Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

Although the DMAIC methodology works well for continuous improvement of manufacturing and transactional processes, it does not explicitly deal with the design of a new product or service or the redesign of an existing product or process.

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is a Six Sigma methodology for design or redesign. The primary methodologies used in DFSS are IDOV (Identify, Design, Optimize, Validate), DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Validate), and DMADOV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Optimize, Validate).

Although there is much overlap between the DMAIC and DFSS methodologies, DFSS also makes extensive use of such tools as: Voice of the Customer (VOC); Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to translate the VOC into a valid design; Pugh Selection Matrix to select the best from competing designs; Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA); Design to target cost (DTC) and/or Activity Based Costing (ABC) to determine that the design has an acceptable return on investment (ROI); Monte Carlo simulation; accelerated life testing (ALT) to determine the reliability of the design; and Anticipatory Failure Determination (AFD) and FMEA to detect and eliminate potential failures in the new product.

Although the DMAIC and DFSS methodologies may appear separate they are actually linked and can be used in conjunction with one another. Perhaps the easiest way to see the connection is to think in terms of single and double loop learning made famous by Chris Argyris (“Flawed Advice and the Management Trap”). The DMAIC process constitutes single loop learning where the fundamental process is not changed and fundamental assumptions are not questioned, rather the goal is to continuously improve the process or product as it currently exists. If one finds that the current process cannot be sufficiently improved, then the project can jump out of the DMAIC loop and initiate the DFSS loop. The DFSS loop constitutes double loop learning in that the fundamental process or product is to be changed and the assumptions are to be challenged. Also, the DMAIC process is an effective method to be used to implement the new design originating in the DFSS methodology.


NHG also provides support and services in the following areas:

Lean Six Sigma Implementation and Deployment
Lean Six Sigma Champion, Blackbelt, and Greenbelt Training
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
Design of Experiments (DOE)
Robust Design
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA, Gage R&R)
Process Stabilization and Control
Continuous Improvement and Problem Solving
Data Mining


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