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Learn About Quality

What is Quality Function Deployment (QFD)?

Quality Glossary Definition: Quality function deployment (QFD)

Also called: matrix product planning, decision matrices, customer-driven engineering

Every organization has customers. Some have only internal customers, some have only external customers, and some have both. When you are working to determine what you need to accomplish to satisfy or even delight your customers, quality function deployment is an essential tool.


QFD is a focused methodology for carefully listening to the voice of the customer and then effectively responding to those needs and expectations.

First developed in Japan in the late 1960s as a form of cause-and-effect analysis, QFD was brought to the United States in the early 1980s. It gained its early popularity as a result of numerous successes in the automotive industry.


In QFD, quality is a measure of customer satisfaction with a product or a service. QFD is a structured method that uses the seven management and planning tools to identify and prioritize customers’ expectations quickly and effectively.

Beginning with the initial matrix, commonly termed the House of Quality (Figure 1), the QFD methodology focuses on the most important product or service attributes or qualities. These are composed of customer wows, wants, and musts. (See the Kano model of customer perception versus customer reality.)

Once you have prioritized the attributes and qualities, QFD deploys them to the appropriate organizational function for action, as shown in Figure 2. Thus, QFD is the deployment of customer-driven qualities to the responsible functions of an organization.

Quality Function Deployment: Most Important Product/Service Attributes or Qualities
House of quality template and benefits

Quality Function Deployment of Customer-driven Qualities to Responsible Organizational Functions
Waterfall relationship of QFD matrices

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

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