Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

Design for Six Sigma is used to perfect product and processes before use or release. When a new product design or new process design is needed and expected to perform at a six sigma level from the start or level considered to be "perfect" for the company or industry.

DMADV is another acronym sometimes used in place of DFSS, consisting of the following five steps:

  1. DEFINE: design goals that satisfy customer demands, company and end-user.
  2. MEASURE: Identify characteristics that are Critical to Quality, product capabilities, production process capability, and risks.
  3. ANALYZE: Efficient product, process, or system design. Design alternatives, evaluate designs capability, reliability, ability to manufacture, to select the best design.
  4. DESIGN: Using tools such as Axiomatic Design, refine and optimize the software, hardware, and system design.
  5. VERIFY: Validate and quantify the design performance. Implement the production process. Six Sigma Project Manager hold final gate review with Control Plan and close the project, hand-off to the process owner.

The tools used in traditional DMAIC Six Sigma projects require a process or service that already exist with past performance. DFSS focuses on gathering the customer requirements and desires and designing them into a new product, process, or service. There isn't always a baseline to compare past, current, and future results.

It is often the most expensive up-front and requires the highest level of effort but should deliver the most satisfying product, process, or service upon initiation. It will include most of the mistake proofing and will have attempted to reduce or eliminate all known risks before initiation.

Ultimately, the time, effort, and money devoted up-front will be more than offset with the long-term implementation of the new product, process, or service. There will be fewer failures, more satisfied customers, higher loyalty levels, and less reaction due to the proactivity of the DFSS team.

The intent is to develop and launch a robust design that performs at the desired level (theoretically six sigma performance) at the onset. The goals of robust design are to:

  • establish optimal tolerances during the design phase
  • minimize variation around the average
  • optimize the average
  • products and processes should be able to withstand the test of time, deterioration, and usage.

Some of the tools are also used in the DMAIC process. Some are unique to DFSS since they assist in new development instead of continual improvement.

Critical To Quality Linkage (CTQ)

Voice of the Customer

Affinity Diagram

Kano Model

Axiomatic Design

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

Pugh Matrix

Hoshin Kanri


Response Surface Methodology (RSM)

Subscribe to get access to this entire site

Browse active job openings within Six Sigma

Templates and Calculators

Return to the Six-Sigma-Material Home Page

Custom Search

Site Membership

Six Sigma

Templates, Tables & Calculators

Six Sigma Slides


Green Belt Program (1,000+ Slides)

Basic Statistics

Cost of Quality


Process Mapping

Capability Studies



Cause & Effect Matrix


Multivariate Analysis

Central Limit Theorem

Confidence Intervals

Hypothesis Testing

T Tests





Control Plan



Project Pitfalls

Error Proofing

Z Scores


Takt Time

Line Balancing

Yield Metrics

Sampling Methods

Data Classification

Practice Exam

... and more

Need a Gantt Chart?

Click here to get this template