Management of Design Quality

(Focus on the use of QFD techniques)

Why QFD?

My interest in the subject comes from the significant practical success of these techniques. Yet, they have many shortcomings and difficulties that are documented by their proponents. Some of these shortcomings may be alleviated by introducing computational support. This introduction must maintain the simplicity and naturalness of present manual techniques and remove some of their limitations.

Note that the power of QFD stems mainly from the discussions and shared understanding it creates and not necessarily from calculations that are performed. 




My recent development in relation to QFD is RQFD (Resource QFD) – a major addition to QFD that allows allocating resources to different design tasks and reconsider them as design progresses. RQFD also allows the house of quality model reality in a much better way.


For additional information see:


  • Y. Reich and E. Levy, Managing product design quality under resource constraints,” International Journal of Production Research, 42(13):2555–2572, 2004.
  • Y. Reich and A. Paz, “Managing product quality, risk, and resources through resource quality function deployment,” Journal of Engineering Design, 19(3):249-267, 2007.

General publications on design quality

  • Y. Reich, “Preventing Breakthroughs from Breakdowns,” Proceedings of the 9th Biennial ASME Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis ESDA2008, Haifa, Israel, 2008.

A Sample of Other Publications on QFD Include:

  • Reich, Y. (1995), Computational Quality Function Deployment is Knowledge Intensive Engineering, Proceedings of KIC-1 (Knowledge Intensive CAD), IFIP WG 5.2, Helsinki.
    Will appear in Knowledge Intensive CAD, Tomiyama, T., Mantyla, M. and Finger, S. (eds.), Chapman & Hall, London, UK, 1996.
    (Postscript, Zipped pdf; 278K)
    Abstract: This paper describes the development of computational support tools for practically successful engineering techniques. The paper reviews the requirements for manual Quality Function Deployment techniques, presents them, and discusses their limitations. It argues that computational support tools can alleviate most of these limitations and that a graph-based information representation for such techniques is an excellent choice for supporting both QFD techniques and their integration with other external CAD-related computational services. The paper presents an architecture for a computational QFD (CQFD) tool based on the graph-based modeling environment n-dim. It shows how this architecture supports most of the requirements for QFD techniques, in addition to providing many additional functionalities, and briefly illustrates how the CQFD tool will be used.
  • Reich, Y. and the n-dim Group (1995), A Human-Centered Enterprise Information System for Agile Design, Proceedings of the 15th Israeli Conference on Advanced Technologies in Engineering, Management, and Manufacturing, SME, p. 264-270.
    (Postscript, Zipped pdf; 115K)
    Abstract: We associate agility with the ability to (1) quickly detect changing markets; (2) rapidly learn to take advantage of these market changes; (3) detect new techniques, adapt them to the enterprise culture, assimilate them into the enterprise while maintaining their spirit, and use them effectively; and to (4) meet varying standards in diverse markets (with as little as possible an overhead to the manufacturing process). Responding quickly may involve forming virtual organizations or teams, each of which with its established areas of expertise, cultural management practices, legacy tools, historical records decision support of previous designs with their, failures, successes, modifications.
    This paper describes the development of a collaborative environment called n-dim that supports the above abilities. n-dim is designed (1) to be extremely usable and adaptable to workers with different levels of computer-literacy; (2) to support existing practices in a natural manner, including the maintenance and incorporation of existing information and legacy tools; (3) to support the design and incorporation of new tools, practices, and policies; and (4) to support synchronous and asynchronous collaboration of participants. Several n-dim applications that are currently being developed in the US in a participatory manner to allow smooth transition from research to practice will be briefly described.
  • Reich, Y. (1995), AI-Supported Quality Function Deployment, Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence in Economics and Management, IFAC.
    (Postscript, Zipped pdf; 363K)
    Abstract: Manual Quality Function Deployment (QFD) tools are limited in their use and their reuse. Computational tools can alleviate these limitations. In addition, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools can further enhance the functionality of QFD tools. A graph-based information representation is proposed as the basis for integrating various QFD and AI tools. An architecture of a computational QFD (CQFD) tool based on the graph-based modeling environment n-dim is briefly discussed. The ideas are illustrated through the design of a cork remover.
  • Reich, Y., Konda, S. L., Levy, S. N., Monarch, I. A., and Subrahmanian, E. (1996), Varieties and Issues of Participation and Design, Design Studies, 17(2):165-180.
    (Postscript, Zipped pdf; 170K)
    Abstract: Participatory design is the antithesis to traditional design in which designers are expected to exhibit their expertise. The right to participate in design is often ignored and even when it is accepted, many obstacles including perceived pragmatic/economic deficiencies and organizational concerns impede participation. This paper criticizes the foundations of traditional design. It starts from the premise that it is the right of all affected by a design to have an active role in its development and that appropriate ways of exercising this right can lead to better designs. Subsequently, the paper elaborates on some properties of participation in various design disciplines and in particular in the context of architectural design and urban planning. The paper then presents an approach for participation founded on widening communication channels between participants and briefly discusses the potential of computer tools for supporting participatory design. Finally, the paper briefly relates participation and design to several popular concepts such as concurrent engineering, total quality management, and quality function deployment.
  • Reich, Y. (2000), Improving the rationale capture capability of QFD, Engineering with Computers, 16:(3-4):236-252.
    Abstract: The goal of design rationale capture (DRC) is improving design quality and reducing design time. To address this goal, DRC techniques must be usable and useful. However, little evidence about any of these requirements has been demonstrated by the many techniques that originated from research in various design and other related disciplines. Similar concerns about design quality and time are shared by manufacturing practices. Over the last two decades they evolved a collection of tools called QFD to address these concerns and whose practical utility has been demonstrated by many organizations. The design records stored in QFD diagrams have significant overlap with the information that DRC techniques seek to capture; thus, QFD tools are also DRC tools. This paper further develops a QFD-based tool called CQFD that extends existing capabilities of QFD tools to capture design rationale. In order to illustrate the DRC capabilities of CQFD, we use it to reconstruct its own design. The resulting records of the tool demonstrate the richness of DR that can be captured.

Copyright © 1997-2007 Yoram Reich
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Last modified: 11/19/2007 1:22:00 AM