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Building a House of Quality with Technical and Competitive Benchmarking

Quality Glossary Definition: Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a technique in which a company measures its performance against that of best in class companies, determines how those companies achieved their performance levels and uses the information to improve its own performance. Subjects that can be benchmarked include strategies, operations and processes.

Technical Benchmarking

Technical benchmarking means determining how well both your organization and the competition fulfill customer needs in terms of design requirements. You can plot this evaluation as a score on the vertical axis of a house of quality, as shown in the figure below.

Some score the design requirements on a scale of one to four, with four being the best. This method results in a plot across the bottom of the house of quality.

Competitive Benchmarking

Add another “room” on the right side of the house of quality to reflect how well your organization and the competition satisfy customer requirements (identified on the vertical axis on the left side of the matrix). As in the case of technical benchmarking, plot this evaluation as a graph.

Comparing the results of the technical and competitive benchmarking data should show a consistency. If a product scores high in the competitive comparison, it should also score high on the technical comparison. Treat inconsistencies as flags signaling a potential problem with a design requirement.

You can add more columns to the right side of the matrix to include other information as needed. Let your team’s imagination and capacity for innovation drive the possibilities.

This completes the house of quality. Each of the appropriate organizations and ad hoc teams developing the products and services can put this information to use. The integrated product and process development team then manages the development of the other matrices to ensure the complete and effective design and development of the customer offering.

Target Values

Establishing target values for each design requirement is necessary. This action establishes concrete goals for the design engineers and further defines customer requirements. These values need to be measurable, and you can develop them from historical records, designed experiments, or analysis of what the competition is doing. Once the team agrees on the target values, enter them on the horizontal axis with the design requirements.

Benchmarking: house of quality
Benchmarking: house of quality

Excerpted from Jack B. ReVelle’s Quality Essentials: A Reference Guide from A to Z, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, pages 9–11.

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