24 December 2012

Why we drink beer?

As we celebrate the various holidays and new year in our own special ways, let me propose a toast – of Singha Beer!
photo - Singha beer

This week, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) posted as an "Editor's Pick" on their Knowledge Center a QFD case study done by Singha Beer of Thailand. The response has generated a lot of interest and ASQ plans to post it on their home page.

Unlike most QFD applications, this case had little to do with the product, and much to do with the marketing and branding message – not what we drink but why we drink.

Here is the link to the article "Thai Brewery Deploys QFD Tools to Tap Into Consumer Motivation" (PDF) at ASQ site.

Enjoy.


PS: The QFD Institute also has a synopsis of this case study 
      
"Why We Drink Beer?" (web view).



27 November 2012

QFD at Holiday Time

The holiday season is a great time to sharpen our QFD skills. Here are some techniques that might make the celebrations and shopping a little easier.
photo - holiday gift shopping
  • Gift shopping for someone? Instead of asking them what your should buy (a solution), try asking for what they need (what difficulties do they have at work or home, what opportunities do they wish for, how would they like others to see them)? This helps us practice the Customer Voice table where we translate VOC into true needs.
  • Hard to choose among several options for a gift, a restaurant, or a party to attend? Practice your alternative selection technique.
  1. First list your options.
  2. Write down what is attractive about each option, and what is unattractive about each option. Convert unattractive statements into positive ones. For example, this restaurant is "too far away" becomes "nearby." These are your judgment criteria.
  3. Prioritize the judgment criteria. For emotional decisions, AHP's pairwise decision making is a great way to work through them.
  4. The highest priority judgment criteria will drive your decision. Look at which option best fulfills them. Feel comfortable that you made the best choice possible given all the wonderful options.
photo - holiday party options
  1. Define your dilemma using the Engineering Parameters in Table 2 in the above link. For example, I am invited to two parties at the same time – my best friend and my in-laws. One contradiction is improve EP 26 Amount of Substance (I want to improve my pleasure for the afternoon) without the undesired result of EP 13 Stability of Object (I don't want my marriage to become unstable).
  2. Look up the pair in the Table of Contradictions to find Inventive Principles 15, 2, 17, 40. Let's see what solutions we can invent.

    IP 15. Dynamicity.
  1. Make an object or its environment automatically adjust for optimal performance at each stage of operation. Have the meal at your in-laws (so you can compliment her cooking) and dessert at your friends (so you can stay late).
  2. Divide an object into elements which can change position relative to each other. Same as above, but decide that day where to go first.
  3. If an object is immovable, make it movable or interchangeable. E-mail your suggestions to qfdi@qfdi.org

    IP 2. Extraction.
  1. Extract (remove or separate) a "disturbing" part or property from an object.
  2. Extract only the necessary part or property. Exchange gifts, have a drink at the in-laws and then see your friends.

    IP 17. Move to a new dimension.
  1. Remove problems with moving an object in a line by two-dimensional movement (i.e. along a plane). Invite in-laws and friends to your house, instead. Have one party upstairs and the other downstairs.
  2. Use a multi-layered assembly of objects instead of a single layer. Add pleasure to visiting your in-laws by inviting your friends to come with you. Or, have lunch with in-laws and dinner with friends.
  3. Incline the object or turn it on its side. E-mail your suggestions to qfdi@qfdi.org

IP 40. Composite materials.
  • Replace a homogeneous material with a composite one. Take two cars, and divide the family up so each can stay as long as they want at either party.

 

16 November 2012

Young business travelers' technology needs

Over 15 years ago, the Delta Hotel chain in Canada sought to attract business travelers by being one of the first major hotel chains to offer business-oriented office suites. Notably, at the time, these suites included a computer which could allow business travelers to work on the road, instead of being “stranded” from the office in an era when laptops were costly and scarce.

Unfortunately, the designers of these rooms didn’t entirely understand the needs of their targeted customers or what being productive entailed to them (read details in "Close Encounter of the QFD Kind", a white paper PDF).  While the offices were fully furnished, the computers were not — they did not come with commonly used software packages, meaning the guest not only had to bring their own software disks with them but would also have to waste time installing the programs themselves, in order to get any use out of the computer besides Solitaire.

a young business woman using a laptop in the hotel guest room
Today, we consider an office space, complete with Microsoft Office® or Open Office® as well as access to a printer, to be standard in any hotel chain, but do these actually make us more productive?  Technologically speaking, these accommodations are obviously better than what Delta offered years ago, however they represent an even more grievous misunderstanding of customers’ needs than was found on the blank computers back then.

From a QFD perspective, these computers are seen as a feature, and although they’ve been tweaked and upgraded over the years (their performance level is higher than ever), they address needs that have already been met by much better alternatives, and fail to address newer needs that have been enabled by changing technology.

Widespread usage of laptops and tablets have made office suite computers unneeded, the prevalence of proprietary software and custom remote login systems have made them unusable, and the nature of the internet and shared computer usage have made them unsafe. Furthermore, the original underlying need for productivity has been joined by the needs for entertainment and communication, and in that regard there is very little opportunity for hotel offices to compete with gaming laptops, Facetime® or Skype®.

Rather than trying to meet these needs by offering competing features, hotels should be trying to facilitate the features customers already have that meet their needs.  Simply put, this means replicating (or besting) the connectivity customers have on their laptops, tablets and phones that they travel with.

For example, many hotels advertise access to broadband. Often these connections, however, perform quite poorly on technical benchmarks (bandwidth tests) and outright fail on customer benchmarks (ability to watch Youtube videos, play games or video chat and so forth).  This can be exacerbated by poor cell phone coverage, which may force a customer to leave the hotel in order to be reachable at all.  If there’s any doubt that failing to meet travelers’ needs of connectivity can affect repeat business, one survey found that nearly 60% of travelers aged 35–54 would consider a different hotel option if they had poor cell phone reception during their previous stay.

Kano diagram by QFD Institute
This actually falls into the 'reverse quality' category in the Kano model of expected quality vs. exciting quality. What is exciting quality for older generations of hotel guests (such as having free internet and computer access) has not only become expected quality for younger hotel guests, but also the poor fulfillment of hotel room TV and internet may even be reverse quality — that is, their existence dissatisfies!

Any hotel that’s serious about catering to business travelers must understand these needs, as well as other needs such as internet security, in a modern and changing context, rather than continuing to refresh old features.
Ken Mazur

Related Read...


