience. It can be collected through surveys, focus groups, customer complaints and suggestions, social media, and other means. In other words, to contain VOC, first identify the customer. Customers can be both internal (within the organization) and external (outside the organization). To better understand customer needs, grouping them into segments based on factors such as sales, industry, location, demographics, or usage is essential. This allows companies to tailor their products, services, or processes to meet the unique needs of each customer segment.

VOC must be translated into Critical Quality Requirements (CTQs), which are the performance characteristics of a product, service, or process that are important to customers. CTQs are measurable, allowing the design team to establish specifications and targets to satisfy or exceed customer expectations. VOC and CTQs drive quality planning to ensure the design team creates a product that meets customer needs and is free from deficiencies.

The Kano Model

The Kano Model is a customer satisfaction model used in quality management and product development. Noriaki Kano developed it in the 1980s. The model categorizes customer requirements into must-haves, Performance Attributes, and Delighters.

Must-haves are basic requirements that customers expect to be fulfilled. Failing to meet these expectations results in dissatisfaction.

Performance Attributes are requirements that improve customer satisfaction as they are fulfilled to a greater degree.

Delighters are unexpected requirements that delight customers when fulfilled but only affect customer satisfaction if they are present.

The Kano Model helps companies prioritize customer requirements and allocate resources effectively. It allows companies to focus on must-haves and performance attributes while understanding the impact of delighters on customer satisfaction.

 Quality Function Deployment

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a systematic approach used in quality management and product development to align customer needs and expectations with the design and production of a product or service. It was developed in Japan in the 1960s and is sometimes referred to as the “House of Quality”.

The QFD process involves mapping customer requirements to technical specifications and design characteristics. The process includes several stages, including:

  1. Customer Needs Identification: Gather and prioritize customer requirements and expectations.
  2. Technical Requirements Generation: Translate customer needs into technical requirements that the product or service must meet.
  3. Design and Development: Use the technical requirements to guide the design and development of the product or service.
  4. Verification and Validation: Ensure that the product or service meets customer needs and expectations through testing and validation.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Use customer feedback and market data to improve the product or service continuously.

The QFD process helps to ensure that the design and production of a product or service align with customer needs and expectations, leading to increased customer satisfaction and overall quality.

QFD customer requirements flow down

QFD stands for Quality Function Deployment, a process to ensure customer requirements are integrated into product design and development. The flow down of customer requirements refers to taking the customer requirements and translating them into specific design or production requirements for each stage of the product development cycle. This process helps ensure that the end product meets the customer’s expectations and needs.

Design for Six Sigma

The quality of any product is achieved through detection and inspection more than the product’s design. Although having the right design on the product is essential, it must be defect-free over other features. Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is a data-driven, customer-focused product and process design, development, and improvement methodology. It combines the principles of Six Sigma, a data-driven method to process improvement, with design and innovation techniques to optimize the design process and deliver high-quality products that meet customer requirements. DFSS aims to reduce the number of defects in a design, resulting in a more efficient and effective product development process and higher customer satisfaction. The steps of DFSS typically include: Defining, Measuring, Analyzing, Designing, and Verifying (DMADV).

Design FMEA

Design FMEA or Design failure mode and effect analysis refer to systematical activities to identify process failure and recognize the product. In other words, DFMEA finds out what is wrong with the product and how it can be prevented or mitigated. It assists the product developer to detects the issues with the product before it gets late. DFMEA is a superficial discipline where risk reduction and failure prevention are crucial, for instance: business processes, manufacturing healthcare, and software. 

The FMEA aims to identify potential design weaknesses and prioritize them for improvement, reduce the risk of failure, and improve product reliability. The steps in a typical Design FMEA process include the following:

  1. Identifying potential failure modes
  2. Evaluating the effects and causes of each failure mode
  3. Determining the severity, occurrence, and detection rates for each failure mode
  4. Prioritizing the failure modes based on the risk score
  5. Developing and implementing design improvements
  6. Monitoring and updating the FMEA to ensure its effectiveness.

Reliability and quality

Reliability refers to the consistency and dependability of a product or system, meaning it performs its intended functions consistently and without failure over time. On the other hand, quality refers to the level of excellence or superiority of a product or service, encompassing various aspects such as features, performance, and design. Generally, a reliable product or system is expected to have high quality, but a high-quality product does not necessarily guarantee reliability.

Availability and maintainability

Availability refers to the degree to which a system, service, or product is operational and accessible when required. In other words, it measures the proportion of time that a system is available to perform its intended functions.

Maintainability, on the other hand, is the ease with which a product or system can be maintained, repaired, or updated. This includes factors such as the ease of diagnosing faults, the availability of spare parts, and the time required to perform maintenance or repairs.

In summary, availability focuses on the accessibility of a system, while maintainability focuses on its upkeep and maintenance. Both are essential in ensuring a system’s overall performance and reliability.

Design for manufacturability

Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is a set of design principles and practices to improve the ease and efficiency of manufacturing a product. It involves designing products to reduce manufacturing costs, simplify the assembly process, and improve product quality. This can be achieved by reducing the number of parts, using standard components, and designing features that are easy to manufacture. DFM aims to create products that can be manufactured quickly, consistently, and cost-effectively, with minimal waste and errors. By incorporating DFM principles into the design process, companies can improve the overall efficiency of their manufacturing operations and increase customer satisfaction.

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