DFSS, which stands for Design for Six Sigma, is an approach to design or redesign new products and services from scratch.
When you consider defects that can be allowed – 3.5 defects per million for Six Sigma projects- using DFSS a level of 4.5 defects per million or 1 per thousand opportunities is allowed. This is because you will be building new products based on customer specifications.
It is important that customer needs and expectations are understood before designing the product. The DFSS approach is to design products that will be highly resistant to variations in the manufacturing process.
If voice of customer (VOC) were understood, you would be able to understand the real needs of the customer. An attempt is made to predict how any given design will match customer requirements. These specifications are translated into vital technical characteristics of the product, and thus into CTQ of the product or service.
DOE can also be used to assess and optimize the efficiency of the product and reduce defects.
Phases of DFSS Implementation
DFSS does not have any specific methodology or procedures. Different implementation methods are used depending on the needs of the project.
The methodologies and approaches of DMADV, IDOV, DCCDI, and DMEDI are the typical flavors favored for DFSS projects. All of these are similar and achieve the expected targeted product design.
The most popular among these is the DMADV methodology. The five phases of implementation are:
- Defining the project goals as well as customer needs.
- Measuring aspects of customer’s requirements. This requires that valid metrics be established, which would enable teams to monitor the project’s progress.
- This input can be utilized to prioritize and determine potential ways that the process could go wrong. This helps teams to take preemptive action to reduce chances of such failures.
- Analyzing options available to meet customer’s demands. It comes only after the team determines the causes of problems so that improvements can be made to reduce or eliminate the gap between existing performance and the desired levels.
- It also involves understanding key areas that cause variations. FMEA and AFD are useful to understand risks or failures that may possibly render the design ineffective.
- Designing a new process to eliminate defects, taking into consideration customer’s specifications.
- Using real data received from analysis phase, competent processes can be built to meet the requirements.
- Verifying design to stimulate performance to match with customers’ specifications.
- Design reviews, peer reviews, simulation, testing and so on can be used to test the design for its utility, as well as to ensure that customer’s requirements are met.
The benefits of design for six sigma training are long-term and may be seen after a period of six months or so. The return on investment is substantial and targets are achieved with stringent controls. DFSS brings about a fundamental change in the way products and processes are undertaken in the organization.