Innovation And Design For Six Sigma (DFSS)

Innovation and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is a separate and emerging discipline related to Six Sigma quality processes. The tools and order used in Six Sigma require a process to be in place and functioning. DFSS has a different objective, that of determining the needs of customers and the business, and driving those needs into the product solution created. Design for Six Sigma is relevant to the complex system/product synthesis phase, especially in the context of unprecedented system development.

The major cause for new offering failures and their percentage occurrences, according to Greg (2003), are:

  • Inadequate market analysis – 24%;
  • Product problems or defects – 16%;
  • Lack of effective marketing effort – 14%;
  • Higher costs than anticipated – 10%;
  • Competitive strength or reaction – 9%;
  • Poor timing of introduction – 8%; and
  • Technical or production problems – 6%.

Greg (2003, p5) defines Design for Six Sigma as “a systematic methodology using tools, training, and measurement to enable the design of products, services, and processes that meet customer expectation at Six Sigma quality levels. Innovation and design for six sigma optimizes the design process to achieve Six Sigma performance and integrates characteristics of Six Sigma at the outset of new offering development with a disciplined set of tools [and stage gate reviews]”. Amongst others, Greg (2003) list the following benefits of using DFSS:

  • Provide a structure for managing development projects;
  • Add value and improve customer satisfaction; Anticipate failures and avoid them;
  • Minimise design changes;
  • Reduce development cycle times; Reduce life cycle costs;
  • Reduce manufacturing cycle times and time to market;
  • Improve product quality, reliability, and durability;
  • Improve communication among functions, particularly sales and marketing, product development, and manufacturing; and
  • Reduce costs of after sale service and support.

Although several DFSS roadmaps exist, Perry & Bacon (2006) sight DMADV as the more commonly used. The five steps and outputs are as follows:

Define: determine the project goals and the requirements of customers (internal and external);

Measure: assess customer needs and specifications;

Analyse: examine the process to meet the customer value requirements;

Design: develop the process to meet the customer value requirements; and

Verify: check the design to ensure that it’s meeting customer value requirements.

Innovation and design for six sigma contains a great deal more tools but is also more flexible in its application of those tools than Six Sigma for improvement. The reason being that circumstances vary across companies. As with Six Sigma for improvement, DFSS takes its lead from its customer’s known (or not yet known) needs and should be lead by marketing. From this perspective the stage gate reviews for DFSS are as follows (Perry, et al, 2006):

Stage Gate 1: Opportunity assessment;

Stage Gate 2: Market analysis and product definition;

Stage Gate 3: New offering concept finalisation;

Stage Gate 4: Design of new offering and supporting manufacturing / operational process;

Stage Gate 5: Validate product and process design; and

Stage Gate 6: Product launch plan and project port mortem analysis.

Innovation and Design for Six Sigma for New Offer Introduction

Innovation and design for six sigma is a systematic methodology for designing or redesigning a companies offering in line with requirements from the customer.

Innovation and design for six sigma is a documented, widely understood and structured new offering development methodology. It encompasses most of the Six Sigma DMAIC tools and adds many of its own. Although DFSS follows a set roadmap, it is more forgiving than DMAIC not requiring the project leader (or belt) to each each and every tool. Merely the once that suite the situation.

Innovation and design for six sigma is build on the idea that when one designs in SIx Sigma quality into an offering, in accordance with the 'voice of the customer', the probability of success is greatly enhanced.

Although several alternate process steps may be offered for DFSS, the one that seems to stick is - Define, Measure, Analyses, Design and Verify (DMADV). As with DMAIC a project follows these stages and at the end of each a stage gate review takes place.