Microsoft Office® is a registered mark of Microsoft, Open Office® Apache Software; FaceTime® Apple Inc.; Skype® Skype.

  

07 November 2012

People of the 2012 QFD Symposium

Once again new case studies were shared and emerging ideas were brought to the public last Friday at the 24th Symposium on QFD in sunny St. Augustine, Florida USA.This year’s presentation topics were as unique and diverse as the presenters, whose hard work and dedication was greatly appreciated.

Even in today’s trend toward everything virtual, face-to-face interactions produce much deeper impact and networking bonds, we’ve found. Let us introduce some of the wonderful individuals we met at this year’s symposium:
Carey Hepler presented the first of its kind QFD application on the timeliest topic – politics. His project involved the election campaign in which his wife was a candidate for a local judiciary seat. He applied the Modern QFD tools to listen to the constituents’ voice, identify target segments, their needs and priorities, and finally develop the campaign strategy and deploy it in the most respectful way that we voters wish every candidate would.
photo - Carey Hepler presenting "QFD and Politics"
By the time Carey completed his presentation, there was an outpouring sense of support and respect for Team Hepler from the symposium audience. We were captivated by this unique application of QFD and also appreciated the level of challenge that even the most qualified candidate can face solely because of the nature of politics.

Carey Hepler is a Certified QFD Black Belt® and 2010 Akao Prize® recipient. He has presented several QFD papers, including: “Finding Customer Delights” (2006 International QFD Symposium); “The Analytic Hierarchy Process: Methodologies and Application with Customers and Management” (2007 International QFD Symposium); “Getting Personal: How Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida used Customized Communications to Reach its Members” (Journal of Healthcare Communications – 2008); “Predicting Future Health Insurance Scenarios Using QFD and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)” (2008 American Society of Quality).
Carey currently works for Solantic Urgent Care, where he leads the operations of their walk-in urgent care centers and the development of an expansion blueprint. Prior to that, Carey was with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, AT&T Universal Card, and Citibank.

Jack B. ReVelle, Ph.D., presented his unique experience in consulting Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company in China and the challenges of introducing quality methods in a country where the government believes it speaks for everyone.
photo - Jack ReVelle at 2012 symposium on QFD
After the catastrophic accident of the nation’s first generation bullet train that resulted in dozens of fatalities, the Chinese engineers self-studied the QFD Capture® software and a House of Quality matrix in hope of addressing the quality and safety issues that manifested in the 2011 accident.  Jack was invited to consult the Chinese team on some of the QFD techniques and analytic methods such as gemba study, how to convert the VOC data to specifications, thematic content analysis, MS Excel® sorting, affinity and Pareto analysis.
Unfortunately, the project became mired in multiple interests competing for authority including the Chinese Ministry of Railways, and basic communication became difficult and the line of decision making and progress unclear. It was a telling moment when one member of the symposium audience asked Jack, “Will you ride this new bullet train in China?” We do hope the Chinese heed his advice.

Jack ReVelle is a consulting statistician and the principal of ReVelle Solutions, LLC. He has received many honors throughout his career, including the 1999 Akao Prize®. We’ve known Jack from the old days of QFD but during the St. Augustine meet, we discovered that he was the commander of the U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team that was involved with the “Broken Arrows” incident in Goldsboro, the 1961 nuclear weapons mishap where a strategic bomber B-52 disintegrated in mid-air in North Carolina and Jack’s team was dispatched to take care of the two atomic bombs that fell out of the aircraft. We hear a new movie is being considered based on this and look forward to Jack’s heroic history being told in movie theaters.

Karthik Jeganathan presented the "Change Fix Model” for IT projects where volatility of customer needs and design requirements is always a big challenge.
The model aims at improving agility of the change risk estimation by using lean and QFD tools. It measures the impact of a change by using a regression model, enabling assessment of the impact from a change through the entire software lifecycle, starting with a regression model for establishing the relationship between impact of change and additional effort for implementing the change. This provides a mechanism to measure the volatility and score the quality of the requirements with respect to the importance of prioritizing and baseline requirement changes in agile as well as a non-agile environments.
Karthik presented a case of a major communications company and the evaluation of the method which showed near 80% estimation accuracy. The tools used for the Change Fix Model include: a) CTQ drill down tree; b) Effort benefit matrix; c) Regression model; d) RCA and Pareto; and e) Likert scale scoring using percentiles and box plots.
Karthik works as a Senior Six Sigma and Transformation consultant at Cognizant Business Consulting Team, both in India and the USA. He has 10 years of industry experience working in Management and Transformation Consulting, is a MBB, CISA, and Certified ITIL V3 Foundation Professional.


photo - Tasneem Alfalah presenting her research at 2012 QFD symposium
Tasneem Alfalah aims to develop a conceptual model that integrates the SERVQUAL Gap model and QFD for Jordanian mobile telecommunications industry that has become a viable force to the nation’s economy. This study is currently in the first stage where a questionnaire based on the SERVQUAL framework is being designed, administered and analyzed. The study population will comprise all Jordanian mobile telecommunication companies located in Amman, the nation’s capital.
The QFD model will be useful for evaluating the customer satisfaction vs. actual experience of service level, identifying the quality shortfalls and weak attributes, and finally presenting the areas of immediate improvement as well as attractive attributes that would help their business continues to grow in the future. 

Tasneem Alfalah received an MSc in Quality Management from the University of Jordan in 2010. She next worked as a lecturer and research assistant for one year before being granted a scholarship from her undergraduate alma mater Applied Science University to continue her Ph.D. studies in Glasgow Caledonian University in U.K. where she is currently in her second year.
We congratulate Tasneem for having completed the QFD Green Belt® Course in St. Augustine, receiving a provisional certificate. Next year she plans to attend the QFD Black Belt® Certificate Course. We look forward to finding out how she would incorporate the new knowledge of Modern QFD tools in her research approach.


photo - Philipp Tursch presenting "Repertory Grid Technique" at 2012 QFD symposium
Dipl.-Ing. Philipp Tursch, a Ph.D. candidate at the Chair of Quality Management, Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus, Germany, presented the Repertory Grid Technique and its potential use in QFD. The Repertory Grid Technique was developed in 1955, initially as a clinical methodology for interviewing patients for psychological diagnoses. It has since evolved to a set of general guidelines used in a wide variety of domains including environmental studies, education, healthcare, business and quality management where it is tried as a way to determine the unconscious, individual and elusive dimensions of customer perception.

