What is DFSS and how does it compare and contrast to DMAIC?

When an organization decides to bring about improvements or changes into the organizational process, a good solution is to use the Six Sigma methodology. There are methodologies such as DMAIC and DFSS, which are used to bring about improvement in the existing processes and products, and even the development of new products and processes.

What DFSS? Let’s take a look at it.

DFSS is more focused on developing new products or redesigning them. In this method, development is mostly done from scratch or may sometimes involve redesigning of a specific product. You may find various definitions of DFSS for different organizations.

For some people, DFSS is just an approach more than a technology. The expected Six Sigma level is at least 4.5 (i.e. approximately 1 defect per thousand opportunities) but can be 6 depending upon the product.

You may find many resemblances between DFSS and DMADV. You can even call DMADV a methodology for implementing DFSS. The Design phase is the only difference between DMAIC and DFSS. Similar to DMAIC, the Define and Measure steps are followed by an Analyse phase.

The difference between DFSS and DMAIC

Now, we are going to discuss the difference between DFSS and DMAIC.

Though many experts and professionals think that DFSS is a logical extension of Six Sigma, still there are some differences between these.

  1. The basic difference lies in the fact that DMAIC is a methodology that focuses on bringing about improvements to the existing products and services of the organization. While on the other hand, DFSS aims at designing a new defect-free product or service to meet CTQ factors that will lead to customer satisfaction.
  2. The prime focus of DMAIC is to detect and solve problems on existing products and services, while the DFSS approach basically prevents a problem.
  3. The benefits and savings of DMAIC are quickly measurable or countable while those of the DFSS will be visible only in the long term. It can be around six months or more than that when you can see a visible result to a newly developed product.
  4. DMAIC is based more on manufacturing or transactional processes, while DFSS encompasses marketing, research and design as well.
  5. DFSS, unlike DMAIC, does not require a process to be in place and functioning. The objective of this approach is to determine the needs of customers and the business and to generate a process, as opposed to improving an already existing one. DFSS creates a process where none existed before, or where a process has been deemed inadequate and needs to be replaced; particularly, a process in which 99.9997% of products are statistically free of defects.
  6. DFSS is still not standardized, and as a result, there are new variants emerging continually, and the terminology continues to broaden accordingly. Trainers teach the concept differently and this manifests as different implementation styles. DFSS is more focused on innovations and new designs, whereas DMAIC is about improvements to existing systems and processes to achieve Six Sigma capability.