From Accelerated Product Development: Combining Lean and Six Sigma for Peak Performance


Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) represents the second topic related to improving product quality through product development. As the words "design for" imply, DFSS strives to proactively improve quality by preventing defects and reducing variation during the design phase of developing products. Consequently, the key objectives of Design for Six Sigma are:

  • Predict the quality level of new product designs

  • Design quality into new products

  • Improve the quality of existing products


The term sigma (symbolically represented by the Greek letter of the same name [ ?]) refers to standard deviation, which is a measure of the variation or scatter in a process. Within business and industry, the sigma value is a metric that indicates how well a process is performing, compared to the benchmark value of six sigma (6 ?). Sigma measures the capability of a process to perform defect-free work. A defect is anything that may result in customer dissatisfaction.

The common measurement for six sigma is defects per unit, where a unit can be virtually anything: a component, an administrative form, a piece of material, a line of software code, and so on. The sigma value is a quality measurement that indicates how often a defect is likely to occur. The higher the sigma value, the less likely a process will produce defects. As sigma increases, cycle time and cost decreases, and customer satisfaction increases.

So what does it mean to be six sigma? Consider a process that produces...

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Business Process Management Software (BPM)
Business process management (BPM) software enables companies to map, model and improve business processes across the organization. Companies use BPM software to define business rules, model current processes, and identify areas for improvement.
Statistical Process Control Software (SPC)
Statistical process control software (SPC) is used to measure, control, monitor or manage industrial processes without human intervention. SPC software uses statistical functions and techniques to provide continuous monitoring.
Supplier Relationship Management Software (SRM)
Supplier relationship management (SRM) software enables businesses to manage the relationship between buyers and suppliers. SRM software can be integrated into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) Chips
Digital-to-analog converter (DAC) chips convert digital signals that represent binary numbers into proportional analog voltages.
Analog-to-Digital Converters
Analog-to-digital converters (ADC) sample an analog signal and convert it to a series of digital values to represent the signal to a computer processor.

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