Design for Lean Six Sigma Consulting


Design for Lean Six Sigma

Design for Lean Six Sigma (DFLSS) evolved from the competitive crucible of the 1980s and 1990s and is based on four themes that permeated the cultures of excellent Japanese companies:

1. Statistical thinking – While U.S. firms focused on “excellence," Japanese firms built their product development strategies on statistical quality control. Statistics, as applied to product and service performance, was driven by top leadership and integrated with business strategy.

2. Focus on customer satisfaction – Explicit, well-engineered business processes focused on the Voice of the Customer (VOC).

3. Designing for product/service and process alignment – Alignment was ensured between VOC and new service and product design concepts by using a problem-solving process for overcoming misalignment issues.

4. Concurrent engineering – Greater rigor in the design phase was accompanied by dramatically compressed new product and service development times. Integrating rigor, discipline, and creativity, DFLSS ensures that the development process delivers new services and products that consistently perform at the highest sigma levels possible.

New Product and Service Introduction and Innovation

Our experience is that, in general, the processes used for designing services are less well defined than those employed in manufacturing. Service processes are less tangible, both in the configuration and in the output they deliver. Consequently, this provides a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantage in innovation. A scan of the market shows that the adoption of DFLSS is accelerating in the service sector, particularly in the financial services arena. We advocate that DFLSS is as effective for developing life insurance policies, credit cards, or IRAs as it is for designing tanks and braking systems. The emphasis on deep understanding of customer needs is the same, though the selection of design techniques naturally differs. From actuarial services to automobile manufacturing, innovative, leading firms use DFLSS as the means to reap the benefits of:
  • Direct access to customer knowledge
  • Ownership and buy-in across functions
  • Earlier detection of changing customer needs
  • Broader perspective in understanding the market
  • Faster time to market

And while Design for Lean Six Sigma (DFLSS) is a well-developed methodology used to guide the development of new products and services, it is also applied when existing processes are so dysfunctional that it makes sense to start from scratch.

Rath & Strong has DFLSS Road Maps for both Service and Product design. The DFLSS data-driven quality strategy and its methodologies are summarized under two widely used problem-solving, phased approaches:

IDOV: Identify, Design, Optimize, and Validate
DMADV: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify

Both use the DFLSS toolset, which guides you through the process of gaining a deep understanding of customer requirements, as well as to supporting the decision-making process of the team as it moves through the phases of the development process. The DFLSS toolset includes conjoint analysis, multigeneration product planning, concept selection methods, TRIZ, creativity tools, design scorecards, simulation techniques, QFD, reliability engineering and statistical engineering.

Rath & Strong helps businesses customize the DFLSS road map to accommodate their specific needs.

“Six Sigma tools, particularly DFSS, are critical drivers of organic growth. DFSS can be used to significantly improve a new product, service, or process anywhere. Rath & Strong's detailed approach to how your company can use these tools is terrific."

Dave Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell
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