ASQ Webcast Preview "Competitive Benchmarking and QFD
The ASQ webcast on QFD will review several benchmarking applications from the QFD Black Belt
training and ISO 16355 standard.
It will include case studies and examples.
1. Competitive Benchmarking can begin as early as the strategic planning phase, or Hoshin Kanri, that will define the QFD business, program, and project goals.
In determining which hoshin or strategic policies to pursue, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis includes benchmarking stronger competitors (our weaknesses, their threats) and weaker competitors (our strengths create opportunities). Porter's Five Force Competitive Analysis and other tools are also suggested. Detailed guidance can be found in chapter 4 of the
QFD Black Belt
training and ISO 16355-2:2017, 220.127.116.11 through 18.104.22.168.
The competitive landscape can be further quantified and tactical responses identified using the New Lanchester Strategies. These specify certain competitive market structures based on number of competitors and relative market shares. Our position within these markets determines whether we are in attack mode or defend mode (or both), and which competitors are within shooting range.
Competitors we wish to attack which are within shooting range should be pursued, while those outside our shooting range require a different tactical plan. Detailed guidance can be found in chapter 5 of the QFD Black Belt
training and ISO 16355-2:2017, 22.214.171.124.
Technology benchmarking is addressed several ways in Modern QFD. First, we can identify new markets and applications where are existing technology offers superior functions and performance to technologies currently used in these targets markets and applications.
A well-known case study by Nippon Carbon used a Y-matrix to learn that their carbon fiber was superior to steel in weight and flex characteristics important to the sporting goods industry. Another tool, the
Patterns of Technology Evolution, can be applied to competitors to take action to protect future products. Detailed guidance can be found in chapter 5 of the QFD Black Belt
training and ISO 16355-5:2017, 10.4.3.5.1.1.
After identifying key competitors, it is important to better understand the customers who prefer their products and why. Whys can include function, performance, price, availability, support, security, robustness, quality, etc.
Their key applications can be defined in the
Customer Segments Table
and detailed guidance can be found in both the
QFD Green Belt
and in chapter 10 of the QFD Black Belt
training, as well as ISO 16355-2:2017, 126.96.36.199.
Customer visits, or gemba visits, can be planned to both interview and witness key customers and their key applications to learn why the competitor's products are preferred and what unfulfilled customer needs still exist, which create opportunities for us.
Things-gone-right with competitive products (which we must match) and things-gone-wrong with competitive products (which we must beat) are identified in the
Customer Process Model
Gemba Visit Table
, which can also specify how customers measure the right or wrong in their life or work, as well as what thresholds must be crossed in order for our new product to be successful.
Failing to cross the threshold means that while our new product may offer superior function or performance, it is insufficient to trigger a sale or switch due to other "costs" such as training, consumables, time, etc. Over performance or function can also mean over-engineered and thus costly, complex, or high failure rates. Detailed guidance can be found in both the QFD Green Belt
and in chapters 11-12 of the QFD Black Belt
training, as well as ISO 16355-2:2017, 188.8.131.52.3 and 184.108.40.206.4.
Additional competitive benchmarking methods and tools such as Analysis of Beliefs, Lead User Analysis, Focus Groups, Social Media,
Net Promoter System
, Ethnographies and
, Design Thinking, and Continuous and Collaborative QFD, Fuzzy Set Theory, and Repertory Grid Technique. Detailed guidance can be found in chapters 15 and 26 of the QFD Black Belt
training and ISO 16355-2:2017, 220.127.116.11 through 18.104.22.168, ISO 16355-3:2019, 9.7 and 9.15.
Competitive Benchmarking of customer needs is done in the
Quality Planning Table
. This may include additional informational factors such as relative importance of the customer needs to the key customers (for which
is recommended), measurement and degree of satisfaction with current product (ours, competitors, alternatives), hoped-for or planned target level of and degree of satisfaction, selling point, and other factors.
The Quality Planning Table may be only informational or may be weighted using AHP-derived weights, as ordinal scale weighting is not recommended due to its mathematical limitations. Detailed guidance can be found in both the QFD Green Belt
and in chapter 21 of the QFD Black Belt
training, as well as ISO 16355-4:2017, 12.2.
Competitive Technical Benchmarking of product functional requirements is done in the
Design Planning Table
This may include additional informational factors such as relative importance of the functional requirements based on their relationships to the customer needs, actual performance levels of current product and competitors' products, target specifications and method of measurement, degree of difficulty in achieving the target, competitive advantage of achieving the target, and survey results using the
New Kano Model
for different performance levels.
The Design Planning Table may be only informational or may be weighted using AHP-derived weights, as ordinal scale weighting is not recommended due to its mathematical limitations. Detailed guidance can be found in both the QFD Green Belt
and in chapters 20 and 24 of the QFD Black Belt
training, as well as ISO 16355-5:2017, 10.3.4.1.