Choosing a QFD consultant, facilitator, or trainer

Choosing a consultant or trainer is non-trivial. Their advice and experience should make QFD fit easily into your company, resulting in better products and at the same time improving your product development process.

QFD is a highly adaptive method that inserts a sequence of tools and methods into your product development process. The #1 wish of many practitioners is for an efficient process that gives the most value for the effort they make.

To accomplish this, your QFD should be tailored to the specific realities of your company, customers, competitors, technology, and products. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach that works for everyone. QFDI certified QFD Master Black Belts® are specially trained to custom tailor the approach that best fits your company.

Select 2-3 of the following criteria that most impact your selection of a consultant or trainer. Or scroll down and view them all. Mazur welcomes comparisons to other consulting and training programs.  CAUTIONS!

Expertise Experience Availability
Trained by whom? Years of QFD experience Variety of courses and durations
Related methods # Industries worked in Frequency of courses
Awards/certificates Technical experience Response time to questions
QFD publications Marketing experience Up-to-Date
Conferences presented at Adult teaching experience Geographic location
Citations by others Translating experience Dedication to QFD
QFD community involvement Train the trainer  

CAUTION: Avoid consultants who....


  1. Trained by whom? Dr. Deming, the father of modern quality advised to "learn from the masters." Mazur studied with Shigeru Mizuno and Yoji Akao, the co-founders of QFD, as well as with their most senior disciples, Tadashi Ohfuji, Terumichi Ono, Hisakazu Shindo, Noriharu Kaneko, Akashi Fukuhara, and Satoshi Nakui.  In 1998, Yoji Akao awarded Mazur the Akao Prize® and in 2000, certified him at the highest level of mastery, the QFD Red Belt®. Certificates.
  2. Related methods. Mazur studied TQM with Dr. Deming, Value Engineering with Thomas Snodgrass who succeeded Larry Miles the founder of VE, AHP with Tom Saaty its creator, Kansei Engineering with Mituo Nagamachi its creator, Hoshin with Yoji Akao, Kaoru Shimoyamada, Kozo Koura, and Hisashi Takasu - all thought leaders, SPC with Jack ReVelle (chief statistician with Hughes Aircraft), TRIZ with Boris Zlotin and Alla Zusman, and new product development with C. Merle Crawford. Certificates.
  3. # Awards/certificates. Course Certificates. Awards and Appreciations.
  4. # QFD publications. Publications are one indicator of the amount of research being conducted, as well as acceptance by conferences, journals, and publishers. Mazur has published more than 70 papers, monographs, books, and book chapters, including all editions of the QFD Green Belt® and QFD Black Belt® training manuals. Publications and Case Studies.
  5. # Conferences presented at. Conference presentations are another indicator of the depth of research and peer acceptance of one's work. Mazur has made more than 120 public conference presentations and courses, not counting in-house tailored courses.
  6. # Citations by other researchers is an indication of how well the consultant's work is admired and referenced by other experts in the field. A partial list of citations.
  7. QFD community involvement shows a commitment to continuous improvement of the method. Mazur is volunteer Executive Director of the QFD Institute and International Council for QFD, Conference Chair for North American QFD Symposia, Member of Scientific boards for International Symposia on QFD. Mazur is a Senior Member of the American Society of Quality and the Japanese Society for Quality Control.