Philipp’s research focuses on potential integration of this method in product development and QFD, namely in identifying customer preference concerning a new product. He showed how it works by using an example of German smart phones where a range of physical characteristics were shown to potential consumers and their preference for physical attributes of the mock phones were tabulated.

This was Philipp’s first presentation of his research in the U.S. The methodology has a similar feel to Kansei Engineering, except Kansei abstracts up to a high level brand concept, by encompassing both physical and emotional attractiveness, and using a series of regression and multivariate math. We look forward to future progress in Philipp’s research.


photo - Ken Mazur, presenter of a Blitz QFD case study for an elementary school, 2012 Symposium on QFD
Ken Mazur presented a Modern Blitz QFD® case in a non-traditional model – a school (K-8). He shared several unique insights that often go unnoticed:
  1. In schools, the end-user / primary customer (students) typically have the least influence over educational decisions even though they are most affected by them; 
  2. the secondary customer (parents who pay the tuition) have a greater role in decision-making for their children’s education even though their educational expectations reflect more on their own past experience, not necessarily future needs; 
  3. often organizations act on a situation without fully determining the true needs of the stakeholders, jumping on reactive solutions that address problems inadequately or sometimes even exacerbate it and waste resources; 
  4. functional isolation resulting from departmental divides hinders organizations from seeing a large picture when day-to-day problems are reported by individual departments, and their impact on the whole organizational performance is underestimated unless a systematic method like QFD is used and the analytic results can be documented in a way that is visible to everyone.
In his debut QFD case, Ken managed to deploy Modern QFD fully, from the initial Gemba study to VOC analysis that revealed unexpected findings, AHP evaluation of priorities, and suggestions for systematic deployment of solutions on the most important needs, taking into consideration school resources and ease of implementation.

Ken hopes to conduct the second phase of QFD with this school, eventually training the school staff so they would be able to utilize QFD tools and thinking on their own in the future. Ken’s primary interest is working with non-profits and NGOs that would benefit from using QFD to better serve their communities.

Next year, the QFD Institute will host the 19th International Symposium on QFD in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 6-7, 2013. Everyone is welcome to participate, whether you are new to QFD,  studied it many years ago, currently actively using it, or plan to try it in a future project.

Call For Papers is now in effect for those who wish to present at the 2013 symposium. We expect many QFD experts from overseas, including Dr. Yoji Akao, founder of QFD methodology. So please plan to join us next year!



29 October 2012

Must the quality function go beyond its traditional role of inspection and problem solving?

Recently, the questions was asked, "Must the quality function go beyond its traditional role of inspection and problem solving?"

The 'Quality Function' is 'Deployed' across the organization formally with QFD. This puts the “F” in QFD.

What this means is that the quality function is engaged during business planning, project chartering, customer identification and exploration (questionnaires, customer gemba visits, etc.) design and development, build and implementation (manufacturing, service design, software development), testing, logistics, commercialization, support, etc.

image - turning the circle of quality with QFD
Why such a broad mandate? Because quality professionals are capable of assuring that all the other activities are done with quality thinking – PDCA, root cause analysis, SMART metrics, rigorous auditing and use of statistical methods, customer satisfaction measurement, and so on. Leave the quality guys out and numbers will be flying around to “prove” whatever the squeakiest wheels want.

Related reads...



20 October 2012

Delivering crystal-clear brand identity from end-to-end

"Drunk With Power," an October 14, 2012 New York Times article by Daniel Duane, describes an on-line wine seller named Jon Rimmerman Jon, who earned  his retail cred while at Starbucks. Jon summarizes it as this:

photo of wine
 “the beauty of retail marketing … can be roughly translated as defining a crystal-clear brand identity and then ensuring that everything from the product to customer relations reinforces it."

I like his words, and would like to give them a QFD flavor.

The purpose of modern Blitz QFD® is to define and prioritize with crystal clarity, that which is most important to the customer, and then ensure that everything from the product to customer relations reinforces it.

Let me explain.

"Crystal clarity" of what matters most to customers. In QFD, this means having a customer need that truly states the value proposition to the customer. Typically, this is the benefit a customer receives from having a problem solved, an opportunity enabled, or image enhanced. It should be independent of the product, its features, and its technology. A Voice of Customer (VOC) statement such as "fits in my pocket" is not a customer need, but rather a fuzzy set of dimensions.

With the Customer Voice table, a Blitz QFD® tool, you can translate that into true customer needs such as "I can carry with me easily," "Easy to store in my pocket," "Easy to retrieve from my pocket," "Stays in my pocket when I move around," "Does not damage my pocket,"  etc. This helps us understand these true benefits and avoid later design mistakes resulting in "the product falling on floor when I lean over," "the product tearing my pocket off," "the product is too hard to remove from my pocket when I want to get it out quickly," etc.

Crystal clarity means the need statement must be at a sufficient level of detail to be actionable in design, which is typically a tertiary level on a customer needs hierarchy. Abstract expressions such as "convenient" should be deployed to more detail.

Crystal clarity also means that we have accurate priority values. The QFD community replaced the 1960s' ordinal scale weights with AHP-derived ratio scale weights in the mid-1980s, first in Japan and then later in the US. Unfortunately, most English language QFD books and articles were written before this and missed the update. Even today, new QFD texts still cite these early works, and continue the math errors resulting from using ordinal weights in both customer needs and matrix relationships, as well as misuse of matrices including using a House of Quality matrix (HOQ) when it is not needed.

click to go to International QFD Green BeltĀ® Certificate Course
This is why the QFD Institute Green Belt® and Black Belt® courses are strongly recommended for professionals in product/service/business development, marketing, design, sigma/lean/DMAIC black belts and so forth. You will learn how to use the modern AHP approach and we provide updated Excel templates. Without AHP clarity, your limited resources risk missing what is truly important and deploying lower priority things.

"Ensuring that everything from product to customer relations reinforces it" is the QFD call for end-to-end quality assurance. Depending on your industry, product, and company, this will vary, but typically describes, end-to-end, the full development, commercialization, and retirement of the product, service, or software. In other words, we must assure that any weakness related to the most important customer needs are made robust. For example, if poor packaging compromises the sterility of a medical supply item, it becomes scrap (let's hope!), wastes money, ruins reputations, could result in injury or death, etc., no matter how well the function and performance of the item was designed.

