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What is DFSS?

Aug 17, 2007
People often get confused when they hear someone say they are using Six Sigma. In fact, it is the methodology signified by DMAIC that they are referring to. The very reason for their choosing DMAIC is that they have some existing processes which need to be ratified because they are bleeding resources heavily. On the other hand, DFSS, the acronym for Design for Six Sigma, dwells on R & D and design of products, processes with a view to minimizing process defects and variations at the root itself. At the onset, one must accept that the credentials of DFSS are not universally acknowledged, with most of the companies deploying DFSS following their own steps and standards.

Is DFSS A Stand Alone Methodology?

This question has arisen following many differences in the deployment methodologies between Six Sigma, which is signified by DMAIC, and that of DFSS. However, DFSS can be called more as an approach owing to the fact that the version of implementation varies as the implementing team.

The actual application necessity of DFSS comes up when it is necessary to design or redesign a product from scratch. And since DFSS gets to the business from the beginning, the expectation from it is at a level commensurate with its reputation. Thus the expected process Sigma level is at least 4.5 for a DFSS service or product, but depending on the product, you can always go for higher or up to 6 Sigma level. Producing such a high quality level with a markedly low defect level for service or product from ground up is not possible unless customer needs and expectations are completely understood prior to designing and implementation.

Number Of Phases In DFSS Implementation

Of the several implementation procedures, as we discussed in the beginning of this article, the one which found most followers is DMADV. The acronym DMADV stands for its five phases of implementation.

1. Define the goals of project and customer needs
2. Measure different aspects of customer specifications and demands
3. Analyze the options on hand for process to meet customer demands
4. Design the process in detail to eliminate defect causing flaws
5. Verify the design by simulating performance and confirm if it meets customer specifications

Designing For Six Sigma

When we are starting from the beginning, unlike DMAIC, DFSS provides for building such process components which resist the defect causing variations. Planning for DFSS calls for gathering all necessary information that sets off defect free products by error free productions and processes. By these virtues DFSS can produce competitive results in financial benefits as would DMAIC have done or better like it had done in the implementations so far.

Implementation Of DFSS

Unlike Six Sigma methodology, DFSS needs to be implemented from a very early stage for effective implementation. And the implementation strategy requires the crucial commitment and leadership, the training and planning to identify and establish measurable program goals and timeline and involvement of all that concerned.

The fruits of Six Sigma are hard to measure as they are more of long time nature. But it is worth the wait considering the eventual ROI.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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