Since the launch of Bitrode Corporation’s Digital Cell Cycler, the BTDCTM, at The Battery Show in Stuttgart, Germany, in May of this year, customer response has been positive as evidenced by the flurry of quotes and orders. The overarching message for Bitrode was that they did a good job of listening to their customers’ needs for a next generation cell cycler. The tool used by Bitrode – Member of the Schuler Group – to capture that voice of the customer was Quality Function Deployment (QFD), sometimes known as the “house of quality.” This reliable tool has been successfully used across many industries for many decades. And although variants have been developed, the team at Bitrode decided to use the traditional model. “I first learned about QFD as a quality engineer at Texas Instruments where I was tasked with using QFD to help launch new products,” explained Cyril Narishkin, Bitrode’s CEO. “QFD worked then, and it works now.”
QFD enabled Bitrode’s New Product Development Team to work closely with sales and customers to map out how the main requirements of laboratory customers for high-performance cell testing could be addressed. “QFD allowed us to translate the voice of customer, gathered over many meetings with key customers, into specifications we needed to meet in an organized and disciplined way,” explained Nima Lotfi PhD, Director of New Product Development at Bitrode. “QFD ensures that you capture all requirements and then helps the team rank them against specifications to visualize how well you are meeting the voice of the customer.”
The intense and systematic application of QFD resulted in the world class specifications that the BTDCTM meets – from high circuit density to fast rise times and high voltage and current accuracy, including such features as regenerative capability and incorporating an innovative, modular design. And the journey of incorporating the voice of the customer is not over. Since the launch, Bitrode has already been able to reduce the price of the BTDCTM, increase circuit density to 28 circuits of 300 amps continuous current in a 24”-wide cabinet, add a 150% / 30 second pulse option, and there is more to come. For more details on the BTDCTM visit the Bitrode Web site.
If you are interested in utilizing QFD for your product launches, there are several consulting firms available to assist. One trusted resource is the American Society for Quality (ASQ).