6Sigma Tools: Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
6Sigma can be so many things to your organization, but the most important thing to remember is that is has to relevant to your organization. This requirement is what makes Design for Six Sigma or DFSS such an asset to any organization looking towards a lean strategy. Technically speaking DFSS is not 6Sigma but an alternative methodology, but I think the ability to integrate exists. DFSS if often used interchangeably with DMADV but the key difference is that DMADV is used to eliminate defects and variation, while DFSS is used to create new or replacement processes.
What is it?
DFSS stands for Design for Six Sigma and its main function is to assist in improvements by creating a new design or redesign of a product/service at base level. In essence it is the foundation on which process improvements can be built. It is a cross functional activity that relies on forecasting at its core. DFSS projects operate based on the IDOV methodology.
Why should I use it?
DFSS provides many advantages to your organization such as:
- Improved speed
- Improved accuracy
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Decreased labor costs
What does it look like?
The chart above is from sixsigmaworld.blogspot and it is the simplest version of DFSS that I have found.
What doesn’t it do?
DFSS is different from 6Sigma in the fact that it creates efficiency as the process is being built, whereas typical 6Sigma deals with improvements to variations and defects after a process has already been implemented. So if you are looking to correct an issue, DFSS is not going to help you much. If you are looking to scrap the current and begin again, then DFSS is a great fit.
As with all things on this blog, this is a technique best utilized with the guidance and expertise of your belt. I hoped I have demystified it a bit and helped you to start a dialogue with your belt.
It’s that time again, so let’s delve into the world of Failure Models and Effects Analysis, otherwise known as FMEA. Often touted in 6Sigma circles but rarely used due to the perceived complexity, it is one of 6Sigma’s secret weapons. FMEA stands for Failure Models and Effects Analysis, that’s a big name so let’s find out what it is exactly.
What is Failure Model and Effectiveness Analysis?
FMEA started as an engineering quality tool and it is basically used to recognize and isolate potential factors that could cause failures. It’s most easily understood as a preventative measure, so here is the low down.
There are 5 types of FMEA: system, design, process, service and software. Here’s how the breakdown.
- System: focuses on universal system functions, think company-wide processes like security protocol or project structures.
- Design: focuses on apparatus and subsystems, think equipment and e-mail follow up responses based on protocol.
- Process: focuses on your process, for example those e-mail protocols I mentioned in the Design portion.
- Service: refers to service functions, like how you handle customer service or after service for your sales for example.
- Software: refers to the functions of your software, the most relevant application of this is the automation of much of the software we use today.
What does FMEA look like?
What can I use it for?
FMEA has a wide range of applications and consulting your belt will give you a specific direction that aligns with your company goals. There are some universal applications of this method that you can use as a guideline to get started. You can use FMEA for:
- Reducing product/service failures.
- Assessing customer needs.
- Eliminating potentially harmful design settings.
- Helping to target possible risks
- Creating a way to identify failure that prevents them from affecting customers.
What doesn’t it do?
Like all 6Sigma tools, the effectiveness of FMEA lies in the practitioner. And while it has a lot of benefits, there are few things to remember when you implement it.
1. It only identifies failures, it does not eliminate them.
2. Staff implementing FMEA has to be aware of what to do with the failures once they have been identified.
3. The emphasis of this tool is on prevention, not reaction.
FMEA is a wonderful tool and creates many valuable opportunities in your organization. When properly utilized the savings that FMEA can create will lead to the type of quality environment that positions your organization as an industry leader.
The Bull’s Eye Chart is a visual representation of your goals and progress to date. Depending on your team the complexity of the chart can vary, but ideally it should be fairly simple to chart and interpret. As with all things in 6Sigma, the key to its success is understanding what it is telling you and ensuring that even a novice can reach the desired conclusion.
What does it look like?
This is a crude model to be sure, but I think that it will at least illustrate what you can expect to see when looking at a Bull’s Eye Chart.
What does it mean?
In a Bull’s Eye Chart your percentages can differ according to personal preferences, but I like the numbers that generally go along with a traditional dart board. For business purposes, say you are running a project and you decide to use this method to chart your progress. To chart your progress, use the rings like this:
- Outside of Black Ring: Any tasks that fall outside of the black ring are 0-21% completed.
- Black Ring: Any tasks that fall inside the black ring are 22-41% completed.
- Blue Ring: Any tasks that fall inside the blue ring are 42-62% completed.
