January 5th, 2008 by Joseph P. Merts
What’s in a name? While Shakespeare may have been correct in observing that “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, most people would not know what you were talking about if you referred to it as a “bee leaf pollen perch”.
Similarly, the name “Quality Function Deployment” gives little hint as to what the tool actually is or what purpose it serves. So why is its name so perplexing? The answer lies in two main issues…
First, “Quality Function Deployment” was originally created by two Japanese professors back in the 1960’s (Drs. Yoji Akao and Shigeru Mizuno). Thus, the process was originally given a Japanese name, which was later translated into English. The original Japanese name, “Hin-shitsu Ki-no Ten-kai”, was translated quite litterally into the name “Quality Function Deployment”. Although the name supposedly carries with it a more intuitive meaning in Japanese, it doesn’t seem to have the same readily apparent meaning in English.
Additionally, the term “QFD” is used by many people today to refer to a series of “House of Quality” matrices strung together to define customer requirements and translate them into specific product features to meet those needs. However, these prioritization matrices were only a small part of the system that Drs. Akao and Mizuno originally created. (See “What is the House of Quality? Why it isn’t a QFD?” at qfdi.org for more information on this topic.) Thus, the application of the term “QFD” has changed over the course of the past 30+ years as well. Even though much was lost in translation from its Japanese name, “Quality Function Deployment” was a much more apropos name for the system of processes originally created by Akao and Mizumo than it is for the derivative tool that it has come to refer to today.
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 5th, 2008 at 5:00 pm and is filed under History of QFD, House of Quality, Quality Function Deployment, QFD. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can also leave a response.