  1. Years of QFD experience? Since 1985, Mazur trained, taught, and consulted over 100 times beside every Japanese QFD guru, including Professors Shigeru Mizuno and Yoji Akao (co-founders), Tadashi Ohfuji, Terumichi Ono, Hisakazu Shindo, Noriharu Kaneko, Akashi Fukuhara, and Satoshi Nakui. Further, he and his staff have translated every major book, case study, and article on QFD written in Japanese. Enjoy my QFD Photo gallery, including karaoke with Dr. Akao!
  2. # Industries worked in. A common reason for implementing Quality Function Deployment is to develop the next generation product or some disruptive technological advance. Be careful with consultants within your industry as they may be part of the old system you are trying to challenge, and may not be able to get you to think outside the "box." Mazur has consulted over 135 companies in 12 industry sectors. Client List.
  3. Technical experience. Most projects involve some degree of technical experience, if not in that industry, at least some general technical competence. Mazur grew up in the automotive parts industry and began disassembling and rebuilding engines and electrical parts as early as 10 years old. He also taught at the University of Michigan College of Engineering from 1993-2003.
  4. Marketing experience. Quality Function Deployment is commonly used to interface marketing and technical operations, so a consultant/facilitator must be comfortable with both sides. Mazur spent 7 years in business-to-business sales, and earned in MBA at the University of Michigan with a major in marketing, concentrating in new product development.
  5. Adult teaching experience. We have all had the unfortunate experience of smart but boring professors. Teaching professional adults requires superior communication skills above and beyond the subject matter expertise. Mazur taught in Japan for over three years and at the University of Michigan College of Engineering for ten years. He has been lecturing on Quality Function Deployment since 1990. Student testimonials. Courses taught. Course photos.
  6. Translating Experience. We sometimes joke that customers seem to be speaking a different language than engineers. There is some truth to this. Foreign language translation experience provides a sound basis for appreciating  the nuances of words, the impact of situations, and the value of body language in understanding unspoken customer needs, wishes, and wants; and then translating them into the technical language of the business. Mazur studied four years of French, and earned his BA in Japanese and linguistics at the University of Michigan. He has worked as a professional Japanese translator and interpreter since 1982, concentrating in Quality Function Deployment and related quality methods.
  7. Train the trainer. Teaching others to teach is a critical part of installing a QFD system into a company that wants internal capabilities and a sustainable effort. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life" is indeed true. It is not enough to have the consultant do the work for you. You need to understand what is being done, and you must be able to sustain the effort over time. Your customers deserve that. In 2000, Yoji Akao, one of the cofounders of Quality Function Deployment, authorized Mazur to develop advanced, up-to-date training programs for both practitioners and experts. The QFD Black Belt® program includes a train-the-trainer component for this purpose.


  1. Variety of courses and durations.  In these days of "right sizing," marketing and technical staff are stressed to limit and look suspiciously at any new initiative. Top management support is essential. Mazur offers a variety of courses that build on each other, are custom tailored to your organization, and can be implemented at a pace and a degree that makes sense.
  2. Frequency of courses. In-house training is arranged in short modules and can be scheduled at the convenience of the client. Public QFD Green Belt® and QFD Black Belt® courses are offered through the QFD Institute which maintains a schedule of these events.
  3. Response time to questions. The learning curve for any methodology can be steep. This is compounded in QFD because we are focusing on your new products, the future revenue stream of your company. Failure and delay are not options. Thus, rapid response technical support is a must. Mazur offers several layers of technical support, both free and for fee. Pre-paid support response times are typically the same day or within one business day, and are conducted primarily by email, telephone, or fax. On-site support can be arranged. Non-Disclosure Agreements are encouraged.
  4. Up-to-Date. Keeping up with current best practice is a full time job. As Executive Director of the QFD Institute and the International Council for QFD, Mazur is involved with every QFD and related conference in the world. As a member of the Scientific Boards, he uses this opportunity to review new QFD research and practice around the world.
  5. Geographic location. Mazur is located in Ann Arbor Michigan, near Northwest Airline's Detroit hub, making for one flight to most US cities and no more than two flights to anywhere in the world.
  6. Dedication to QFD. 100% of Mazur's time is spent in QFD, whether in companies, universities, conferences, researching, or writing.

CAUTION: Avoid consultants who....

  • Avoid consultants who equate QFD to the House of Quality. Yoji Akao has repeatedly warned that the House of Quality matrix is not Quality Function Deployment; it is only one instance of one tool used sometimes. Rather, QFD is an analysis that must traverse the company end-to-end for the customer to see any benefit. The House of Quality is only one junction - a transformation from customer needs to functional requirements. It is usually preceded and followed by additional tools and analyses.
  • Avoid consultants who refer to 4-Phase, 4-Matrix, or 4-House QFD. This model was extracted in 1983 from a reliability study done on a copy machine component causing a paper feed problem. It is applicable to projects solving known problems in existing components being built to print. It is less suitable for new products, system or end product design, or non-assembled products, such as food, chemicals, services, or software. It is widely disseminated by those with limited QFD skills because it is easy to explain and simplistic in appearance, which is also its principal limitation. Early proponents of this model commonly referred to it as "Kindergarten QFD." A related error is to name matrix axis labels as "what" and "how."

    There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach that works for everyone, so Quality Function Deployment must be tailored to the specific realities of your company, customers, competitors, technology, and products. QFD Institute certified QFD Master Black Belts® are specially trained to custom tailor the process to best fit your company.
  • Avoid consultants who have the team throw away customer verbatims and only present a partial set for customers to sort. Verbatims must be translated into customer needs and only customers can determine what is or is not important.
  • Avoid consultants who use ordinal scale math in their matrix equations. Ordinal scales include customer and competitor ratings using 1-5, 1-10, or 100 point scales, relationship values using 1, 3, 9 or 1, 2, 4, etc. Equations based on ordinal scales yield meaningless results. Click here to learn more....