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Should I Learn Design for Six Sigma? 

 March 23, 2023

By  Dave Litten

Should I Learn Design for Six Sigma?

Good Question.

Design for Six Sigma is aimed primarily at Product Designers, Manufacturing Engineers, and Project Managers working in new product development.

Can you claim that your systems and products delivering value to your customers are perfectly designed to achieve the results you are currently getting? Probably not.

So there is room for improvement – and DfSS will arm you with the methods and tools to do just that.

Lean Six Sigma (DMAIC) fixes known problems, whereas DFSS prevents unknown problems from occurring in the first place, while at the same time providing a lower total development cost and a robust product at product launch – ensuring you have delighted customers

It is estimated that 70-80% of quality problems originate in product definition and design.

Design for Six Sigma methodology aims to circumvent such problems by translating customer requirements into functional requirements — ensuring more robust product, service, and process designs. In this way you will meet customer-driven design objectives.

You will learn early problem identification, providing the solution when change and fix costs are low, giving you faster market entry and earlier revenue streams.

You will understand how to lead a Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) team through the define-measure-analyse-design-verify (DMADV) phases to produce tollgate deliverables using the proper tools, such as quality function deployment (QFD), that help to further refine understanding of customer needs.

So, what is Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)?

DfSS is also known as Designing for Successful Systems and is the natural evolution of Lean Six Sigma (LSS).

DfSS ensures you deliver greater value to your customers and the business by providing better products and services that are produced faster and at lower cost. These facts ensure earlier market entry and faster market growth, combined with lower total lifecycle costs.

Why You should grasp DfSS.

Design for Six Sigma ensures you gain process, product, or service improvement knowledge when costs are lowest giving you the initiative to design quality in from the outset.

Should I Learn Design For Six Sigma?

The diagram above shows clearly why learning DfSS will give you a powerful tool to get new processes, products or services right first time.

Just look at that vertical scale – the increased cost slope for design changes is exponential. Ouch!

Trying to fix problems in production is a hundred times more expensive than doing it in design and development – not to mention launch delays, much reduced revenue, and severely reduced customer satisfaction.

Did I mention that the research/design/development focus of DfSS will provide you with the expertise and skills to supercharge your career and remuneration potential!

The DFSS Benefits are significant:

Better products and services produced faster and at lower cost allows you to launch and enter the market earlier leading to faster market growth and domination.

DfSS provides a significant reduction in total lifecycle costs within your organisation, while providing you with a framework for systematic improvement and innovation

You will learn how to:

  • Reduce cycle time in the design and development process
  • Reduce the cost of poor quality
  • Understand the tools and techniques to obtain voice of the customer and translate into functional requirements and quality metrics for designs during new product development
  • Understand tools to generate and select among design concept alternatives
  • Apply statistical and graphical analysis tools to support testing and evaluation of designs

Dave Litten


Dave spent 25+ years as a senior project manager for UK and USA multinationals and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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