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DFSS Tools

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What is Design for Six Sigma?

DFSS can be loosely defined as...

any systematic approach to design
or re-design any product or service

While the target ratio of defects might be 6 sigma (or higher),

the design team can choose any other target quality ratio,
(such as 1 defect per thousand opportunities, or 1 defect per 10,000 opportunities...)

FMEA template for DFSS
DFSS template - QFD

Download free trial
DFSS templates

Designing a product (or service) and a production process to produce such a high level of quality requires the design team to thoroughly understand:

  1. Customer desires (the spoken and unspoken Voice of the Customer)
  2. Features that fulfill (or conflict with) those desired (Critical To Quality CTQs)
  3. Design specifications for each feature (Target Performance Levels)

DFSS is the label used for just about any systematic attempt to understand those 3 things.

The most popular tools used for Design for Six Sigma are

the FMEA, and the House of Quality QFD

How does DFSS compare to DMAIC?

DMAIC is the acronym for the popular approach within the Six Sigma community

to apply the scientific method for process improvement
(usually with an emphasis on quality improvement)

DFSS can be understood as an attempt to apply the DMAIC methodology to product and process design.

Unlike the rigidly structured 5 steps of DMAIC,

there are many (widely varying) approaches to product and process design, which all claim the label of DFSS.

the scientific method

Learn more about DMAIC, PDCA,
and other ways to apply the scientific method.

Perhaps the most popular is DMAVD

(pronounced dah-mad-vee)



In practice, the team will often add one more phase

to Optimize the design, which then becomes DMADOV

DFSS Tools

Your Systems2win templates come with an entire suite of DFSS templates

that your design team will find very useful when implementing any of the many popular approaches to Design for Six Sigma.

To avoid confusing newcomers to lean six sigma,

the most complex DFSS tools have been split into an optional bundle of templates, but many of these tools are very simple to use,

and are therefore included among the Foundational Lean Toolkit (owned by every Systems2win user)

Design for Six Sigma tools

FMEA Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

This single FMEA template can be used for both:

DFMEA (during the Design phase)

PFMEA (to continuously improve the Process)

Use your FMEA template to anticipate problems, and to design processes and products to reduce risks

Download free trial FMEA template

Control Plan

To more carefully control the most severe or high-possibility risks


Learn more about the Control Plan template

FMEA Control Plan Excel template

Root Cause Analysis

also known as Cause and Effect Diagram, or Ishikawa Root Cause Analysis Fishbone Diagram

Your Systems2win templates give you the choice of several different types of Root Cause Analysis tools, to analyze different types of situations.

The fishbone template has a special feature that empowers you to click a button to import already-known causes from your FMEA so that your team has a helpful starting point to then brainstorm other potential risks and problems that should be included in your FMEA.

Download free trial Root Cause Analysis tools

Brainstorming & Affinity Group Tool

Six Sigma template to brainstorm ideas, then quickly organize them into affinity groups to stimulate even more ideas

Learn more about Brainstorming

Brainstorming template

Relations Diagram

also known as Thought Map Relations Diagram

To identify root causes of a complex, nonlinear problem.

(Use a Cause and Effect Fishbone Diagram to identify root causes of less complex, linear problems.)

Learn more about Relations Diagram

Thought Map Relations Diagram

8D Problem Solving

also known as Corrective Action Report

To provide a systematic way for a team to resolve a problem that has uncertain root causes

in a way that systematically ensures that root causes have been identified and verified, and that permanent corrective actions are validated for effectiveness and instituted in a way that prevents the problem from ever recurring or escaping again.

It has been said that "an FMEA is an 8D waiting to happen". What if it does happen?

Corrective Action Request

also known as Supplier Corrective Action

The Supplier Corrective Action Report template does not pre-suppose that all of the rigid formality of the 8D process will be required. This simple Word template is structured as a one-page letter that simply requests the supplier to deal with a non-conformance issue.

SIPOC Diagram

Use your SIPOC template to identify and eliminate wastes of any kind: hazardous wastes and emissions, scrap, energy, packaging...

Download free trial SIPOC template

SIPOC Diagram Excel template

Process Flow Diagram

Before creating a PFMEA —
use the Process Flow Diagram to identify Sources of Variation, and desired Deliverables (ideal Functions) for each Process Step.


aka Parameter Diagram

Before creating an FMEA — use the p diagram to analyze Inputs and Outputs and Noise Factors and Control Factors that can affect performance of desired Ideal Functions, and minimize Error States.

Interface Matrix

Before creating a DFMEA —
use the Interface Matrix to identify and clarify interfaces between environment, systems, sub-systems, and components that are beneficial or detrimental to functionality.

Also provides P-Diagram input/outputs and noise factors

Interface Matrix template

Function/Requirements worksheet

aka Item/Function worksheet

Before completing the Function and Requirements columns of the FMEA form, use this Function/Requirements worksheet to identify and clarify Functions and corresponding Requirements.

Function Requirements

Characteristic Matrix

aka Product Characteristics Matrix

When creating a PFMEA — identify process steps that can compromise characteristics of the product or service that are noticeable and important to the customer.

Characteristic Matrix template

Design Verification Plan and Report


Formalized testing of product or service to ensure compliance with all requirements.

DVP&R template

House of Quality
Quality Functional Deployment Matrix

One of the most sophisticated quality improvement tools to provide a guiding structure for a cross-functional product development team to rapidly design and deploy new products and services

Download free trial QFD template

Cause and Effect Matrix

A simpler quality improvement tool than the QFD, with a similar objective:

To identify the few process input variables that provide the greatest opportunity to improve the key process outputs

Video: Intro to QFD and Cause & Effect MatrixVideo

Six Sigma Cause and Effect Matrix

Customer Segmentation Worksheet

Quality improvement template to identify and focus attention upon the sub-segments of customers that generate the most value from each product or service

DMAIC Customer Segmentation Worksheet

Voice of the Customer Data Collection Worksheet

To plan and manage the collection of Six Sigma customer data from existing company data, listening posts, surveys, interviews, point-of-use observation, and more

Learn more about Voice of the Customer templates

Voice of the Customer template

Voice of the Customer Requirements Translation and Kano Analysis

Quality control template to translate potentially vague customer comments into measurable functional requirements, thereby strengthening your team's ability to design and deliver products and services that truly delight your customers

Voice of the Customer Requirements and Kano Analysis

Tool Selection Matrix

Use your Tool Selection Matrix (1ToolSelection.xlsx) to choose the right tool,

and to see which tools are split into the DFSS Tools bundle, and which tools come with the Foundational Tools

Download free trial Tool Selection Matrix

Tool Selection Matrix

DFSS Tools

These same DFSS tools are used for Design for Six Sigma, Design for Manufacturability, Design for Lean Manufacturing, and DMADV.

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Your DFSS tools also come with many other useful tools for Lean Six Sigma



to empower every team member






Why re-invent?

Why re-invent?






One huge benefit of owning your Systems2win templates is Support when you need it





Training and Coaching

Consider Training and Coaching to support your teams to succeed





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with an experienced lean advisor








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