House of Quality Diagrams

Building Customer Satisfaction Into New Products

House of Quality Diagrams

Capture what "quality" means for your product.

© iStockphoto/buzbuzzer

When you develop a new product, you need to make sure that it meets your customers' needs better than your competitors' products, however you also need to ensure that you can produce it economically, and that you're not asking impossible things from your design team.

This article describes a useful process for thinking about the targets you want to set for your product design team. The output of this process is a "House of Quality" diagram, and the process of drawing it is the process you use to set sensible design targets.

In this article, we'll describe the basic building blocks of a House of Quality diagram, and we'll show some simple examples.

Note, though, that while House of Quality diagrams can considerably improve product development, they can be baffling for the uninitiated: follow the steps below, and you'll understand the simple ideas that lie behind this seemingly complex approach!

About House of Quality

The "House" part of the name "House of Quality Diagrams" comes from the shape of the diagram, as we'll see later. "Quality" comes from the definition of quality that means delivering what customers' need reliably. (In the early days of quality improvement, changes were often made separately from one another, and objectives usually focused on reducing the rate of production defects or increasing product reliability. Later initiatives brought in the importance of meeting customer requirements.)

The first House of Quality was developed in 1972, when Mitsubishi Heavy Industries used it to help design an oil tanker. Since then, it's been used widely, and can be applied to services as well as to products.

Building Blocks

The House of Quality has six main sections:

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