Critical to Quality (CTQ) is in the Six Sigma DNA

Critical to Quality, or CTQ, is a very important tool when designing a new product or service for your business. CTQs are the measurable data that is needed on a product or service that your customers have specified as being a very important requirement.

The reason for this? CTQs will dictate the processes involved, the risks, and just about everything that goes into the designing and manufacturing of the product or creating the service.

The need to establish CTQs is at the core of why you are in business. In other words, it is extremely important. This information will make sure your business will stay at the top, because what your customer deems as important key requirements are being met.

One tool that is crucial in defining the CTQs that are important is the QFD (Quality Function Deployment). This tool is a template that helps prioritize the processes of the product or service to best meet the customer’s needs.

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Basic Steps Needed in CTQ 

  1. Identify who your customers are
  2. Collect VOC (Voice of the Customer) data
  3. Analyze the VOC data that you collected
  4. Create a list of CTQ requirements
  5. Pick one CTQ requirement and make a CTQ tree for that particular one

Critical to Quality (CTQ) Tree

A Critical to Quality Tree (also known as a CTQ Tree) is a Six Sigma tool used to identify the needs of the customer and translate that information into measurable product and process requirements. It allows organizations to understand the characteristics of a product or service that most drives quality for customers.

Creating a CTQ Tree determines the drivers behind those characteristics and helps companies find ways to meet them.

3 Components of a CTQ Tree

1. Need – What customer need are you fulfilling with your product or service?

2. Drivers – What elements or characteristics will your customers mostly likely consider when judging the quality of your product or service?

3. Requirements – What process or product requirements are needed to make those drivers meet customer standards?

Steps to Create a CTQ Tree

1. Determine the Need

It may be helpful to ask customers directly or consult with customer service representatives or salespeople who frequently interact with customers

2. Determine at least three drivers

These are the elements that drive quality for customers who have the need you want to satisfy. Keep in mind that these are elements that must be present to satisfy customers.

3. Create the requirements

These are the standards that must be met to meet customers’ expectations for each driver.

Remember that collecting more data will make this process more valuable, mainly because you will be able to predict risks and other factors with accuracy and be able to address them.

We can’t stress the importance to customer satisfaction enough — this at the very core of the Six Sigma philosophy.

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