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Learn About Quality

How to Build a House of Quality with Technical and Competitive Benchmarking

Quality Glossary Definition: House of Quality

The House of Quality (HOQ) is defined as a product planning matrix that is built to show how customer requirements relate directly to the ways and methods companies can use to achieve those requirements. House of Quality diagrams use a design that resembles the outline of a house and can be created using technical and competitive benchmarking data. HOQ is considered the primary tool used during quality function deployment to help facilitate group decision making.

Benefits of building a House of Quality include:

  • A customer’s needs and requirements are established, then used to build and prioritize service offerings and products.
  • Identifying customer needs and requirements, then ensuring they are achieved, leads to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Improving a company’s understanding of its customers, which leads to better customer utilization, overall sales, and share of wallet.

House of Quality diagrams rely heavily on identifying and maintaining the voice of the customer (VOC). VOC is a way of obtaining and implementing the customer’s stated needs and requirements for their services or products.

Technical Benchmarking

Technical benchmarking means determining how well both your organization and the competition fulfill customer needs in terms of design requirements.This work is usually performed by design staff to ascertain the capabilities of products or services, especially in comparison to the products or services of leading competitors.

You can plot this evaluation as a score on the vertical axis of a House of Quality, as shown in the figure below. Some people 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

Competitive benchmarking compares one company against a selection of leading competitors. The company is evaluated based on how well or poorly it’s doing by examining and understanding the important aspects associated with its product or services.

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. You can also add more columns to the right side of the matrix to include other information as needed.

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.

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.

Identifying Benchmark Target Values Using House of Quality

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 Using House of Quality

House of Quality Example

In this example of a House of Quality, a company is takes on a contract to install a new server system design to help a customer’s increased need for faster response times and better information management. This company selects a group of employees tasked with ensuring the customer’s requirements are included.

With the use of focus groups and multiple interviews, plus a selection of information technology resources based on a chosen sample size, the group of employees finds the VOC. They then determine the value and needs of this data, and apply it to the Customer Needs section of the House of Quality.

The company also worked with an engineering team who were tasked with developing the product and ensuring it matches the customer’s needs, as shown in the correlation matrix below.

House of Quality Figure
House of Quality Example

Adapted from Quality Essentials: A Reference Guide from A to Z, ASQ Quality Press.

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