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What are Affinity Diagrams?

An affinity diagram is a tool that is used to organize a large number of ideas, opinions, and issues and group them based on their relationships. Affinity diagrams are generally used for categorizing ideas that are generated during brainstorming sessions and can be particularly useful for analyzing complex issues.

Affinity Diagrams

The steps for creating an affinity diagram can include:

  1. Generating ideas through brainstorming.
  2. Displaying the ideas randomly.
  3. Sorting the ideas into groups.
  4. Creating header cards for each group to capture the essential links among the ideas in each group.
  5. And, drawing the affinity diagram by writing the problem statement at the top and the headers with their respective groups of ideas below the problem statement.
  6. An affinity diagram helps in sorting and grouping customer requirements.

Methods used for Gathering the VOC

To gather the VOC, effective methods for accurately capturing customer requirements are required. Several methods are available to capture the VOC.

  • Interviews are used to gather information from stakeholders by talking to them directly. Interviews aid in identifying and defining features and functions or desired project deliverables.
  • Focus groups is a trained moderator-guided interactive discussion that includes pre-qualified stakeholders and subject-matter experts (SMEs) to elicit their expectations and attitudes toward the proposed product, service, or result of the project.
  • Facilitated workshops is an interactive group-focused sessions that bring together key cross-functional stakeholders to define the project or product requirements. It is a primary technique to define cross-functional requirements and reconcile stakeholder differences to the project. Facilitated workshops occur much faster than individual discussions.
  • Questionnaires and surveys is another method where written sets of questions designed to quickly gather information from a broad audience.
  • Mystery shopping commonly performed in retail industries. This method is used to measure the quality of a service by gathering specific information about the product or service. This method is performed by mystery shoppers who introduce themselves as customers and perform specific customer-related tasks, such as purchasing a product and raising questions and complaints about the product.
  • Observations are a direct way of viewing individuals in their work environment or while using the product to identify the project or product requirements. Also referred to as job shadowing.
  • Market research is an organized effort to gather information about the current trends in an industry and also Field reports is a formal report documented by field engineers or other on-site personnel who gather required information about events that occur during their field work.
  • Customer feedback and complaints data are used to gather customer requirements. This method also involves gathering customer feedback about the quality of a product or service. The consolidated list of feedback from customers is referred to as complaints data.
  • Reliability data is a source of information that helps in analyzing the reliability of a product or process. By gathering this data, you can plan strategies to gain a reputation with customers as a reliable provider of services.
  • Staff feedback is another method of gathering opinions from staff who interact with customers directly or who possess knowledge about customers and their expectations. This information is captured by conducting surveys, brainstorming sessions, and other information gathering sessions.

House of Quality (HOQ)& QFD

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a structured approach followed by customer-driven organizations to transform customer requirements into their product specifications.HOQ

The House of Quality (HOQ) is a diagram used by a product development team during the initial stage of the QFD process. It uses a planning matrix to define the relationship between customer requirements and the capability of the product and the company to satisfy these requirements. Because this matrix looks like a house, where customer requirements and product attributes resemble the main living quarters, competitive analysis resembles the porch, and the correlation matrix resembles the roof, it is called House of Quality.

HOQ encompasses different QFD elements used for understanding customer requirements and aligning business processes to meet these customer requirements.

It starts with customer requirements. The customers for a product or service are identified and their requirements from the product or service are gathered using different tools such as focus groups, surveys, and customer experiences. A structured list of customer requirements is then drawn by analyzing and organizing this data using tools such as affinity diagrams and tree diagrams.

Importance ratings are used for quantify the customer requirements and rated according to their importance on a scale of 1 to 5. This rating will be used in the relationship matrix at a later stage.

Another element is the Competitive analysis where customers views about the competition are gathered through research to provide a better understanding of the market. Here, the customers rate an organization’s products or services against competitors’ products or services. Also, Technical requirements that are not known to customers are identified and documented. These requirements generally stem from management or regulatory standards that a product must meet.

Relationship matrix defines the relationship between customer requirements and an organization’s ability to meet those requirements is determined. The relationship between the two factors is classified as weak, moderate, or strong and given the values of 1, 3, and 9, respectively. Even, in Importance weighting rating, Customer requirements are weighted according to their importance for defining and prioritizing key criteria. The relative importance of customer needs and the company’s and competitor’s performance are taken into account while calculating this. Target values for each product or service attributes, known as technical descriptors, that can be used as benchmarks against competitors’ target values are established. These target values are the “how much” of these product or service attributes.

The technical descriptors are compared with the competitors’ technical descriptors using scientific analytical techniques to assess their properties is called Engineering analysis. This also includes reverse engineering competitors’ products or services to determine the values for their technical descriptors. Correlation matrix is the relationship among customer requirements are analyzed to identify correlated requirements. The relationships are then ranked for determining areas of improvement that need to be focused upon.

What is DMADV?

Another roadmap of DFSS is DMADV, an acronym for five interconnected phases, namely Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify. This methodology is used in projects that involve creating a new product or process design.DMADV

Define – The project goals are defined so that they are in line with customer requirements and enterprise strategies.

Measure – Characteristics that are critical to quality as well as product and process capabilities are measured.

Analyze – The different process options are analyzed and the best process that is consistent with customer requirements is selected.

Design – The details of the process are designed and optimized to meet the needs of customers followed by the performance of the new design which is tested through pilot runs before implementation.

Verify – In this phase the results are test and implementation of new design is carried out for large scale deployment.