5 Quality Techniques You Should Know in Quality Planning.

written on 14.06.2021


Quality planning, according to EN ISO 9000:2015, is: "Part of quality management directed at defining the quality objectives and the necessary execution processes and associated resources to meet the quality objectives."

In quality management, clearly defined goals are often required in order to be able to establish a sustainable quality management system (QMS). Defining these goals is the task of quality planning, which develops them with the help of quality techniques. Quality techniques include all tools, procedures and methods that are used in the field of quality management and quality assurance at all product creation levels to solve specific problems. 5 of these quality techniques are explained briefly and clearly below.

APQP – Advanced Product Quality Planning.

Advanced Product Quality Planning , also known as Product – Quality Preplanning and Control Plan, was developed by Chrysler, Ford & Feneral Motors Supplier Quality Requirements Task Force. The APQP comprehensively describes which steps and activities are to be carried out prior to the start of production in order to ensure a high-quality product for the end customer. It ensures that the product to be realized actually meets the customer’s requirements. This means that quality is already defined during the definition and development of the product and not just during production.

FMEA – Failure Mode and Effects Analysis.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is a method that deals with the early detection and treatment of potential failures. In the context of quality management, FMEA is used to minimize the risk arising from the occurrence of errors. Faults in processes, systems and designs are analyzed and measures are derived to detect them as early as possible.

The risks recorded are evaluated and countermeasures are subsequently formulated. By addressing sources of error at an early stage, the foundation of a sustainable strategy for error prevention is pursued instead of inefficient error elimination.

The most important factor of the FMEA is the risk priority number (RPN), which makes a statement about the probability of occurrence of a defect and its consequences. This is formed from the probability of occurrence (A) and detection (E) of a specific defect and the significance of the consequences of the defect (B). All factors can assume values between 1 (error to be assessed as low) and 10 (error to be assessed as high). This results in maximum result values for the risk priority number (RPN) between 1 and 1000.

Depending on the respective area of application and purpose of the FMEA, a distinction is made between system, design and process FMEA. These build on each other, but have completely different issues. The classification helps to reduce the complexity of a problem and to maintain an overview.

Phases of an FMEA:

The execution of an FMEA is teamwork. The exact distribution of tasks & deadlines are jointly determined and continuously tracked by the project manager.

Phase 1: System analysis (system & functional structure)

Phase 2: Error analysis

Phase 3: Risk assessment

Phase 4: Optimization

The aim of FMEA is to detect a defect at the stage of occurrence and to determine the risk of defect on the basis of RPN. With the help of the FMEA methodology, the risk can be reduced. The success of an FMEA depends to a large extent on the team skills and motivation of the employees.

Advantages of an FMEA include:

  • Universal applicability of the method
  • Uniform and simple documentation
  • Improvement of the object
  • Increase of productivity
  • Exchange of information between departments is promoted
  • Quality awareness of the employees is increased

Disadvantages of an FMEA include:

  • High effort
  • Costs for errors that did not occur cannot be specified / can only be specified with difficulty
  • Evaluation of individual criteria takes place intuitively on the part of the employees

QFD – Quality Function Deployment Methode.

Quality function deployment (QFD) or quality function representation is a method of quality assurance. The aim of the method is to develop products that the customer really wants. The method was originally developed by the Japanese Yoji Akao.

As a method, QFD should help to convert market and customer requirements into technical characteristics in order to derive a product or service from them within the company. Customer requirements for products or services can be named by external as well as internal customers (production, assembly). The derived requirements must be taken into account in every area and every phase of service production.

The application of the QFD method is based on the following questions:

What is expected/demanded? (Demands?)
How? How do we meet the requirements (characteristics)?
How much? What value should the WIEs have? (Characteristic values?)
Why? How well do competitive products meet the WIEs?

The objective of QFD is to simplify the problematic translation of the “voice of the customer / Voice of Customer” into technical-constructive specifications and characteristics on the basis of early team-oriented cooperation between product planning / development, manufacturing and marketing / sales.

