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DFSS Case Study: Optimizing Haptics for Sensory Feedback

A high-tech company was exploring the use of haptics to provide gentle haptic vibration with wearable devices (Figure 1) for future customers, including tweens (children around 11 or 12 years old). Haptics involve how users perceive tactile feedback from a device. Mobile devices typically provide haptic sensations and responses using vibrations of various frequencies, amplitude,…

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Case Study: Using DFSS and DOE to Increase Product Reliability

A medical devices company, developing technology to enable smaller medical devices, launched a substrate development effort as part of a larger-scale technology and product development effort. The substrate development effort involved predicting the stress caused by the laser welding process to ensure product reliability. In this Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) case study, design and…

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DMADV Case Study: Performance Management System Redesign

To facilitate the development of its employees and better respond to the changing business environment, one department of a large financial-services company decided to revamp its existing performance management system through a Six Sigma project. A pre-project analysis revealed that a complete redesign of the system was required. As incremental improvement in the existing system…

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The “Design” in Design for Six Sigma?

Many consider the “Design” in DfSS to be the product design, but that is not the only entity that a producer of products delivers to its customers. When I refer to the “design” in Design for Six Sigma, the context is more comprehensive than simply the product design. The “design” in DfSS can be anything…

What is the definition of Design for Six Sigma?

There is obviously the classic dictionary type definition such as: Design for Six Sigma (DfSS) is an emerging business process which involves a highly disciplined methodical approach to integrating the principles of Six Sigma as early as possible into the design and development process. It is a customer-driven business strategy that creates robust designs that…

DFSS Drives Results for Financial Services Firms

Lean Six Sigma remains a popular and effective tool to improve efficiency in financial services operations. However, many financial institutions are finding that identifying and reducing incremental defect variability does not fully maximize the full spectrum of improvement opportunities. To achieve a larger return on investment, many organizations are turning to Design for Six Sigma…

Study Finds Significant Wait Time Reduction Via DFSS at Hospital ERs

Emergency room waiting times could be cut by over one third and patients’ length of stay by almost two-thirds, thanks to a new approach to the triage process of sorting patients for further assessment and treatment, according to research published in the International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage this month. The researchers have…

What Is DFSS?

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), or the Six Sigma DMADV process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify), is an improvement system used to develop new processes or products at Six Sigma quality levels. It also can be employed if a current process requires more than just incremental improvement. It is executed by Six Sigma Green Belts…

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Improving Offshore Outsourcing Efficiency with DFSS

Two recent conferences on software focused on the topics of Six Sigma for the software industry and general conference for the software vertical market. There was, as one would imagine, a tremendous amount of discussion relating to the offshore outsourcing of software development work to achieve significant cost reductions. This has been an emerging trend…

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Revamping Healthcare Using DMAIC And DFSS

Evidence pointing to the applicability of Six Sigma and related best practices within healthcare has been steadily mounting over the past few years. Primarily based on the implementation of the DMAIC process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control), we’re seeing an ever-widening array of documented and publicized results… from improving turnaround time for patients to…

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Design for Six Sigma – IDOV Methodology

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) can be accomplished using any one of many methodologies. IDOV is one popular methodology for designing products and services to meet six sigma standards. IDOV is a four-phase process that consists of Identify, Design, Optimize and Verify. These four phases parallel the four phases of the traditional Six Sigma improvement…

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DFSS Technology Tips

Many of us – as Quality professionals – have implemented quality improvement projects throughout our careers. Best practices resulting from these implementations are paramount for: designing processes for Six Sigma (defect-free) production from the beginning, increasing business productivity on future projects, as well as not ‘reinventing the wheel.’ After recently implementing a technology project, I thought it…

DMAIC Versus DMADV

We know that everything in business is a process, right? Sales people have a list of companies and contacts that they work in a certain fashion to produce a sale, production receives an order and schedules the manufacturing, the product is built, packaged, shipped and invoiced. When the packing department has a problem with their…

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DFSS as an Enabler of Service-Oriented Architecture

Finding ways to automate and improve business processes is a major focus for today’s organizations. At the heart of every business is a complicated web of human and automated processes. For the business to be as effective as possible, these processes must be as efficient as possible. Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a concept whose time…

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Fitting the Right Belts for Design for Lean Six Sigma

