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QFD in large‐scale social system redesign

Robert M. Gerst (Converge Consulting Group Inc., Calgary, Canada)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the application and usefulness of quality function deployment (QFD) in large‐scale system redesign, such as the system of social services serving a large urban municipality. Over the past ten years, the author has experimented in applying QFD to the problem of large‐scale social system redesign. With each application, lessons have been learned that have increased the usefulness of the technique. The paper concludes with a case study detailing the most recent application of QFD in the redesign of services to the deaf and hard of hearing to highlight the how the technique is currently being applied. Traditional tools and approaches used to support large‐scale system redesign, such as program evaluation, become stretched beyond their capacity when applied to complex systems. QFD has proved itself capable of handling this complexity, effectively supporting the redesign of these complex systems. It has further demonstrated its usefulness as a framework within which traditional tools may regain their relevance. Governments, social agencies, not for profit agencies, like other organizations, are all seeking to do more with less. Recently, these efforts have emphasized taking a systemic approach – moving away from the evaluation of a single agency or program to evaluating how the combination of agencies and programs (the system) work together to achieve social outcomes. The ability of QFD to handle the complexity of such a task makes it the ideal approach to addressing these types of problems. The application of QFD to the redesign of complex social systems indicates it may prove equally useful to applications in related fields including organizational design and community planning.



Gerst, R.M. (2004), "QFD in large‐scale social system redesign", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 21 No. 9, pp. 959-972.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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