In classical QFD, each of the design, develop, test, procure, produce, assemble, package, ship, store, sell, support, and other commercialization dimensions has its own matrix. Since the matrix only compares two dimensions at at time, anywhere from four to thirty matrices have been identified in the literature. Maybe in the 1960s-80s, we had enough time and people to analyze these, but that is difficult these days.

In Blitz QFD®, all these matrices have been replaced for the most part by a single Maximum Value table. One tool goes end-to-end through all the dimensions. How do we do it – with crystal clarity focus on what matters most to customers. This is where we apply our best efforts, first. Makes sense, doesn't it? The Maximum Value table is one of the key tools taught in the QFD Green Belt® Course and QFD Black Belt® Course.

Additional training dates will be published at QFD Training & Events Calendar as they become confirmed. Or you can e-mail to us.


13 October 2012

QFD for high-speed rail, IT projects, smartphones, education, telecom industry, and political campaign

The previous post (Election-earing: how QFD helped a candidate truly hear the Voice of the Constituent) previewed the first-of-its-kind political campaign case study. In addition, these exciting presentations are planned for The 24th Symposium on QFD, November 2, 2012 in St. Augustine, Florida.

The transactions of this symposium will become available to public in May 2013, but the most privileged content is often shared with the symposium audience only. In addition, the 2012 symposium includes a mini tutorial on Hoshin Kanri (Policy Management).

Come join us to learn and network. This will be also a good chance to get your QFD questions answered and receive tips on how to apply these tools in your project.
Registration is still open.
. . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .  . . .

"Going to the Gemba: Number Two with a Bullet"

photo of a Chinese bullet train
The first generation of Chinese bullet trains was marred with design flaws that manifested in the catastrophic July 2011 accident which killed at least 40 people and injured more than 200 (NYTimes.com, Dec. 28, 2011). For the second generation hi-speed trains, Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company decided to try QFD to address the previous deficiencies.

The symposium presentation will share the traditional QFD approach and tools used in this project, as well as the unique gemba story in a country where the central government and Chinese Ministry of Railways believe that they speak for everyone and represent the voice of the customers.  
Speaker: Jack B. ReVelle, Ph.D., ReVelle Solutions, LLC (USA)

"Change Fix Model"

graphic - managing changes
Some of the issues that add complication to IT projects include volatility of customer requirements and assessing risks involving changes. The Change Fix Model aims to improve agility of the estimation by using lean and QFD tools, enabling assessment of the impact of a change into the entire software lifecycle, starting with a regression model for establishing the relationship between impact of change and additional effort for implementing the change.

Using a CTQ drill down tree, which is one of the mechanisms to implement QFD, the paper is the first of its kind to measure the impact of a change by using a regression model. This will be presented by using a case of a major communications player.  
Speaker: Karthik Jegannathan, Cognizant Technologies Solutions (India/USA)

"Repertory Grid – Potential for Requirements Management in the Quality Function Deployment - An Example of the German Smartphone Market"

photo - smartphone users
This research by German scholars proposes integration of cognitive psychology science, the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT), into QFD. In evaluating quality/performance of a product/service, customers follow unconscious personal perceptions, besides consideration of physical properties such as size, color, functions, etc. It is these unconsciously perceived characteristics that play an important role in the decision making process.

Repertory Grid Technique is based on the Personal Construct Theory, a constructivist theory that contends that people experience, organize, and describe their environment in terms of cognitive personal concepts that can be distilled into bipolar verbal labels. From its initial application in psychological diagnosis, the method has evolved to a set of general guidelines used in a wide variety of application domains, including environmental studies, education, healthcare, business, and it can be useful in identification of customer requirements in QFD analysis. The symposium presentation will use a case of German smartphone market to introduce RGT and show how it can be used in QFD analysis.
Speaker: Philipp Tursch, Chair Quality Management, Cottbus University of Technology (Germany)


"Elementary QFD: Using QFD to Assess and Evaluate the Learning Environment of a Private School Library and to Systematically Engage an ISACS Review"

photo - school library
A Modern Blitz QFD® application in a non-traditional customer/product model – a school. Emerson School, a private school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is in the midst of undergoing a review by The Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). The project goal was to identify key customers and translate their Voice of Customer as well as ISACS criteria into true customer needs.

Often organizations act on a situation without fully determining the true needs of stakeholders that would reveal the important context or unstated factor, leading to inadequate solutions or even exacerbated situations. This occurred several years ago. QFD gemba study revealed the largest and unexpected hindrances to the current learning environment in the library media center. These observations and customer verbatims were translated into true needs and fully ordered using paired comparisons in the Analytic Hierarchy Process. Finally, the highest ranking needs were evaluated on a systematic level, addressing potential causes for concern such as difficulties of implementation, perception of teachers and students, as well as resources like cost, time and effort.  
Speaker: Ken Mazur, QFD Black Belt®, Japan Business Consultants, Ltd., USA

"Implementing Quality Function Deployment to Improve Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction: A Three Stages Empirical Approach in Jordanian Mobile Telecommunication"

photo - telecommmunications
The aim of this research is to develops a conceptual model that integrates the SERVQUAL Gap model and QFD to help telecom companies in Jordan explore service quality shortfalls and improve customer satisfaction. The first stage involved designing, administering and analyzing the SERVQUAL framework questionnaire.

The study population comprises all Jordanian mobile telecommunications companies (Zain, Orange, and Umniah) located in Amman, the capital of Jordan. There is a gap between expectations and experience in all service quality dimensions. QFD model will be used to close these gaps.  
Speaker: Tasneem Alfalah, Glasgow Caledonian University (UK)

"QFD and Politics (A Sure Way To Start An Argument)"

image - election campaign flyer
First of its kind, this paper reports the use of Modern Blitz QFD® tools in an actual political campaign for a Florida county judgeship. The primary focus was to understand how to: 1) select target segments; 2) use the voice (top needs) of the target segment customers to develop the strategy; 3) create messaging; and 4) deploy the messaging to the targeted segment.

This application uniquely deploys downstream using the Voice of Constituents data to make strategic and operational decisions. For example, what sort of true “customer needs” can be identified from this verbatim voice of voters — “what do you think about the Chick-fil-A case?” Read more on this paper in the previous post...
Speaker: Carey Hepler, QFD Black Belt®, Solantic Urgent Care (USA)

Skills Building Exercise: Hoshin Kanri mini tutorial

illustration - policy management and navigation
Hoshin Kanri is a systematic quality approach to planning, executing, auditing, and managing corporate vision and business strategy. It is a company-wide strategic management system that uses common QFD tools to visually indicate the relationships between executive-level targets and the means to achieve them, and those of direct reports. In this mini workshop, attendees will be introduced to the basic concept and application of how Hoshin Kanri works through an easy-to-follow example and hands-on exercise.
Instructor: Glenn Mazur, QFD Red Belt®, QFD Institute


Events Schedule (PDF)

How to attend...




