The DFSS Process - Six Sigma

Design for Six Sigma is not meant to replace the existing New Product Introduction (NPI) process, it is meant to support that process by ensuring the same focus on process, variation and customer as is evident in standard Six Sigma.

The DFSS methodology begins by finding and analyzing the gaps in processes that are negatively affecting new product performance. It also focuses on customer response to the product. Once this has been completed the project to tackle the problems can be established.

The process for solving problems is called DMADV i.e. Deane, Measure, Analyse, Design and Verify or sometimes it is called PIDOV i.e. Plan, Identify, Design, Optimise and Validate.

Essentially these are approaches to designing products, services and processes to reduce delivery time and development costs, increase effectiveness and better satisfy customers. The basic procedure is outlined as follows:

  • Capture customer requirements;
  • Analyse and priorities requirements;
  • Develop design;
  • Flow down requirements from the system level to sub - systems, components and processes;
  • Track the product capability at each step;
  • Highlight any gaps between requirements and capabilities and make these actionable; and
  • Establish a control plan.

The two methodologies mentioned above have the same objectives and are both rigorous in nature; their only real difference is in terminology. Most industrial organisations will have some version of this process and this is usually known as the New Product Introduction Process (NPI).


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