Improving Product & Service Designs: DMADV, QFD & DFM

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  • 0:00 Design
  • 0:35 DMADV
  • 3:35 QFD
  • 5:10 DFM
  • 6:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

When designing products and services, businesses have several different processes. In this lesson, we'll examine three design processes: the DMADV and QFD processes, which focus on the end user, and DFM, which focuses on manufacturing.


Sugi owns a company that makes accessories for phones and tablets. She wants to design a new case that will help protect people's expensive electronics, but she wants to make sure the design is one that meets the needs and desires of many people. How can she do that?

Design applies to both products, like Sugi's new case, and services, like spa packages for a day of relaxation. Know how best to design a product or service can help companies keep their customers happy. To help Sugi out, let's look a few common approaches to improving the design process, including DMADV, QFD and DFM.


Sugi wants to design a new phone and tablet case that will help people keep their electronics safe and meet their other need and wants. But, how can she make sure that she is designing it with her customers in mind. One famous way to design products and services is DMADV, which stands for define, measure, analyze, design and verify.

This is a process that allows companies to focus on what their customers and clients need and want, and design products and services accordingly. The steps are:

1. Define: The first step involves identifying the problem the service or product will solve. In Sugi's case, she wants to create a case that will make people live easier.

2. Measure: Once she knows what the problem she's trying to solve is, Sugi will need to measure the factors that are important to her customers. For example: Sugi can poll her customers about what they say they want in a case. They might indicate that they want it to be lightweight, durable, small and include pockets.

3. Analyze: Next Sugi will want to look at the data she gathered while measuring and figure out what combination of factors has the most impact on her customers. It's difficult to create a case that is both durable and light weight, and likewise it is hard to design pockets on a case that's small. So, is it better to have a durable case with pockets, or a light weight case that's small? What about a light weight case that has pockets?

During the analyze step Sugi will have to figure out which combination of features is most appealing and useful to her customers.

4. Design

So far Sugi has defined the problem she is trying to solve, measured the factors that are important to her customers and analyzed to figure out what combination of features is most impactful. Now, finally, Sugi is ready to begin designing her new case with her analysis as a guide. For example: after analysis she decides that she wants to create a case that's durable and has pockets. She's going to make it from a durable, but semi-light-weight material. It's not the lightest material she could use, but it is the lightest material that's still durable.

Notice that it's not until step 4 that Sugi begins designing her case. Often companies make the mistake of designing a product first and then trying to fit it into the market. With DMADV design doesn't come until the next to last step, once the market has been thoroughly researched.

5. Verify: The final step, after design, is to make sure that the design meets the needs and expectations of the customers. Pilot studies and beta users can give feedback to Sugi about whether her design is what her customers want, and help her verify that she has made the right design choices.

DMADV is one way for Sugi to try to design a product that meets the needs of her customers, but it's not the only way.


Quality Function Deployment, often abbreviated QFD, tries to link the end user (like the customer or client) with designers. Like DMADV, QFD is about making design choices with the customer in mind. Unlike DMADV though, QFD does not have a single set of steps to follow. Often, QFD focuses on 'whats' and 'hows'. For example: one of the first things Sugi need to know in QFD is what market sector she wants to target with her design. In her case, she might want to target young professionals, or older adults.

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