04 October 2012

Election-earing: how QFD helped a candidate truly hear the Voice of the Constituent


The U.S. presidential debates are underway wobbling between the wonkiest details on debt retirement to cartoonish attacks in Sesame Street’s Big Bird. Equally, the media swing between fact checking and photogenic charisma. Voters are encouraged to make intelligent choices, but how should candidates present themselves in order to make this less frustrating?
“QFD is the art and science of taking the voice of the customer, and, more specifically, the top needs of the targeted customer segments, into consideration before developing a product or service.  Can this technique be applied to a political campaign?”

This lofty question is going to be answered and the specific steps using Modern Blitz QFD® tools will be presented at the upcoming 24th Symposium on QFD on November 2, 2012, “QFD and Politics — A Sure-fire Way to Start An Argument” by Carey W. Hepler, QFD Black Belt®and Operations Director of Care Spot Express Healthcare.

Carey’s case study involves an actual election campaign by his wife Ruth Ann for a Florida county judgeship. The primary focus of the paper is to understand how to: 1) select target segments; 2) use the voice (top needs) of the target segment customers to develop the strategy; 3) creating the message and; 4) deploy the messaging to the targeted segments for a campaign.

For example, what sort of true “customer needs” can be identified from this verbatim voice of voters — “what do you think about the Chick-fil-A case?” and then what kind of a campaign strategy and slogan should be deployed?

Carey’s QFD application is solid and innovative (he is a full status QFD Black Belt® after all). This interesting paper deploys downstream using the data to make strategic and operational decisions. Carey’s presentation is worth every campaign dollar.

Customer Voice Table - Verbatims from the Campaign Trail, by Carey W. Hepler, 24th Symposium on QFD, 2012


26 September 2012

Electronic Medical Records and Clinical Gemba

In a recent newsletter "Electronic Medical Records in Gemba," I addressed some downsides to electronic medical records as they distract physicians from their patients. This was to be traded off against lower medical costs, it was explained generally by those in the industry.

Well, it turns out that may not be true either.

image - doctor using Electronic Medical Record system

In a September 21 2012 article in the New York Times by Reed Abelson, Julie Creswell, and Griffen J. Palmer, "Medicare Bills Rise as Records Turn Electronic," it is reported that U.S.'s Medicare (healthcare after 65) and private insurers are now paying hospitals and physicians more, even if they do not provided additional care.

Healthcare providers explain this as more accurate billing and increased demand, but the Office of the Inspector General of Health and Human Services Department of the U.S. Government claims that "cloning" patient histories from one patient record to others, allows for physicians to appear to be conducting more thorough exams than were actually performed. Electronic coding of treatments also allow "upcoming" in order to receive a higher rate of reimbursement.

In the current political race for president of the United States, the issue of government policy and healthcare is top and center. While few would disagree that healthcare is expensive and access is inconsistent, the role of government in assuring quality and fairness is a concern. Especially if the cure is worse than the disease!


18 September 2012

Laundry detergent pods mistaken for toys as well as candy

In a recent blog "Design for Safety? The dirty laundry of NPD!", I wrote how dangerous the new laundry detergent pods are for small children because they look like colorful jelly candy and are packaged in clear "candy jar" container that is a magnet for a child's attention.

I thought the problem was limited to children ingesting them, but now there are more safety modes to consider.

image - pods detergentIn a new story on this news video, it seems that just squeezing the pouches like a balloon can cause them to spray out on the child's face and eyes. The pouch's outer skin is thin for easy dissolving in water, and the concentrated chemicals (one small pouch replaces a cup of standard detergent) are so caustic that they can immediately begin burning the lining of the eyes.

While the manufacturers are busy describing the cautionary language on the packaging (which pre-school toddlers can't read), parents are having to choose between laundry convenience and their children's eyesight.

For those of us concerned with product and packaging design, I again urge a safety mode and effects analysis akin to FMEA ((Failure Modes and Effects Analysis). Sure, we can blame the customer, but that does not build business and trusting relationships. As companies go global with their products, we have to consider the context not only of our familiar homes, but the different use modes and environments of the global customers to whom we wish to sell.


PS: You may also need a better RPN calculation when designing for a black swan event. See "How To Handle VOC Issues — Lessons from Japan crisis: Anticipating Improbables with Irreversible Consequences"


12 September 2012

GPS Gemba shows need for Kano

photo - GPS
In a study by Barry Brown of the Mobile Life Center in Sweden, “The Normal Natural Troubles of Driving With GPS,” global positioning system failures were often found to be the result of driver errors, such as wrong inputs, misreading display, etc.

The study is cited in a recent New York Times article by Randall Stross, a business professor at San Jose State University,  that concludes that no technology will ever eradicate this human error.

The article described Dr. Brown's field study of installing video cameras in test vehicles to capture the GPS instructions, drivers' responses, and conversations when things went wrong. In QFD, we call this "going to gemba" or the place where unscripted user behavior reveals the real truth about customer needs. Gemba visits should be done prior to development to gain knowledge, as well as during design to test and validate solutions.

The conclusion by Dr. Stross reminded me of Dr. Noriaki Kano's model of Attractive Quality Creation, where he introduced the concept of exciting and expected quality. QFD users, of course, are very familiar with the classical Kano model as well as the QFD Institute's modern New Kano Model.

photo - Konica's auto focus developed in 1977 revolutionized the camera marketDr. Kano cites one of his early experiments with Mr. T. Yoneyama of Konica, the Japanese camera company that later merged with Minolta.

In their study at film processing and photograph printing labs (also a gemba), they noticed that the largest number of poor quality pictures were those that were out of focus or under exposed. These problems were operator error, not mechanical failures of the camera. Most of these photographs were taken by amateurs who did not have the professional skills to adjust the camera properly, but never complained to the lab or to the camera maker.

Like in the GPS study, Konica could have just blamed the unskilled customers. But with Dr. Kano's guidance, they did something different – they introduced the built-in auto flash in 1974 and the auto focus in 1977, thus revolutionizing the amateur and later professional camera industry.

