Critical to Quality (CTQ)

 


 

O'PEEP'S CRITICAL TO QUALITY EXPLANATION 

Have you ever bought a piece of furniture at IKEA? And saved money because you were doing the assembly of it at home? Well, “Ease of assembly” is a typical Critical To Quality requirement for IKEA purchases. How would you measure this for a new chair? A good metric could be: The time it takes a non-carpenter from unpacking the box until sitting on it. Attention: “Hex key supplied” (yes, this tool with six edges) is a potential solution but not a CTQ! 

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CTQ is a metric that reflects what the customer wants in a way that can be measured objectively.
 

POINTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT CTQ

  • CTQ is a metric of a product or process “Output” important to the customer who uses the product or receives the results of the process:
  • It is defined from the customer and not from the process perspective (as a smart phone user you shouldn’t really be interested in the type of integrated circuit on the main board of your device, you may rather be interested in the time to load a new instant message, the waiting time using a specific app, etc.).
  • If it’s not clear what your customers’ CTQs are you may use some of the “Voice of the Customer” (VOC) tools


TYPICAL SITUATIONS FOR USING CTQs:

  • Process Improvement: If you run activities to improve an existing process it sometimes helps to understand what it really is that the process customer wants from the process. Conduct some basic Voice of Customer analyses to understand and define sensible (few) CTQs of the process so that your improvement activities are focused on what the customers value as outcomes.
  • Product and process design: When designing and developing a new product and/or process it is mandatory to truly understand customer requirements and translate them into measurable CTQs. Do a great job here and your development activities will be better and more focused.

 

COMMON CTQ APPROACH SEQUENCE

  1. Identify your customers
  2. Gather customer data using reactive and proactive sources
  3. Translate statements from customer language into internally measurable CTQs
  4. Categorize the CTQs (e.g., using Kano categories) and prioritize the CTQs (if simple prioritization is difficult tools like QFD may be handy here)
  5. And finally set meaningful specification limits for the CTQs (i.e. which values are borderline acceptable for most customer use cases)


THE BELOW PICTURES VISUALIZE THE SEQUENCE OF ACTIVITIES. 

1&2. Identify your customers and gather all the necesary data

Learn more about CTQ, Critical to Quality. How to identify customers and how to gather data?

3. Transform statements of the customer into measurable CTQs

Learn more about CTQ, Critical to Quality. CTQs must be measurable

4. Categorize and prioritize CTQ‘s

Learn more about CTQ, Critical to Quality. Categorize and prioritize CTQs

5. Set specification limits

Learn more about CTQ, Critical to Quality. Use CTQs to set specification limits.

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Learn more about CTQs and Voice of Customer in our eLearning or join one of our Green Belt or Black Belt Courses to become a certified Improvement Leader

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