© 1997 Yoji Akao
QFD: Past, Present, and Future
Yoji Akao Asahi University
It is a delight to see that the International Symposium on QFD has developed into a truly worldwide event, this third time in succeeding the first one in Japan and the second one in the U.S. In light of this progress, it is fitting to share theauthor’s retrospect on the beginning days of QFD, how it was first conceptualized in 1966, its transmittal and introduction to the U.S., as well as later advancements and challenges for the future. It is the my hope that this article will contribute to further advancement of QFD. The bibliography at the end begins the listing with the books and documents that are available in English [1-11]. Forhistorical details, please see reference .
Quality Function Deployment (QFD) was conceived in Japan in the late 1960s, during an era when Japanese industries broke from their post-World War II mode of product development through imitation and copying and moved to product development based on originality. QFD was born in this environment as a method or concept for new product developmentunder the umbrella of Total Quality Control. The subtitle “An Approach to Total Quality Control” added to Quality Function Deployment , the very first book on the topic of QFD written by the late Dr. Shigeru Mizuno and myself, illustrates this relationship. After World War II, statistical quality control (SQC) was introduced to Japan and became the central quality activity, primarily in the areaof manufacturing. Later, it was integrated with the teachings of Dr. Juran, who during his 1954 visit to Japan emphasized the importance of making quality control a part of business management, and the teaching of Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, who spearheaded the Company Wide Quality Control movement by convincing the top management of companies of the importance of having every employee take part. Thisevolution was fortified also by the 1961 publication of Total Quality Control by Dr. Feigenbaum. As a result, SQC was transformed into TQC in Japan during this transitional period between 1960 and 1965. It was during this time that I first presented the concept and method of QFD. The Japanese automobile industry was in the midst of rapid growth, going through endless new product development andmodel changes. At that time, the following two issues became the seeds out of which QFD was conceived. (1) People started to recognize the importance of design quality, but how it could be done was not found in any books available in those days. (2) Companies were already using QC process charts, but the charts were produced at the manufacturing site after the new products were being churned out ofthe line. “By the time design quality is determined, there should already exist critical quality assurance (QA) points that are needed to ensure certain qualities. Why then, could we not note these critical points on the QC process chart as predetermined control points or check points for production activity, prior to production startup?” I questioned.
International Symposium on QFD ’97– Linköping
© 1997 Yoji Akao
In 1966, a process assurance items table was presented by Mr. Kiyotaka Oshiumi  of Bridgestone Tire Corp. This table showed the links from the substitute quality characteristics, which were converted from true qualities, to the process factors. It gave a clue to my quest for the QC process table, a table that should be created prior to production startup.To this process assurance items table, I added a field called “Design Viewpoints” and tried to get the new table used in new product development. The idea was taken to various companies for trials, but it did not generate much public attention. In 1972, I assembled this concept and the experiences in a publication  where the approach was described with the term “hinshitsu tenkai” (quality...