In other words, if products or services fail to satisfy, makers should adopt this attitude that their design is at fault, not their customers. Positively stated, these failures are actually opportunities to create exciting products with disruptive technologies.



04 September 2012

Design for Safety? The dirty laundry of NPD!

I don't get to the supermarket as often as I should. But when I do, my eyes cast around for lost opportunities for product improvement.

On a recent shopping trip, I happened by the laundry detergent shelf and my eyes were drawn to a large, clear plastic container that contained small, 3/4" diameter colorful balls of laundry detergent.

You drop these detergent balls into the washing machine according to the amount of clothes and without the trouble of accurate measure or the mess of spilled powder. The container design was such that anybody could easily open it with one hand, which I guess is handy if you have the other arm full of dirty clothes.

What struck me immediately was that these colorful balls looked like candy in a candy jar that any child could open, and then put in their mouth.
image - a clear plastic jar of candy gums

How could a company that caters to families and household cleaning products (and also some snack foods), design something with such potential risks of a child eating laundry soap thinking it was a cookie? Certainly, this must have been thoroughly tested.

A quick Internet search on the smart phone told otherwise. Just three weeks earlier, in fact, a news report indicated that across the U.S., as many as 10 emergency calls were being made to the Poison Control Center each day regarding this product. Small children were "vomiting, wheezing and gasping" within minutes of biting into the detergent balls.

The manufacturer's response was  “We encourage consumers to keep the products out of the reach of children as with any household chemical.”

So what's the QFD connection?

Just like reliability, safety is a critical design element. Danger Mode and Effects Analysis should be a part of Safety Deployment in your QFD analyses. For users of Modern QFD, this means there should be a section in the Maximum Value table that addresses product and package safety concerns associated with critical customer needs.

For users of Classical QFD matrices, this means a Safety Deployment consisting of one or more matrices to identify and prioritize potential danger modes for additional study.

Related read:


28 August 2012

Does nothing wrong mean anything right?

A couple of interesting papers recently crossed my desktop that I'd like you to reflect upon.

The first was a 1994 paper by Dr. Juran (one of America's top quality gurus) titled "Quality Problems, Remedies and Nostrums" that focused on the Zero Defect (ZD) movement. In this paper, he states that "the results of the ZD movement are not very impressive" first, because failures greatly exceed successes and second, published results appeared more qualitative than quantitative as if their main purpose was to impress their customers.

The second document is an ISO related discussion on the difference between "corrective action" and "preventive action" to eliminate the causes of non-conformance. The paper explains that corrective action is about stability, and preventive action is about capability. For QFD practitioners, this explanation also demonstrates the difference between a problem solving approach using DMAIC, and a design approach using DMADV to understand true customer needs and assure satisfaction.

Neither paper answers this critical QFD question, however: "Does nothing wrong mean anything is right?" 

image - "nothing wrong" may not be "anything right"
We ask this question at the start of every QFD Green Belt® course in order to provoke students to go beyond fixing and preventing negative quality, and to search for positive quality.

In other words, customers don't buy a product or service because the product is problem-free; they buy a product because it helps them, the customer, become problem-free. This means you must understand what outcomes the customer truly wants in their life and work.

 
Unfortunately customers are not always good at explaining themselves. After all, few suppliers ever bother to ask, so customers are not practiced at describing their problems or unfulfilled opportunities.

This is why VOC tools such as the gemba visits, Customer Process model, and Customer Voice table are essential to good QFD. These tools help customers use words and actions to show us what "success" means to them and why they are failing. Through these tools, customers can explain their biggest headaches and missed opportunities. 

With this knowledge, a QFD team can then identify solutions that are capable of delighting the customer better than the competitors. This is how QFD differs from other quality initiatives.

If you find this topic helpful, you might be also interested in reading "Finding Customer Delights Using QFD" in the 2006 Symposium Transactions. Better yet, plan to join us this fall in the 24th Symposium on QFD in St. Augustine, Florida, to learn more about these modern tools.

    22 August 2012

    Romney PDCA

    Mr. Newt Gingrich, in his 2006 book "Saving Lives and Saving Money", expounded on his decade-long fascination with Total Quality Management (TQM), six sigma, and lean thinking. Perhaps he could share his library with U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate Mr. Mitt Romney.

    According to Romney advisor Beth Meyers who worked also on his 2003 Massachusetts governor transition team, Mr. Romney has his own brand of "problem solving" that might interest others in the quality field.

    In an August 16, 2012 article in the New York Times, "Campaigning Aside, Team Plans a Romney Presidency" by Ashley Parker, Ms. Meyers is quoted:
    “With Mitt, his approach to problem solving is first to identify the problem, make sure you’re solving for the problem actually there; second, look at best practices; third, apply best practices to the problem at hand; and fourth, execute on it.”

    While Mr. Romney's four steps resemble Dr. Shewhart's and later Dr. W. E. Deming's "Plan-Do-Check-Act" approach to problem solving, it deserves some examination -- especially if he wins the election and employs this technique in government.

    Let's compare the two approaches.


    image - QFD is a PDCA approach
    QFD is a PDCA approach.
    SHEWHART / DEMING
    • PLAN. Define the problem. This means to identify an undesirable state (problem) or a desired state (opportunity). How important is this problem relative to other problems. This requires deep analysis including:
    1. Prioritization of problems and opportunities so that people, time, and money can be focused where they will do the most good. And by what criteria will "good" be defined? Is the problem due to common causes of variation or special causes?
    2. Set a measurable target or outcome (how much must the problem be mitigated to be acceptable or how much opportunity must be realized).
    3. What is the current state of the problem or opportunity.
    4. What is preventing the current state from achieving the target. That is, what is the root cause(s) of the problem or missed opportunity. If there are many root causes, which has the greatest impact or correlation.
    5. In order to address the root causes with the greatest impact, define what a good solution must do or be, independent of a solution.
    6. Use creativity and innovation to propose solutions that will do or be what is defined in 5.
    7. Define a way to test the solutions for efficacy.
    8. Select the best solutions relative to efficacy, time, cost, and other considerations.
    • DO. Test the best solutions to see how well they work in real application. Measure both the inputs of the solution as well as the outputs of the solution to determine if the results achieve statistical stability and not just luck.
    • CHECK (also referred to as Study). Check the results of the solutions against the targets set in the Plan phase. Are they acceptable and sustainable? If not, search for new solutions or as a last resort, lower the targets (and be able to justify why, and when they will be raised again).
    • ACT. Roll out the solution and standardize the improvements by issuing/training new operating procedures in order to prevent recurrence. Measure inputs periodically to assure that the procedures and systems are being followed. Measure outputs periodically to assure the improved process remains stable and predictable. Determine when the process will be reviewed for further improvement, or begin work on the next priority problem.
      There are many variations on the above, including DMAIC, but this will work for our discussion.

