I have written this book to enable you to develop more successful
products and services and to do so consistently. I have used the qualifier "more"
because, since you picked up this book, you probably already do develop products
that succeed in many ways. You may want more customers, or stronger customer loyalty,
or fewer unprofitable products. To Satisfy and Delight Your Customer can
help with any of those desires, but it doesn't intend to be a substitute for good
engineering and manufacturing; it does describe a detailed, sensible process to
get the best from your talented people, enabling you to develop products that
will succeed. The process has two core elements: It helps you get the best from
teams, and it enables those teams to base design choices on detailed customer
I'm a physicist. That's
an odd background for the author of a book about satisfying and delighting customers.
My interest started with eighteen years in research and development at Rockwell
International's Science Center. Over those years, I moved from research on post-manufacturing
inspection to process control to design to studying the customer. That sequence
of interests followed the widespread recognition in the quality world that corrections
are more effective and less expensive early in the product development process.
Along the way, I managed and watched others manage complex
projects involving people in different companies, in different disciplines, and
with different goals. At times, I saw people from marketing, engineering, and
manufacturing struggle with conflicting objectives such as salability, performance,
and manufacturing cost without a way to find the best combination. I also occasionally
saw talented, committed people become disappointed and frustrated by projects
whose failure could have been foreseen and prevented if they had understood the
customer's real interests.
In response, several colleagues and I began to look for
better product design methods. We recognized many potential benefits from concurrent
engineering, which began as a method for teams to design a product and its manufacturing
processes simultaneously. This method enabled teams to develop a product that
was easier to manufacture and that was, therefore, of higher quality and lower
cost. Today, concurrent engineering has come to mean any development method in
which a team designs product and process together to best meet all the
issues that influence the customer during the product's life.
In looking for effective ways to do concurrent engineering,
I spent five weeks in 1989 as a guest at Fiat's Central Research Laboratory. Fiat
was one of the two largest car manufacturers in Europe at the time and was itself
searching for ways to defeat expected Japanese competition. There I discovered
a method called Quality Function Deployment (QFD).
I immediately saw two immensely valuable characteristics
in QFD. First, QFD focused on customer benefit. That principle appealed to me.
Second, QFD provided people in marketing, engineering, and manufacturing a systematic
process to reach consensus on detailed decisions. It was the structure I sought
for concurrent engineering. I learned Quality Function Deployment, applied it,
taught it, and shared it with other colleagues in other divisions of my company
and in other companies.
from all of them. As I gained experience, I discovered problems: how strongly
QFD depends on thorough, accurate knowledge of the customer, how difficult it
is to compare alternative designs, and how easily a team can drown in details.
I constantly asked myself, "Where does this task or this process add value?
What enables the process to succeed? How can it be more useful?" I found
solutions to those problems, and I share them with you in these pages. I believe
in QFD more than ever, and I hope you will, too, by the end of the book.
Before I turned to QFD, I was a theoretical physicist. Theory
in physics does not mean, as is popularly supposed, "wrong" or "irrelevant,"
though it and I have often been one or both of those at various times. It means,
rather, an effort to develop methods to predict future experience from past experience.
Since no situation exactly matches any previous situation, we are all theorists.
We differ, as theorists, in our subject matter, in the boldness of our goals,
and in our success at recognizing what matters and what does not.
This book reflects my theoretical preferences, my desire
to understand and explain why something matters and something else does not. This
may be unwelcome to some readers. It is my impression that readers usually want
an expert to provide a specific, detailed formula for success, but my experience
that a rigid formula will break down easily when confronted with the inevitable
variations of the world. So I have tried to meet both needs by providing a clear
process, accompanied by an explanation of the reasons for each component of that
process to let you adapt it to your own world.
I have worked hard to make this book accessible to all of you, across a wide
range of types and sizes of business. I have tried to reduce the mystery by being
explicit, by mentioning when a practice isn't based on rocket science, and by
telling you what things can be changed and what you will gain or lose. That's
a tall order, and I know I will have failed here and there. My Internet address
is email@example.com; tell me what you liked and what you didn't.
Thousand Oaks, California
This excerpt from To
Satisfy and Delight Your Customer [ISBN:0-932633-35-8] appears by permission of
Dorset House Publishing. Copyright © 1996 by William
J. Pardee. All rights reserved. See
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