Every Lean Six Sigma deployment leader must eventually confront the critical decision of how the various Belt roles should be allocated and deployed throughout the organization. Lean Six Sigma has existed for more than 10 years now in a variety of manufacturing, service and distribution environments, and through trial and error fairly standard niches have…

Six Sigma, Process Reengineering and Prototyping

Recently, a large-scale financial services company recently wanted to reengineer the process for its entire customer services organization, including people, process and technology. This company had, during the last two years, trained many Black Belts and Green Belts. It attempted to use Six Sigma methodology as the primary method of introducing customer-focused process improvement to…

Product Development: Orchestrating a Better Vision

When attending a performance by a symphony orchestra, the audience witnesses a tightly coupled, highly predictable process executed by a high-functioning multifunctional team. This is exactly how product development should be executed. Many similarities exist between an orchestra and the product development process. An orchestra’s “product” is delivered during the performance. The product is the…

Using DFSS to Improve Offshore Outsourcing Efficiency

During the last several years, there has been a tremendous amount of discussion relating to the offshore outsourcing of software development work to achieve significant cost reductions. This has been an emerging trend for about a dozen years, but one that has been recently accelerated and subject to wild variations in success and efficiency. A…

DFSS Meets Agile Development – Friend or Foe?

One of the big benefits of Six Sigma is the discipline it brings to the use of facts and measures to guide significant and predictable results. At first glance, that discipline might seem to fly in the face of the flexibility and creativity that also are very important in development and problem-solving. One potential collision…

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Doing Some Software Six Sigma and Agile ‘Mythbusting’

These are interesting times in the world of software development. Urgency around reducing development cycle times and costs, and growing the business value of software and IT assets is high. Six Sigma, CMMI, Lean software development and Agile methods are variously working together (or not quite) to address that urgency and show results. In the…

A Parallel Process View for Information Technology

The value and impact that a solid Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) approach can bring to an IT business is well known. While many organizations understand the relationship between DFSS and their own project management approach, what they often miss is attention to the foundational concepts of Lean and DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control)…

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Designing and Analyzing Experiments with Mixtures

In the development phase of Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), practitioners who work in domains such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, foods, material composition and semiconductors frequently deal with experiments to determine optimal ingredient mixtures for desired products. The factors in a mixture experiment are the ingredients or components of a mixture, and the response is…

Tapping Voice of the Lead User for Design for Six Sigma

At its core, Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is concerned with the accurate translation of what the customer wants into measurable characteristics, and then putting these characteristics into functions and design elements. The idea behind DFSS is intuitive and simple. If done well, a company will end up with a product that has what the…

Software Development Convergence: Six Sigma-Lean-Agile

Some common messages are beginning to emerge from several software-relevant areas – Six Sigma for software, Agile development and Lean thinking. The links between Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and Agile have been explored recently, but now a broader view yet can illustrate the way that Lean thinking, evolved from just-in-time manufacturing, aligns well with…

DFSS Can Help Ensure Sarbanes-Oxley Act Compliance

Sarbanes-Oxley is a law passed in 2002 by the U.S. Congress in response to a series of accounting scandals that impacted several major corporations. The act contains a number of sections, or titles, that require certain activities related to registering with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), as well as requirements related to financial…

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(Human) Resource Planning Is a Key for DFSS Projects

While several factors can drive the success or failure of a Six Sigma project, experienced project managers cite resource planning or allocation of resources as the greatest driver of success for larger projects. All three types of resources – materials, technology and people – must be used effectively. In particular, human resource management plays a…

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Connections Between Design for Six Sigma and CMMI

While there are more than a few connections between the Six Sigma DMAIC roadmap and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), some practitioners may not be aware of the connections between CMMI and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS). CMMI has four process categories, each contains several process areas that are associated with a maturity level (Table…

Army TACOM LCMC Strengthens Lean Six Sigma Deployment

Since 2007, the Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has made efforts to institutionalize a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. The goal to have TACOM LCMC associates at every level advocate, pursue and implement continuous process improvement methods through the promulgation of Lean Six Sigma across the command is a…

DMAIC and DFSS Roadmaps: How to Connect and Integrate?

