Motivation: Most of the Production and transactional problems are not due to ongoing operations, but due to poor product or process design. Ideal product or process design is another reason for the product or process failure in operations as it would fail to qualify against the tough product use environment. Hence product or process design must take cognizance of tough product or process use environment for robustification. Regular problem solving approach like Six Sigma, 8-D, classical approaches do not have enough strength to attack Design and Development problems. Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is an approach which assembles host of design tools and methods to systematically convert ideas to good product or process design. ECTQ Dashboard, QFD, Design scorecard, DFX, TRIZ, Pugh matrix, Simulation, Taguchi Methods are some of the design tools or methods. Due to multiple design approaches, it is very important to define the basic design process itself and the application of DFSS in this overall process.

What is DFSS? DFSS is a systematic methodology (including training, tools, measurements…) which enables the design of products and processes that meet customer expectations (CTQ’s) to a 6sigma level. Customer expectations need to be considered and met over time including the entire period of Product use, upgrade, retirement and disposal. Reliability is the ability to meet customer expectations over time in real world operating conditions. It is integral to the design.

Are we talking about only Product Design? DFSS may apparently look like to include the scope of the product design. In generic terms services also are thought as products. DFSS approach can be taken to product design, service design, system design, process design, software design and competence design.

Who benefits from DFSS? Customer is central to DFSS approach. Problems faced by other stakeholders such as profitability problem to the owner, manufacturability problem by the producers, transportability problems by the Supply Chain problems, sourcability problems by the Materials and Purchase professionals, competency of manpower to produce the products and most importantly intellectual property right problems by designers can’t be ignored. At times these problems are as serious as customer problems. All these issues are applicable to Softwares too albeit in a slightly different form. DFSS approach talks about understanding and consolidating the composite requirements of all the stakeholders and finely balancing them keeping customer requirements as central theme and translating the composite requirements to the design.

What approach of DFSS is most suited? Many approaches of DFSS have been evolved over years. Out of them D M A D V approach is most popular. The approach talks about Define the composite requirements of the stakeholders before design and development, Measure the Design internal requirements in terms using QFD based on usually a known outfit, Analyze the design internal requirements of the known outfit and change to suit to the new requirements to suit to the composite requirements, Design a prototype to include the new design internal requirements, Validate if the produced design meet with the defined composite requirements from the birth reliably.