    ROMNEY
    • "Identify identify the problem, make sure you’re solving for the problem actually there." This sounds like good advice to make sure the problem is actually real. But, where is the analysis of the cause of the problem, the current state, the desired state?
    • "Look at best practices." It is interesting that Deming did not care for benchmarking best practices, ridiculing the process as “the last stage of civilization.” His argument was that if your company is the same as others, why would your customers buy from you and not the others. Unique conditions require unique solutions. Where in this approach is creativity and innovation? (See our previous post "Benchmarking – the fatal flaw in modern quality thinking")
    • "Apply best practices to the problem at hand." Where is the testing to see if the solutions are delivering the desired results? Where is the refinement?
    • "Execute on it." This sounds like a repeat of "Apply best practices" so it is not clear if this adds anything to the process. Where is follow up to see if the solution continues to work?


    Remember, that QFD is also a PDCA approach. Plan includes all the modern Blitz QFD® tools up to and including parts of the Maximum Value table.

    House of Quality matrix actually starts at the end of the Plan stage -- which is why it should be preceded with Blitz QFD® anyway. Do is the design, development and prototyping. Check is the testing, and market validation phase. Act is the roll out, commercialization, product maintenance, and product retirement phase.

     

    14 August 2012

    Which country won the 2012 London Olympics — Quantifying and prioritizing subjective data

    The 2012 Olympics were fantastic and our British friends are to be congratulated on putting together a memorable experience for athletes and viewers alike.

    image - olympic gold medalBut after each series of Games, whether summer or winter, I always marvel at the discussion of which country won.

    Those of us in the quality field, for whom numbers are our bread-and-butter, may be interested to know that I posed this question to Dr. Thomas Saaty, creator of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, a method for quantifying and prioritizing subjective data. Tom, I'm not surprised, has authored papers on the subject.

    Most news reports go for the straight count of medals:
    1. The U.S. 104
    2. China 87
    3. Russia 82, and
    4. Great Britain 65, for London 2012.
    This assumes that all medals regardless of color, are of equal value. But what about other considerations, such as:
    • What was the score difference between gold and silver (7 points in men's basketball, 0.12 seconds in men's 100 meter track, 0.100 points in a women's beam gymnastics)
    • How strong was the competition (US men's basketball team were NBA professionals)
    • How important is the event relative to other events (past modern Olympics included events such as hot air balloon [1900], poodle grooming -- actually this was an April Fools Day joke, and others.)
    Dr. Saaty raises interesting questions to develop some weighting criteria, such as how long and difficult is the training, how many challengers in the world engage in the sport, and other intangibles. Saaty looks at additional factors such as national Purchasing Power Parity per person (Ethiopia wins 2008 with 161.441)  and country population from which to send athletes (Bahamas wins 2008 with 6.5433 medals per million people). He also raises the issue of how exciting the game is based on the average ticket price to spectators.

    After looking at the medals from multiple perspectives in the 2010 Winter Olympics, Dr. Saaty settles on 7, 2, 1 for the values assigned to gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

    Applying this for 2012, he arrives at a very interesting observation:
    1. The U.S. 104 total medals score 409
    2. China's 87 medals score 342
    3. Great Britain's 65 medals score 256, and
    4. Russia's 82 medals score 251 -- creating a reversal for third place.
    Those who want to know more are recommended to read the QFDI newsletter "Decision Making with AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process)".

    Today's quality professionals should know how to apply AHP in their projects for better analytic precision, and this includes six sigma black belts and anyone who is involved with prioritization of customer needs and product features in QFD. Case studies using AHP will be presented at the upcoming Symposium.

    08 August 2012

    Social Media for VOC

    In a recent New York Times article "Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare as Corporate Focus Groups" on July 30 2012, it was noted that producers of hit food and other retail fads are using social media to extract new ideas from consumers, as well as to select which ideas to commercialize.

    Younger consumers who are more adept at online communications and can be attracted in larger numbers and more quickly than traditional focus groups. Further, their online profiles are self-populated and can provide much more demographic and attitudinal details than otherwise obtained. Sorting responses by these criteria can yield valuable insight according to age, income, location, and other characteristics important to target marketing.

    photo - young people using social media
    In recent years, several QFD practitioners have been using social media to acquire Voice of Customer (VOC) data during new product development. QFD, of course, would usually begin well before focus groups were employed to evaluate solution options, in order to acquire VOC to define customer needs and product requirements. In these cases, users are asked to send in videos and photos of their activities and frustrations, usually around a product theme. Other uses are to search personal social media postings for issues related to the new product project.

    In my experience, this has proven to be a rich source of candid VOC where the user is directing the script. A kind of virtual "gemba." In one case, we uncovered that one company's product was being abused by young teens, allowing the maker to change the product and make it less prone to tampering.

    Of course, like any customer gemba data, these are only inputs to a deeper QFD analysis that includes translating VOC into prioritized customer needs, product requirements, and features. These features can be tested again using social media as described in the above captioned article.


    01 August 2012

    Benchmarking – the fatal flaw in modern quality thinking

    Frequently we hear in quality conference presentations and papers high praises for benchmarking and "shamelessly stealing" the ideas of others. But does it make sense to take what is successful elsewhere and expect it to work in a different context with different staff and customers? Two recent news reports are noteworthy.

    "How Apple Store Seduces You With the Tilt of Its Laptops" (from Forbes Magazine, June 14, 2012): Apple Retail has found that tilting demonstration laptop computer screens at a specific angle encourages customers to adjust them to their ideal viewing angle – and by virtue of touching the computer, invite them to experience the product and its apps in a multi-sensory mode.

    "A Store Without a Checkout Counter? JCPenney Presses on with Retail Revolution" (Time Magazine, July 20, 2012): In late July 2012, J.C. Penney (a large American department store chain) announced that by 2014, it will eliminate cash registers and checkout counters at their retail stores. This idea emulates Apple Computer's successful retail store format, also the brainchild of Ron Johnson who left Apple Retail this spring to become CEO of J.C. Penney (JCP). Key functions of the plan are to have store employees with remote scanners roam the store and record purchases and payments, as well as create an iPhone app that allows customers to check themselves out.
    photo - shopping
    Readers who have shopped at an Apple Retail store know that you are surrounded by staff both eager to leave you alone to play with the devices, but instantly there should you have questions or wish to make a purchase. If you use a credit card, you can be immediately checked out right where you stand, and instantly receive your receipt by email. But can a clothing and general merchandise retailer imitate this successfully?

