Six Sigma Tools: Defects Per Unit
Defects Per Unit or DPU identifies how many individual defects are on a single unit or item. This is different from just identifying defective items, DPU identifies how many different defects are on a single item. This is where 6Sigma becomes invaluable because the identification of multiple defects addresses quality and costs to the company.
What does it look like?
I was lucky enough to find this basic DPU chart on DMAIC Tools. Now as with everything 6Sigma related this chart can be as difficult or as simple as you make it. But the key to a successful deployment is to make sure that everyone in your organization understands how to use the tool and how it will improve the process.
From DMAIC Tools
What DPU doesn’t do
DPU isn’t a magic bullet and is one of the few 6Sigma tools that is not always helpful. DPU should be deployed only when there is a clear advantage to using it. While it gives you a numerical value for defects it does not give you the root cause of your problems. You will still have to do the work and find the root cause, otherwise you will just have statistics without a meaningful interpretation.
DPU is a tool and to gain the correct usage of the tool, talk to your belt. Have a conversation about defects and how they are happening. Once you determine the root cause, DPU can be a powerful method for change.