In a previous article, we defined design for six sigma (DFSS) as a thought process focused on maximizing customer value and minimizing cost.
More specifically, DFSS is used to reduce variability in product performance (thereby increasing value), using analytical models and our knowledge of manufacturing variability to enable specification limits on difficult-to-manufacture tolerances to be increased (thereby reducing cost).
Meanwhile, when most people are asked “What is the “x” in DFx?”…a range of answers would be provided (design for assembly, service, procurement, costing, reliability, safety, reuse, etc, etc..). However:
While there’s nothing wrong with a design focus area, we don’t want to miss the key points of the “DFx” thought process. Let’s review the thought process as follows:
The key questions to be asked, therefore, when developing any new product, new service or even a new business process is: Can the (product, service or process) design be accurately modeled? Can we learn from the model to optimize the design?
Some examples include:
In summary, the DFx objective is robust, optimized designs through validated models rather than through “design by test” and multiple build cycles. As a result, DFx can significantly reduce design risk and shorten your product (or process) development life cycle. Also, powerful software, analytic, simulation and emulation tools should enable DFx now more than ever.