    From a QFD perspective, let's examine JCP's decision to emulate Apple as a new solution to an existing problem or opportunity. At the start of a technology-driven QFD project (Apple may have been customer-driven, but benchmarking is usually technology- or solution-driven), we look at the the functions of the technology and what important customer problems does it address?

    For example:
    • Who are the target customers and how do they shop?
    • Do they come in with a purchase already in mind or do they browse?
    • Do they buy things from multiple departments and don't mind paying for different purchases in different departments?
    • Do they pay with cash?
    • Do they add additional items as they walk towards the checkout counter?
    • How big a problem is checking out and purchasing at JCP today?
    • Do customers abandon their purchases due to waiting in line?
    • What other problems do customers face at JCP such as poor selection or size availability?
    • How will floor staff handle lost sales when customers that cannot find what they want?

    So, when benchmarking another business, be careful to understand the "spirit" and not just the "form."  We talked about this in the QFDI Newsletter "Hoshin Kanri - Understanding the spirit behind the form"

    What fits others may need alterations before it fits your business.

    25 July 2012

    When executive solutions become design constraints #2 – The case of Sweden's 17th century warship Vasa

    In my last blog, I related the case of the boss who did not listen, and actively discouraged the advice of the very specialists he hired. An historical, but famous example of this recently came to my attention.

    In a recent onboard flight magazine, I came across an article recommending things to do in Stockholm. Among the list was the Vasa Museum. I remember visiting it on one of my earliest QFD trips to this beautiful Scandinavian country. It was impressive to see the fully intact 135 foot wooden warship from the 17th century despite it being lost under water for over 300 years.

    From my QFD perspective, the ship’s history offered interesting insight to the management style problem discussed in “The unreasonable boss - when executive solutions become design constraints.”  
    photo of Vasa, the legendary 17th century Swedish warship
    Vasa, fully intact 17th century Swedish warship
    (photo - wikipedia)
    Vasa was commissioned by King Gustavus Adolphus (1594–1632) to flag the nation’s largest and most powerful naval force at the time. But immediately after leaving the dock on its maiden voyage in 1628, the ship sank in the Baltic Sea.

    Why? Too many design changes as after-thoughts, lack of specifications and documentation detailing the ongoing design changes and modifications, unclear division of responsibility, unrealistic schedule demand, the project mission that got blurred by those changes, and stunted communication between the customer (king), producer (shipwright and builder), and operator (naval officers in charge of testing and navigation).




    In particular, the changes that the king ordered after the timbers had been cut to size and the ship’s keel had been laid exacerbated the ship’s instability and ballast deficiency. Other late changes also shifted the project mission unwittingly.

    For example, adding the second gun deck (after learning Denmark was building such a design) not only increased the weight burden (too many cannons) but also changed the main objectives of naval war tactics (from crippling the enemy ship with firing volleys from one deck and taking over onboard to capsizing the enemy ship by broadside firing from two decks).
    image of Vasa stern model, photo by Peter Isotalo / Wikipedia
    decorated stern model of Vasa
    (photo - wikipedia / Peter Isotalo)

    In those days it was customary for warships to have ornate decorations that glorified the king. Again, many more sculptures were added on Vasa than its original design. Each measuring 10 feet long, you can imagine how heavy 500 sculptures were to the 135 foot ship.

    None of the workers and subordinates had the courage to reveal these structural problems to the king, who had issued a threat against anyone causing schedule delay.

    As we discussed in our previous post, Modern Blitz QFD® tools can help analyze and offer solutions to these scenarios.

    Readers, can you follow the process described in that post and do your own analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the king’s orders for the Vasa project?  Please share your analysis and questions with us in the comments.


    20 July 2012

    The unreasonable boss - when executive solutions become design constraints

    An acquaintance of mine recently complained that her new boss just didn't listen. She was recently hired by a large sports wear chain to manage their social media and promotional events in advance of their entering new markets and attracting new customer segments.

    The owner, it seemed, was so attached to his ideas of how to promote because of his past successes that he could not comprehend that the new customers he wished to attract needed to be approached differently. His most recent demand was that because his children liked popcorn, he told the marketing team to rent an old-fashion popcorn cart for the product booth at a street fair in 100°F weather.

    image of an old fashioned popocorn machine (source: wikipedia)

    What bothered my acquaintance most, however, was that her direct boss and other managers were afraid to challenge the owner's positions. Whatever he demanded, he got.

    QFD has some solutions to such a scenario. Whether it is the boss or the customer, proposed solutions need to be translated back into functional requirements, and then into solution-independent needs, so that better solutions can be examined to achieve those needs.

    In the sports wear store example, the popcorn is a solution to what problem or need? Can we analyze for the owner the advantages and disadvantages of popcorn.

    For example:
    Popcorn's aroma attracts attention. Functional requirement: Attract attention. Need: Our booth stands out in a crowded event. What other ways can we stand out on a hot day? How about misting fans? Handing out folding fans?
    Popcorn is something kids love to eat. Functional requirement: Distract kids. Need: Keep kids entertained while mom looks at our sports wear. How else can we entertain kids on a hot day? How about water guns?
    Popcorn from an old-fashioned cart shows we are traditional and have been here a long time, and will continue to be here a long time in the future. Functional requirements: Show we are your neighbors and a trusted part of your community. Need: We are a trusted place to shop. How else can we build trust in this new market segment? How about our brands, satisfaction guarantees, our current customers who are respected in the community?
    Food sales require a city license, trained operators, food handling protocols. This is a constraint that makes it expensive and time consuming. Our focus is to sell sports wear, and the popcorn could be a distraction.
    Popcorn oil can damage our sample products. Kids and adults eating the popcorn and then touching the products will leave fingerprints and stains that will make our samples unattractive and discourage potential shoppers. This is another negative.
    If you have attended a QFD Green Belt® course, you remember that this solution-to-need translation is the job of the Customer Voice table and that the analysis of solution constraints is the job of the Maximum Value table.

    Both are new tools  in Modern Blitz QFD®. These are core tools in the QFD Green Belt® Course offered in St. Augustine on October 21-November 1, 2012.