As a result, the QFD supports, among other things:

  • the customer orientation in product planning
  • the combination of different fields of knowledge, such as marketing & development
  • the structuring of complex interrelationships
  • the identification of interconnections and interrelationships
  • simulations and stability studies
  • the communication within the development team
  • the creation of a common and transparent
  • setting of objectives and definition of measures for action

Benefits of QFD:

  • Simultaneous task execution
  • Increase of internal communication
  • Increase in employee & customer satisfaction

Disadvantages of QFD:

  • vHigh effort
  • Long lead time until the first (countable) successes are achieved
  • Risk of confusion if the “House of Quality” is too large


Benchmarking is a frequently used method for the systematic comparison of products, services and processes within the company or with other companies. The aim is to sustainably secure or increase competitiveness.

Improvements can be achieved through comparisons. Benchmarking is based on a comparative evaluation of product features, organizational procedures, coses, manufacturing processes, etc. The aim is to find out design information, facts and figures, and to adopt the best approaches. Benchmarking means to locate hidden potentials in one’s own company. Making one’s own position in the competition transparent helps to reduce internal resistance against changes in one’s own company and to increase the motivation of the employees.

The benchmarking process can be divided into 5 phases:

Phase 1: Goal Setting

Phase 2: Internal analysis

Phase 3: Comparison

Phase 4: Information evaluation, action

Phase 5: Implementation

Types of benchmarking.

Internal benchmarking:

  • Comparison of companies that all belong to the same group. Related processes, e.g. customer service in different companies, are examined.

General benchmarking (external):

  • Comparison of business units and processes that have commonalities despite different industries.

Functional benchmarking (external):

  • Comparison between companies from different industries. However, the partner companies should have similar characteristics in terms of size of the company, form and structure.

Competitive benchmarking (external):

  • Comparison with the “best” in the industry or with the direct competitor. Fairness plays a major role in this form of benchmarking, as both companies want to benefit.

Benchmarking is a continuous process. Internal benchmarking takes place within a company. External benchmarking, on the other hand, is more difficult to implement.

Benchmarking results.

  • Information on the status and performance of competitors and the “best” in an industry.
  • Identifying performance levels that a company needs to achieve in order to compete. (Where & how big are the own deficits?)
  • Pointing out characteristics to reach such a performance level (learning from others)
  • Through continuous benchmarking, the company develops into a learning organization.

Weaknesses in connection with benchmarking are difficult to formulate. There are rather problems or obstacles to overcome, e.g. finding suitable partners or building trust to disclose internal data. However, the following problems can be formulated:

  • Internal BM: Limited perspective
  • External BM: Difficult data collection; Time-consuming analysis; Disclosure of information

Poka Yoke.

People working in an automated production process that requires strong concentration easily make mistakes. The systematized, repetitive activities tempt people to underestimate them. It becomes clear that forgetfulness and inattention are responsible for the majority of error types. This realization is the starting point for Poka Yoke, because no human being is capable of completely avoiding unintentional mistakes.

Poka Yoke is an error-oriented, simple technical aid that forces the correct insertion of a workpiece, e.g. by means of a device. The device can be designed in such a way that, for example, an asymmetrical part can only be inserted in one direction, i.e. Poka Yoke is design-related and prevents incorrect actions by the employees.

Types of Poka Yoke.

The check

Prior to the work process, the proper preparation of the process must be checked. When inserting a part, for example, a switch can confirm or signal the correct position of the workpiece

The monitoring

The process sequence must be constantly monitored. A sensor can, for example, count the correct number of holes in a drill plate and issue a warning signal (signal tone, signal lamp) in the event of non-compliance.

The self-examination

After the operation, the worker checks that his work is free of defects. This can be done, for example, using a template.

Examples of Poka Yoke.

Hard Poka Yoke: avoid mistake or mishandle

  • Form fit
  • Sizes
  • Tape stop
  • Same material
  • In-process testing with shutdown

Soft Poka Yoke: Detect mistake or wrong action

  • Colors
  • Checklists
  • Lights
  • Horns, buzzers
  • Notes

Poka Yoke is a simple method based mainly on mechanical conditions. The main advantage of Poka Yoke is the shortening of the quality control loop. Incorrect actions are detected at an early stage, so that defects do not occur in the first place. This keeps quality costs low. The disadvantage is its limited applicability.

Current topics around quality management, digitalisation and mobile checklists.

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