Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

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Quality function deployment is an innovative system developed in Japan starting in 1966 to assist change the message of their consumer to actual engineering specifications for a new product. The process enables companies to easily measure and monitor the status of their inventory. It then makes it possible to make informed choices about what to do with particular products when their usefulness is over. In other words, quality function deployment helps a company determine whether or not to order more of a certain good, how much to order of a good, when to order of a good, and what to do with goods that are still useful. The overall result is an improved supply chain management system.

This system can be thought of as a simplified version of the old 'needs assessment and requirements definition' model. Instead of needing to know what a product or material was capable of, companies need only a series of detailed, often-weighted factors to decide which actions to take. These are then transformed into precise descriptions of needs and specifications in a structured methodical manner. In other words, quality function deployment brings an objective view to decisions regarding inventory. However, this system differs from traditional needs assessment and requirements definition because it is not driven by the emotion of a desire to sell more, but by a need for better, more efficient and effective on-line warehouse management.

This system does have one distinct advantage over traditional methods of on-line inventory control - it provides valuable real-time feedback about on-hand inventories. In most cases, once a company has developed a new product development system that meets its exact specifications, it does not take long before realizing that its new warehouse system needs to be examined in greater detail. Through quality function deployment, the company can determine immediately if there are inefficiencies in the way that it is managing its on-hand inventories. By developing new ways of streamlining and improving on-line processes, it is capable of producing new products in significantly less time than it previously could.

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