The Six Sigma process works well for manufacturing reducing defects to 3.4 defects per million units produced. Motorola claims to have saved over $17 million dollars since its implementation in the mid 1980s. In other fields where customer service is also important, the Six Sigma Lean process has proven more successful with its use of the 5 step DMAIC (Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control) method.

However, both of these systems work for organization with pre-existing product lines. What about innovation? There was an issue with Six Sigma businesses when they found that they could not move past the three Sigma level without completely redesigning a product, implying that the Six Sigma level had to be designed into a product. Others report that Six Sigma reduces creativity and stifles research.

To achieve this, Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), the newest approach related to Six Sigma, was created. With DFSS, product design can be incorporated with Six Sigma principals from inception. The traditional DMAIC (Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control) process which is concerned with resolving manufacturing variation, is replace by a new process in Design for Six Sigma, as the name implies; DMADV stands for Define – Measure – Analyze – Design – Verify. By starting with the Six Sigma design, customer needs can be met during product design. DFSS differs from the traditional Six Sigma process simply in focus. Design for Six Sigma has been developed for product engineering, while the original Six Sigma process is meant to improve existing designs and chains.