Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

By | July 25, 2018

What is Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)?

  1. Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) approach determines the needs of the customers and business; and drive those needs into the product, process, or service solution.
  2. Traditional Six Sigma DMAIC seeks continuous improvement of a process that already exists. DFSS helps in getting things right, the first time.
  3. Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) aims to create a process with the “end” in mind. It strives to optimally build the efficiencies of Six Sigma methodology with a measurably high process-sigma into the process before implementation.
  4. Implementation of DFSS provides confidence that the business has made active effort to understand the customer needs while planning and creating the product or service rather than reacting to customer complaint and issues.
  5. Design for Six Sigma offers two approaches under its umbrella – DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Validate) and IDOV (Identify, Design, Optimize, Validate).

DFSS Approach to Problem Solving

  1. Define – Define the customer requirements
  2. Measure – Understand how to measure the customer requirements
  3. Analyze – Meet the customer requirements, and forecast possible variability
  4. Design – Integrate key findings of Analyze to building of product or service
  5. Validate – Test run of the product or service to understand the real-time performance of the process or product

The complexity of these stages means a DFSS project on an average runs much longer than a DMAIC project.

DMAIC Approach to Problem Solving

  1. Define – Define the problem
  2. Measure – Measure the problem
  3. Analyze – Analyze the root cause and variations
  4. Improve – Improve the process
  5. Control – Control the process and sustain the improvements



  1. Conceptually, DMAIC is an approach to improve existing processes, while DFSS is an approach to create new products or processes.
  2. DMAIC focuses on one or two CTQs (critical to quality) provided by the customer and aims to improve the performance of those CTQs while DFSS focuses on delivering a product or a service that meets all the CTQ metrics.
  3. Bench-marking is not an integral concept to most DMAIC efforts although it does play a crucial role in DFSS projects.


  1. Some tools are used interchangeably between DFSS and DMAIC approach.
  2. Both DFSS and DMAIC strive for Six Sigma levels of performance.
  3. Both are built on Six Sigma philosophy.

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