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Archive for November 6th, 2006

Attractive Quality Creation

Posted by smeding on 6 November, 2006

Dr. Kano
Business Management and Change of Quality as Competitive Advantage

Osaka 06-11-2006
See “Profile of Dr. Kano” for his background and activities.
Below a short summary of the lecture, covering the following subjects;

  • Business Environment, strategy and the role of TQM;
  • Three levels of Quality as competitive advantage;
  • Attractive Quality versus Must-be Quality;
  • Life cycle of Quality;

There in basic three different strategies in relation to quality;

  • Maintain and improve the quality of existing products, services, etc. ===> Improvement;
  • Downsize the existing products, service, etc. ===> Breakthrough;
  • Upsizing ===> Creation.

In this lecture the focus was on creation.

What is Quality?
The Japanese sign for quality consists of two equal sign on top with a kind of ladder below it.The two equal signs representing two axes; in ancient history a unit of weight.
The ladder is representing a shell; in ancient history a payment item.
So quality means to balance with something, or your activities concerning quality should be in balance with the costs.

Development of quality
~1950’s; Quality control, conformance to customer’s basic requirements
~1970’s; Quality Management, customer satisfaction with customer’s expressed requirements
Today; Attractive Quality Creation, customer delight with unexpected new quality achieved by meeting customer’s latent requirements.
(AQC includes Quality Control and Quality Management)
Satisfying customer’s requirement isn’t enough anymore, because;

  • Mature products are very similar to each other;
  • It’s difficult to distinguish products from each other;
  • Manufacturers conducts market surveys of the same market segments;
  • Every manufacturer has advanced input of customer requirements to design product specs.

Try this exercise;
Remember one item which you most carefully selected among the items which you purchased for your personal use the last year. (no company related products)
How did you select the item?

A) I had no difficulty selecting the item because there existed no competitive items;
Among several competitive items, I could immediately decide the one;
Among several competitive items, I had difficulty selecting the one because every item looked to fit my requirements;

The theory of attractive quality explains how the relationship between the degree of sufficiency and customer satisfaction with a quality attribute can be classified into four categories of perceived quality:

1) indifferent quality.
2) Attractive quality;
3) onedimensional quality;
4) must-be quality;

Quality is in a Life Cycle, it start with indifferent, to attractive, to one dimensional, to must-be.
Attractive Quality Creation can bring a must-be product back to an attractive product.
AQC is discovering the latent customer needs.

The Konica case is a good example of AQC;
In the beginning 1970’s Konica had a strong downtrend in the sales of their camera’s.
Despite an extensive market survey for the customer requirement concerning camera’s, they could not get the hands on the problem.
When they decided to do a survey on photo making, and evaluated thousands of photo’s which were developed in one of the own film plants,
they discovered that a lot of photo’s were under exposed or had a bad focus.
Asking the customers how this happened, they explained that they often forgot to take the separate flashlight with them or forgot to manually focus.
So by looking to the process of photo making, they discovered oppertuneties, the latent customer requirement of having a simple camera, Konica developed an inbuilt flash and an autofocus.
This brought them back to the top of camera producers.


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