The QFD Experience of Dilworth Lyman


In 1985, while working with a consulting client, I developed a system of processes, structures and methods to allow the client to model a tremendous amount of complexity and understanding. Using this model one could make insightful and intelligent decisions. I called this system Cimplicity, but found that GE already owned that name. I was pursuing the distribution of this technology on my own when I discovered that ITI was involved with something called QFD. I soon realized that what I had developed and QFD did basically the same things. At this time, ITI was struggling to manage a QFD product, "QFD/Capture" and could apply my experience with direct marketing of software products. I could also see where my insights gained in developing Cimplicity could benefit and improve the QFD technology. All of this combined as I took over management of the QFD product group.

Over the years I have focused on developing ways to improve and enhance QFD. The first improvement I saw pertained to a mathematical anomaly which occurs when one does not give a great amount of attention to the structure of the lists. When the total value of the relationships in one row is very different from the total value of another row, the importance designated by the customer can become distorted. To correct for this I developed a calculation we call Normalized technical importance. After developing the calculation, field validating it for more than 5 years, and proving it’s utility, I prepared a technical paper for the Novi conference. Just prior to presenting this paper I was told that the Japanese had developed this same technique and called it Proportional Distribution. I was quite disappointed that I had spent so long developing and proving something that someone else already knew and I hadn’t been able to find out.

I am continually investigating many areas of advancement and improvement for QFD. This includes, but is not limited to, tolerances on values (RSS), probabilities on values, feedback looping, intermixing of AND and OR logic relationships in lists, collapse and expand lists and the appropriate mathematics, fuzzy logic, relationship traceability, graph theory, uncertainty and risk analysis, factor analysis, cluster analysis, dynamic customer needs, etc.

I have also applied QFD to many areas other than manufactured product development. This includes extensive application to strategic planning with a sequence beginning with initial product focus and extending through to extensive, full process, multiple business unit, long and short range planning, and multidimensional interrelationship coordination. I have applied it to the full process of service product development. This includes the design dimensions of outcomes, processes, and image. It also includes the appropriate relationships to service design tools such as service blueprinting, cycles of service, moments of truth, failpoints, SERVQUAL, quality gaps, and the line of visibility.

I have given presentations in all major quality conferences and many small section or local conferences. I have written over a dozen published technical papers related to QFD. I have taught QFD through satellite video and in person at companies. I have worked with a variety of teams and under all sorts of limitations. I regularly create new kinds of QFD matrices to suit the needs of the team I am working with; over 100 different matrices per year in dozens of disciplines or situations. I plan my business and my products using QFD matrices. I have helped hundreds of people become skillful at using QFD and have exposed thousands to the potential of QFD. I have worked with dozens of companies to help them move from an initial use of QFD to more advanced applications.

Some of the companies I have worked with pertaining to QFD include: 3M, ABB, AC Rochester, a consumer products company, Allied Signal, a cleaning service company, AT&T Bell Labs, Baxter, a software products company, Bethesda Hospital, an information systems company, BYU, Caterpillar, Chevron, a telephone company, Clemson Univ., Community Health and Counseling Services, Computervision, Council for Continuous Improvement, DG Conseil, Drackett, an aerospace industry supplier, an aerospace company, an information services company, a medical equipment company, a management consulting company, General Motors, a German software company, a tire company, an aerospace contractor, Harley Davidson, a training company, a furniture manufacturer, Hewlett Packard, Hughes, a pumps and valves manufacturer, an industry watchdog, a Japanese information systems company, Intel, a construction equipment manufacturer, a climate controls manufacturer, Kodak, Leemak, a relay and switch manufacturer, Martin Marietta, an automotive supplier, McDonnell Douglas, a medical consulting company, a consumer goods supplier, MIT, NCR, a Japanese testing and educational company, OSU, a petroleum products company, a computer manufacturer, a consumer products company, an energy supplier, a paper handling equipment manufacturer, Raychem, Rockwell, an instruments manufacturer, an electrical supplies manufacturer, Technicomp, a conglomerate, Valmont, a plastic coatings company, a consumer products manufacturer, a process consulting company, Xerox, and an electronic equipment manufacturer.

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