07 March 2022

QFD for Digitalized Products

The way traditional products and services have been designed, produced, and operated is now going through dramatic changes as software and information systems expand their roles.

For example, John Seabrook in his January 24 2022 New Yorker article “America’s Favorite Pickup Truck Goes Electric” reported Ford's new approach to designing and building its new F-150 Lightening trucks.

“This industry is overly focused on the propulsion change. But the real change is that we are moving to a software-defined experience for our customers,” Ford's CEO, Jim Farley was quoted in the article.  “... the most important thing was that the software decided what kind of hardware got put on those machine... Ford will no longer wait for the next model change to rework a vehicle..."

The gist of the article, from a QFD perspective, is that hardware will be designed in the future to support the software, and not the other way around.

This means, these vehicles may come in “versions” where design changes are released on an ongoing basis, like other software-intensive products, affecting the entire supply chain for components and the entire value chain for after sales support and service/maintenance.

One can anticipate a broad range of ramification from this, including the right to access proprietary software operating systems on mechanical products such as automobiles, agricultural implements, and others by product owners and non-dealer service technicians has been contentious, and the Right-to-Repair laws for independent repair shops and car owners, as well as most importantly, data security.

Recently the ISO 16355-7 standard for digitalized products and services has passed the draft stage. It is set for final publication in late 2022. There is a great urgency to this standard as the current information revolution is taking place across all industries.

For QFD practitioners, this presents opportunities for us to improve our methods. For example, a novel approach that includes hackers as one of the Voice of Customers is being studied by three QFD experts at the International Academy for Quality. Their research will be shared in the next QFD symposium and/or in the QFD newsletter.

Read about more opportunities for QFD practitioners...

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