Pioneering Initiatives
n the late 1960s, Dr. Mizuno, professor emeritus at Tokyo Institute of
Technology, developed the concept of quality function deployment, popularly
referred to as QFD. In 1972, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., a company of
Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan ventured into the first industrial application of the
concept in the complex and challenging design process for shipbuilding at the
Kobe Shipyards. The design requirements involved determining in great detail &
with utmost importance the needs of the shipbuying customers, resolving the
apparent conflicts or contradictions between the customer—expressed requirements
and the unstated customers requirements. The ‘unstated’ requirements are those
that the customers have not expressed or perhaps could not have recognized or
would have taken the particular requirement as granted. Mitsubishi recognized
the importance of such information and clarifications at the specification stage
itself and made the first industrial application of the QFD concept in 1972. The
company achieved remarkable success in not only meeting the needs and expec-
tations of its customers, but also improved its overall schedule and cost efficiency.
Mitsubishi’s success was instrumental in the widespread use of the concept in the
other industries in Japan.
Toyota, the Japanese auto major successfully used QFD in the production of
mini-vans and recorded remarkable reduction in the start-up cost. From 1977, a 20
per cent reduction was recorded in October 1979, a further 38 per cent by
November 1982, and a cumulative saving of 61 per cent by April 1984.
The Toyota
success was a precursor to the use of the technique in the American automobile
industry, most notably in the Ford Motor Company.
However Dr. Clausing, of
Xerox Corporation, was the first to try QFD successfully in the USA in 1984.
Today, QFD is one of the standard TQM tool used worldwide by many diverse
industries like defence, aerospace, automobile and other high-tech industries as
well as in wide spectrum of service industries.

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