July 22, 2010

Operations Management Lesson 4 Exercise


For a product or service of your own choice, complete a QFD matrix that relates customer requirements to design characteristics. Justify your entry.

The Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is one of the best known techniques that can be employed in order to evaluate and improve the preliminary design and is typically used in design evaluation and improvement stage of design activity (Slack et al. 2006). In this exercise I will be using QFD to evaluate the design of Nikon camera D5000 released in April 2009.

Nikon D5000 Digital SLR Camera with Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm lens

1. WHATS – definition & score of key customer requirements

Slack et al. (2006) defines the key customer needs as WHATS. These represent the product essentials customer is looking for and values the most.

When we scan camera customer groups it becomes obvious that different customers buy cameras for different purposes. While some are looking for small, inexpensive, easy to use and simple cameras producing quality pictures from holiday, others have requirements of professional photographers with number of special features always looking for best quality pictures and they are willing to spend more money.

D5000 is aimed for customers of the second group. General customer ratings of cameras are mostly emphasizing strengths in photo quality, number of innovative features included, clarity and ease of use, performance of in-camera features, value for money, battery capacity, size and weight of the camera and also the overall look and design.

Customer requirements

Score (scale of 10)

Photo quality


Ease of use


Innovative features






Battery life






2. Score vs competition

Nikon D5000 can be compared to Canon cameras of similar range – Canon EOS Rebel T1i and Canon EOS Rebel XSi. Other camera producers do not compete in this range of camera products.

On the scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the minimum and 5 being the maximum score, facts and customer ratings are resulting in the following picture:

Customer requirements






Photo quality


Ease of use


Innovative features






Battery life






3. HOWS – definition and relationship to WHATS

In listing the “HOWS” I am referring to concrete product dimensions with correlation to WHATS. This list boils down to parameters or items which are in weak to strong relationship to WHATS (Slack et al. 2006).




Level of details an image on digital camera holds is directly affecting quality of pictures. D5000 features 12.3 effective megapixel sensor offering high photo quality.


Sensitivity of digital imaging system also directly impacts the photo quality. The higher the ISO the lower the picture quality. ISO of D5000 offers 200 – 3200 range, which is comfortable range for high quality photos. ISO also influences performance as it determines the length of exposure.


Lens directly affects quality of the picture, but it also has a relationship to ease of use and portability. D5000 features standard 18-55mm lens, which is sufficient for portraits, regular full figure pictures, however more demanding photographers have a desire for different lens range which requires changing lenses or investing. This further affects the portability as it is not convenient to carry around several lenses which are typically rather heavy.


Digital single-lens reflex system allows the user to see how the picture will look like (much closer to final picture unlike with regular cameras). This feature, included in D5000, helps the quality of the picture and eases the use. It can surely be considered as an innovative feature and it influences design as it dictates the need for display (in case of D5000 it is a flip-down rotating 2.7” LCD). Apparently it also influences performance perception, as the live view in D5000 is rather slow.

HD video

An innovative feature on a camera which absorbs more battery energy.

Operating system/software

Links directly to ease of use, influences quality of photo and helps to improve the performance. D5000 contains fun-in camera retouching features allowing some minor image manipulation which is normally done with SW on PC. Therefore I can see weak correlation to innovative features.


Camera case is relevant for product design and portability. D5000 is viewed positively for its compact body.


Battery quality affects battery life and performance of the camera.

In all HOWS I have identified correlation to price. In optical and technological features I see strong correlation to price, while operating system/software, case and battery represent medium correlation.

4. Technical evaluation

Technical evaluation is carried out by scoring technical qualities of HOWS on the scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best). The scores are representing user’s perception of the quality based on available technical parameters and their comparison to general standards.

5. HOWS to HOWS correlation

Comparison of HOWS to HOWS (Slack et al. 2006) is used for comparisons of interrelationships of product features. In case of D5000 this comparison shows that all the optical & digital features correlates to each other strongly positively or positively, while most of them would have strongly negative relationship to battery. In some instances there would be strongly negative correlation between features and case (e.g. lens and case – the quality and mechanism of the lens requires certain size and has been manufactured in standardized way, while there would always be a tendency to decrease the size of the case).

5. Conclusion

Applying the QFD matrix, as summarized in Figure 1 below, on Nikon camera D5000 SLR shows that product’s HOWS have mostly strong relationship to WHATS, which indicates that product features are addressing the customer requirements. Interrelation of HOWS represents a typical struggle of all the technological gadgets – delivering highly advanced technology product in a smallest possible format with energy that sustains for the longest duration at improved prices.

D5000 is comparing to competition rather successfully with positive technical evaluation. Result of the QFD matrix analysis is in line with customer ratings and overall success of the product.

Figure 1. QFD matrix of Nikon D5000


Canon [Online] (http://www.canon.com/) (Accessed 22 July 2010)

Nikon [Online] (http://www.nikon.com/) (Accessed 22 July 2010)

Nikon D5000 [Online]

(http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=d5000+nikon&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=8808454403248695864&ei=XtZHTOjwAYz80wTFrsW-BA&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ8wIwAA#) (Accessed 22 July 2010)

Slack, N., Chambers, S., Johnston, R., and Betts, A. (2006). Operations Process Management. London: FT Prentice Hall

Walley, P. (2010). Operations Management. Coventry: Warwick Business School

- 3 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Roger Wynne


    A very good entry indeed, taking the reader through the whole process of QFD.

    Demonstrates thorough understanding through a good choice of product.

    Note spelling of Walley – not Waley

    25 Jul 2010, 10:23

  2. Beata,

    You’re referencing slack for definitions of Whats and Hows and other aspect of the QFD. which I can’t find in the book.
    There is an illustration of the QFD matrix in page 192, but not a thorough a description or definition. Am I missing something?

    31 Jul 2010, 11:14

  3. Beata

    Hi Mohamed, I worked the definitions out from the case description and illustration on page 192 in the book. But of course the papers with further description helped as well.

    09 Aug 2010, 21:05

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  • Hi Mohamed, I worked the definitions out from the case description and illustration on page 192 in t… by Beata on this entry
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