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quality function deployment and the development of a total quality ...

quality function deployment and the development of a total quality ...

International Journal

International Journal of Applied Strategic Management: Volume 1 Issue 1Improved CommunicationsAn effective communication tool is essential to keep a quality improvementteam focused and on track with customers' expectations. QFD which isdefined by Slabey (1990) as "a system for translating customer requirementsinto appropriate requirements at each stage from research and productdevelopment to engineering and manufacturing to marketing/sales anddistribution” shows that QFD takes the voice of the customer all the waythrough product development to the factory floor and out into the marketplace. Hence, QFD is therefore not a quality tool, but an important planningand communication tool for improved communications.Furthermore, as QFD is part of TQM (GOAL/QPC, 1989), QFD actuallypermeates throughout and encompasses many of the other items. Hence,QFD inherently employs and orchestrates the desired attributes, processesand tools of TQM for improved decisions, good staff and good communication(Weisbrich and Eneco, 1992).Better Integration of Customer Requirements into ServiceRequirementsIn service industries, of which hospitals are a part, customer satisfaction ordissatisfaction takes place during moments of truth. A moment of truth isevery instance in which a customer comes in contact with an employee of acompany (Evans and Lindsay, 1996). At a moment of truth, customers formperceptions about the quality of service by comparing their expectations withthe actual outcomes. Given the highly personalised nature of hospitalservices, great attention should thus be paid to its delivery.According to Mazur (1996), QFD focuses on delivering value by finding outboth the spoken and unspoken needs. It translates customer needs intoactions and designs, and communicates them throughout the organisation.Hence, QFD is the right tool to implement service planning in hospitals.Performance MeasurementPerformance measurement is vital for an organisation that wants to succeedin the competitive market (Adam, Hershauer and Ruth, 1981). It enableshospitals to develop a systematic mean of identifying shortfalls and enhanceits future performance. Although hospitals provide the same type of service,they do not provide the same quality of service. It is performance (or servicequality) that differentiates one hospital from another, creates true customerswho are more loyal and spread favorable "word of mouth". Thus, aperformance measurement tool is necessary to guide a hospital in assessingtheir ability to create value for their customers. Whilst financial measures areimportant, they are not sufficient as they only provide a single, narrowperspective of how an organisation functions. Increasingly, more creative andbetter financial measures have been devised, such as the BalancedScorecard. The Balanced Scorecard is useful in demonstrating the differenttargets and in monitoring an organisation's performance using fourhttp://www.managementjournals.com Page 6

International Journal of Applied Strategic Management: Volume 1 Issue 1perspectives: financial, customer, internal business processes and learning,and growth. However, to get to the stage where the managers can agreeupon these targets, we need techniques such as QFD to identify theprocesses necessary for achieving the targets.Case Study on the Application of QFD in a HospitalThe hospital participating in this study is a restructured regional care acutehospital. The 1980s saw rapid expansion of departments and subspecialtieswhen it became one of the major hospital service providers in Singapore.This hospital has a bed size of more than 1,000 serving close to a millionpeople. Like many hospitals, this hospital has attempted to implement a TQMphilosophy to keep in step with rapidly changing times in the healthcareenvironment. Unfortunately, like many other hospitals, this hospital has notrealised many of the operational and strategic benefits of TQM.In order to demonstrate the application of QFD in a hospital, the approach indeveloping a generic QFD framework needs to be established first. A briefoutline of the six phases and the methodology adopted at each phase isshown in Table 1.Table 1: Outline of Phases and MethodologyPhase1. Who is theCustomer?2. Identify customerexpectations1. Ranking customerexpectations2. Identifying currentmanagement qualityactivities andprocesses3. Development ofcorrelation matrix4. Identify unmetexpectationsMethodsLiterature ReviewPatient survey conductedin the hospitalPatient survey conductedin the hospitalSurvey, structuredinterviews and focusgroup meetingsconducted in the hospitalExperiment by theauthorsExperiment by theauthorsSource: Compiled by the AuthorsBased on this framework, it is imperative that CEOs and Quality managersstart their CQI/TQM efforts from the premise that the expectations of thecustomer must be understood first. They need to move from the 'prescribedperspective' of professional quality to the 'felt perspective' that is, renderingservices according to the customers' needs and expectations rather thanaccording to the 'professionals' ordainment.http://www.managementjournals.com Page 7

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