24 March 2021

QFD in a Pandemic

Under COVID-19 lockdown, now nearly one year, we at the QFD Institute has been responding to the needs of businesses by instituting changes that are having a profound impact on QFD projects, QFD methods, and QFD training. We’d like to share some of our successes.

QFD Projects:

There has been a trend towards QFD applications in healthcare and in digitalized products. This intensified over the last year due to increased demand for new capabilities and faster time-to-market for medical devices. Unpredictable environments related to durations of use, training of non-traditional operators and users, maintenance and cleaning protocols, infectious disease control, new manufacturing, distribution, and related conditions have increased the need for faster design, re-design, quality control, and “getting it right the first time.” The emergence of telemedicine is demanding new ways for medical staff and patients to connect.

Experienced QFD practitioners will recognize these problems as the very conditions that gave rise to QFD nearly 60 years ago. This trend did not catch us by surprise, as attendees of our QFD classes in recent years were trained on a medical case study that deployed into infectious disease control services and materials, a physical device, and a software interface.

We have also seen an increased interest in applying QFD to digital and communications products as the shift to work-from-home, on-line education, and virtual meetings and family/social events has strained communication infrastructure, privacy and security, and demand for computers and other devices. Customer needs for easy setup, ease of use, and reliability have remained high priorities as first-time users (including seniors and children) require more screen time to remain engaged with their life activities.

QFD interest among companies engaging in e-commerce has also grown as customers shift from on-site shopping to pick-up and delivery arrangements. How customers browse, order, pay, and receive fresh food and household staples is different than downloading or streaming entertainment.

These disruptions have increased opportunities for QFD experts to help marketers and engineers work faster and better together to deliver solutions that help customers retain some sense of control and normalcy in their lives.

QFD Methods:

The urgency of this new commercial and social environment has been well served by the improved methods of Modern Blitz QFD® which the QFD Institute has been standardizing in recent years.

Blitz QFD® does not rely on large matrices like the House of Quality that require long hours of teamwork to complete. Instead, more concise Excel-based tools allow individuals and teams to work remotely and independently while maintaining customer priorities, communications, and innovation. This can result in much faster QFD project completion with a focus on addressing what matters most to customers.

Because customer insight and intimacy is critical to understanding what will excite and delight customers in their most critical applications, we have been exploring ways to use new technology that maintains safe, contact-free, and private gemba research.

The Modern Blitz QFD® methods are now available in the new ISO 16355 series standards for QFD, especially ISO 16355-2: 2017, ISO 16355-4:2017, and ISO 16355-5:2017. Excel templates for the Modern Blitz QFD® as well as updated Classical QFD are included in the Virtual training.

QFD Training:

The change to Virtual training has become a great opportunity for attendees from around the world. Benefits include:

  • Classes are kept small to allow the instructor to pay close attention to each attendee and their project.
  • Some sessions have more than one instructor depending on the industries of the attendees.
  • iZoom breakout rooms allow multiple students from one company to work from home, yet discuss project details in private chats with the instructor.
  • Included in the tuition is on-going support for your QFD project after the training concludes.
  • e-materials that you can print, zoom, and translate (if English is your second language) in advance of the class.
  • No travel expenses or travel time to attend.
  • Less disruption to your work and family life.

This extra attention to your success has become a great point of pride for us, and the results have been remarkable in terms of the quality of work attendees have submitted for review and the percentage of students who have quickly earned their Full QFD Green Belt® certification.

In 2020, we have attracted attendees from China, India, Europe, Canada, USA, and elsewhere with business professionals, university students and faculty.

The 2021 schedule for our Virtual QFD training will always be posted on www.qfdi.org. It is regularly updated as new course dates are added.

The upcoming virtual QFD Green Belt® course (4 hours x 3 days):

In 2021, a virtual QFD Black Belt® program for advanced facilitators is also planned. If you have particular training needs or would like different dates and time zone, we would be happy to consider private training as well. Please contact us.