The roadmap has always been an important part of Six Sigma. It lays out the thought process for teams and leaders, and distinguishes the methodology from a parade of tools. With the original “Six Steps to Six Sigma” and then “Define Measure Analyze Improve Control” (DMAIC) as the improvement roadmap, plus the addition of Design…

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Six Sigma and Innovation Need Not Be Exclusive

In a production and development environment, Six Sigma attempts to reduce rework from the start, cutting down on costs and development cycle time. Compared to the try-fail method, in which practitioners usually generate thousands of ideas before finding a really useful concept for developing a new product or service, Six Sigma’s systematic approach may be…

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Importance of Tolerance Design in Six Sigma Projects

One of the most popular metrics used in assessing Six Sigma projects, both DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) and Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), is defects per million opportunities (DPMO). This measurement is the average number of defects per unit observed during an average production run divided by the number of opportunities for making…

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IT Development: Finding Balance Between Business and IT

A discussion about an ideal IT system often centers on user friendliness, system reliability, and implementation on time and on budget. These discussions should also include how to create more business value through the development of systems following a disciplined, fact based approach with a clear customer focus. For example, consider a telecom provider who…

Promises of Brand Strategy and Design for Six Sigma

“99.44 percent pure” “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” “The ultimate driving machine” “We bring good things to life” For recent generations of Americans, the slogans above have become synonymous with the high-profile brands they represent. But these words are not simply clever taglines. They…

Leveraging Six Sigma and the IT Infrastructure Library

“As technology moves more and more into the very fabric of our existence, the real-time existence of consumers and businesses and the economy, the reliability of systems will need to reach the level of dial-tone. Consequently, the techniques used to develop systems, the quality of these systems, and the demands on the performance of these…

To Use DMEDI or to Use DMAIC? That Is the Question

As the acceptance of Six Sigma grows and penetrates deeper into business culture, organizations begin to question when a process will benefit from a Six Sigma methodology that provides improvement (DMAIC) versus one that offers a new design (DMEDI). While the answer is clear to veteran Six Sigma practitioners, it is not so clear to…

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Better Project Management Performance with Six Sigma

Every organization faces the daunting task of executing projects that meet or exceed the expectations of its customers. That makes project management a key component of most enterprises, regardless of the business sector. Yet project management is not always met with organization-wide satisfaction. One major reason is that many project management offices (PMOs) are replicated…

How to Make Interbank Image Exchange a Reality

The future is knocking at the door of the U.S. banking industry. But how do banks get the future into their daily operations? More and more banks are using Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) to help them to take full advantage of such modern processes as electronic check presentment, thereby reducing expenses and increasing profits….

Importance of the Validate Phase in a Design Project

A Six Sigma team is at the V-point of an IDOV project. While it seems most of the hard work has been done, this is not a time to let down. The team is at another critical stage. The Design for Six Sigma project has followed a IDOV roadmap that includes the Identify, Design, Optimize…

Taking Advantage of Computer-Based Analysis for DFSS

The goal in product design or business process engineering is to create products or processes that are insensitive to the sources of variation that inhibit their intended function. The design phase in the product development process is a crucial activity since this is when most downstream production and quality problems are locked-in. As a consequence,…

Making Use of DFLSS to Cultivate a Shared Compute Farm

Digital check processing. Fraud detection. Compliance monitoring. Trading floor analytics. These are all integral functions for many modern financial service institutions. And all have one thing in common – they require a huge amount of computing power. One approach to providing fast responses even with highly complex computations is distributed computing, or creating a shared compute…

Six Sigma and the Software Development Life Cycle

Many software organizations are beginning to use Six Sigma, and are finding that they need to rationalize its relationship to the standard software development life cycle process. A number of issues and alternatives arise when this need is addressed. Roadmaps and Software Development Life Cycles (SDLC) Six Sigma includes two complementary roadmaps. The first of…

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Designing Financial Services with DMEDI

As banking operations and check processing enters the 21st Century, so too the ways financial institutions design processes enters a new age. Long gone are the days of trial-and-error in bringing new products, services or technologies to market. Companies need to be able to implement solutions effectively – the first time – to provide superior customer…

Six Sigma and the Project Management Body of Knowledge

Interest in Six Sigma is growing rapidly within the professional project management community, and the most common question coming from that group is something like “How does Six Sigma relate to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK)?” Six Sigma and PMBoK do have connections, similarities and distinctions. Before diving into specifics, a little background…

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Implementing Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) in Europe

“Why bother about process improvement? Let’s do it right the first time. We don’t need process improvement. We have to implement DFSS!” This is a common theme from engineering people in Six Sigma deployments. A common response from practitioners is that DMAIC should be implemented first; experience with the methodology should come before the introduction…

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