On the first lecture of PEUSS my ideas about Six Sigma started to mix up. I used to think Six Sigma is the concept and Design for Six Sigma encloses the methodology which includes DMAIC, DMADV, IDOV, DMEIC and other acronyms. Fact that proved to be wrong, they are 2 different things who have the same aim (eliminate waste and inefficiency and develop nearly perfect products – six sigma level), but are used in different situations (six sigma projects are used to improve an existing product/service/ process, while design for six sigma is used to develop a new product/service/ process).
I intend to believe I developed these thoughts during the PIUSS module because we were studying Six Sigma only and we also covered things that better fit DFSS. The first example I can think of, is the airplane experiment where we entirely changed the process of manufacturing the airplanes, and not only improve some parts of the process. The second example is related to the study of Teguchi experimental design and the helicopter exercise.
After researching more the subject of six sigma and design for Six Sigma and building the presentation on the comparison and contrast of these two topics I really understood the differences, the similarities and the synergies between them.
The most important thing I realized during my research is that Six Sigma and Design for Six Sigma do not have to work separately. They can complement each other. DFSS can be used when Six Sigma is not going to give sufficient results or is just not effective to invest in the project. Additionally, businesses that use Six Sigma to facilitate the DFSS process bring better results (fact reinforced by the examples our guest lecturers presented this week).
Knowing this, I now understand why is important to train the best people when it comes to Six Sigma and how beneficial can be the tools used in the process if they are used right. I agree with Dr. Jane, my lecturer, that project managers are the best people to train in a company. This is mostly because the management engagement and commitment is as crucial for the Six Sigma project success as it is their understanding of the Six Sigma methodology. However, the belt system does not fit very well with the DFSS process because it is difficult to be prescriptive about the training.
On the one hand, literature shows that the businesses that implement Six Sigma and DFSS correctly achieve significant benefits that contribute to competitive advantage and to changing the culture in an organisation from reactive problem solving to proactive problem prevention. On the other hand, the majority of the companies the guest lecturers represented did not follow Six Sigma or DFSS methodology rigidly, but they tailored it to best fit the company’s needs by choosing the right tools from those provided.
I strongly believe that it is more useful to adapt the tools six sigma and DFSS offers to each business because, like this, companies can avoid wasting unnecessary money, and focus on their high priorities.
In our days, businesses use different concepts, methodologies and tools for implementing a quality within the organization. Whether it is PDSA, RADAR that we studied in CBE module, DMAIC, DMADV or any other, every business has to use and/or combine of different approaches, tools and techniques. Some of them are simple to understand and can be easily used and others are more complex and require specialist applications. Nevertheless, I think it is very important that the selection is made with the aim of the organization in mind and for the appropriate employees, because the success depends on their understanding, knowledge and proper application in organizational processes. I believe that the whole Six Sigma concept would be more beneficial if practitioners would focus less on its name and more on integrating into the business strategy and goals. In other words making it part of the organizational infrastructure.
What I like most about the DFSS methodology aims to design things right from the first time. It considers the voice of the customer (VOC) to collect and understand customer requirements, and Quality Function Deployment (QFD) tools to identify customer needs and translate them into design requirements and prioritizes them, uses concurrent engineering and expert judgement to spot and deal with risks better.
To understand thinks better I tend to associate these concepts with things that happened to me in the past, and the best example I could find at that moment, was writing an assignment.
VOC could be used to understand what the marker wants from me when reading my assignment, QFD would help me prioritize information and translate it into a structure while I would develop the paper concurrently paying attention to what critiques think about the subject researched.
I find these tools, and many others that we studied during the PEUSS module, useful because they underline the important things a business should considered. As I intend to start my own business one day, I think it is vital to understand what customers want and what are the risks I may encounter. Even if I may not implement DFSS into my company, from financial reasons (not cost effective in small, service organizations), I now feel confident PEUSS gave me sufficient knowledge to consider what is right for my company.