The Connection of QFD, Taguchi, TRIZ

Dr. John Terninko has integrated his diverse experience base (electrical engineering, operations research, organizational development, teaching, continuing education and management consultation) to develop a unique intervention style for organizations.

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Joe: What’s the connection between all three of them?

John Terninko: Take a Venn diagram, and I think I have that in a couple of my books, where one circle is QFD, one circle is Taguchi, and another one is TRIZ. So a simplistic way of describing it – what’s the first thing you ought to be doing? Well the first thing you ought to be doing is finding out what the customer wants. QFD helps you understand what the customer wants. But a lot of people lose sight that part of what QFD does is translate the voice of the customer into the voice of each one the functions in the organization necessary for the organization to produce a product or service that you want to provide. So that’s an important aspect of QFD – the translation, because the language of the engineer doesn’t match the language of the manufacturing people. So you get that nice flow. Now all QFD is wave a flag that we need to worry about this. What’s the system design? We have a system, but maybe that’s not the best system. So for instance what Taguchi is useful for, if you have an existing system, and is a particular aspect in terms of performance, the customer is complaining about, then using Taguchi’s now called robust design is a great way of doing it.

John: The more dynamic aspect is allowing you to tune to whatever performance you really want which is a major breakthrough in terms of design of a product or service. How do I design it in such a way in order to tune it to whatever I want the outlook to look like? The other thing is within a system, whatever the system is, sometimes we have conflicting requirements. One simplistic application of TRIZ is, how do we come up with the design without compromise with conflicting requirements? That’s really powerful. Even to consider that as a possibility. The mind-boggling aspect of TRIZ is the ideal system is no system. You satisfy what’s needed with nothing. My favorite example around my house – I’m sort of dandy. I have a set of shelves which are roughly eight foot high; eight foot long, one foot deep that only requires six nails to hold this whole thing together. It’s got six shelves, a foot space between them. I’m using gravity. Now why do I design it this way? It’s really easy for me to take it apart if I want to put it someplace else.

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