- Red Ring: Any tasks that fall inside the red ring are 62-83% completed.
- Yellow Ring: Any tasks that fall inside the yellow ring are 84-100%
Ideally the yellow ring is the sweet spot because everything inside the yellow ring is on target. You will be able to view your spiral line once you plot your tasks. Anything outside of the spiral is a warning that it is behind target. Inside the schedule means that those tasks are ahead of/on schedule.
When Should I use it?
You should use the Bull’s Eye Chart when you have variables with quality and continuous metrics. A good example of this is when you can consistently measure a delivery process from cradle to grave. You should not use this method if you are unaware of the entire process or are unable to get accurate metrics. Another important thing to remember about this method is that it is not a control chart. It cannot establish process control or measure process capability.
As with all of my blogs, this is by no means a step by step tutorial in Bull’s Eye Charting but it does give you a foundation to start using them.
We have covered the basics for creating a Six Sigma infrastructure and if you have already run a project, most of the suggestions go hand and with running a project effectively. Now that we have reached the end, let’s recap the Six Sigma strategies we have learned.
To create a fully functioning Six Sigma infrastructure, I would like to see:
- A consensus for Key Business Objectives
- The creation of core, key and sub processes.
- Organized support for Six Sigma projects.
- A decision on the role of change agents and who they will report to.
- A firm decision on the usage of cross functional teams.
- Transition timeline definitions.
- A decision for a centralized or decentralized approach to Six Sigma.
- Valid measurement dashboards.
- A strategy to incorporate Six Sigma into the performance award system.
- The creation of expected Six Sigma ROI.
- A commitment to assign a firm amount of financial, intellectual and infrastructural resources to Six Sigma projects.
- A commitment to continuously evaluate Six Sigma projects and make adjustments as necessary.
So there you have it, a generic Six Sigma infrastructure. Now it goes without saying, but I’m going to mention it anyways-you need to tailor the infrastructure to your organization. These foundations are a great way to start, but it is worth bringing in a Six Sigma professional who understands your company to help you build your infrastructure. I know that some people will read this and think ‘ that’s so easy, I can put that in place’, but no project is the same and I always look to Murphy’s Law when engaging a Six Sigma project.It’s that old measure twice, cut once adage.
Picking up where we left off last week, we have hit the home stretch in creating a Six Sigma framework for your organization. So let’s go over the last steps in creating your framework…
Create and Validate Measurement Dashboards
This is one of the more poignant parts of Six Sigma and it’s one of the parts that organizations most often get wrong. One of the best things about Six Sigma is its ability to expose meaningless metrics. A few years ago companies got in the habit of measuring everything, but unless the measurement will help you reach a business goal, increase quality or increase customer satisfaction, it isn’t a meaningful statistic. By validating the measurements you are forced to look at what your measuring, how you are measuring it and what those measurements mean. Putting the measurements on a dashboard means that you are committing yourself to a constant awareness of those statistics, and that is not a bad thing. It breeds accountability and problem solving, both great skills to develop in your staff.
Decide How to Incorporate Six Sigma Wins/Losses Into Your Reward System
I have always been a bit undecided on reward systems, but I am hands down in favor of recognition and praise. The key to a successful Six Sigma infrastructure is to engrain the behavior into your corporate reward system. The great thing about 6Sigma is that it is continuous, which means in terms of a reward system there will always be something to recognize and therefore reward.
Decide the Amount of Dedicated Resources
To succeed, Six Sigma needs to have a dedicated amount of financial, intellectual, staff and infrastructural resources. I’ve always said and will say again, that Six Sigma is not a quick fix. It is a methodology that requires a total commitment to seeing the project through to the end. That journey also requires those involved to acknowledge the need for and to implement change. So if you are thinking of assigning a part-time champion or resources on a trial basis, 6Sigma is probably not the program for you. If you are looking for a long-term solution, then you are ready to walk down the aisle.
Create a Strategy of Continuous Evaluation
Six Sigma requires that you always be diligent and that is what makes most people oppose it. Let’s be frank the requirements in the beginning ask for a lot of heavy lifting and to keep this marriage happy, you have to keep going to therapy and working on the issues. It never ends and that is what is great about Six Sigma, it doesn’t allow you to quit even when it looks like you don’t need it. You never get to say I’m perfect and that’s perfect because no company is omnipotent and you should never take your clients for granted.
Next week we will recap what we have learned about creating a Six Sigma infrastructure, until then…what are you waiting for? Go get started!