Embedding Design for Six Sigma (DfSS) by tailoring the customer-specific innovation processes can lead to significantly better results. However, guiding teams through the maze of methods and tools requires a highly specific combination of skills and experience.
“Basically, we make sure every choice in a process is related to a customer’s initial demands,” explains Martijn Riemeijer, Consultant Lean Development & Innovation and Certified Design for Six Sigma ‘Black Belt.’ Martijn has been using many design methodologies for over fifteen years. “The first step is listening to the Voice of the Customer and determining key functions and requirements. Once you’ve worked out your main system of approach, you can decide which subsystems are required. Then, you translate that for each level, right down to components. So, in theory, every nut and bolt can be traced back directly to the customers’ requirements.”
Meeting the deadlines with quality output
“In practice, people frequently tend to get lost in discussions about details, but lose sight of the bigger picture. As a result, they can end up making technically excellent prototypes but these might not be quite what the customer was looking for. This means a lot of redesigning and rethinking. However, the deadlines usually remain firmly in place. We’ve actually just completed two projects in which innovation teams could not move forward. In these cases, we go through the DfSS building blocks step by step with them and see how each of these might add value to their particular project, e.g. by speeding it up.”
Implementing Design for Six Sigma
“The difference Philips Innovation Services, Industry Consulting makes is the fact that we sit down and work with our customers after we’ve provided DfSS training. We take a very content-driven approach and aim to do more than focus on developing prototypes with them. The importance of taking an ‘architectural’ approach to projects, with the aim of getting it ‘first time right’ and getting things finished ‘on time,’ is emphasized. Putting the theory into practice is often challenging at first. Also, adopting such a highly standardized way of working requires quite a lot of focus in the beginning, so coaching is very useful in order to achieve results. Eventually the organization becomes smarter; teams and departments can soon begin to exchange best practices and learnings. In fact, this is an important way to collect and store valuable knowledge within a company.”
“Martijn Riemeijer took me and the team from merely knowing about DfSS to actually implementing it in a project,” says Simon Kuppens, System Architect, LED Platform, Philips Lighting. “I loved his ‘hands-on, working with the team’ approach. This brings real value to the team and project. As a result of putting the Voice of the Customer first, we teamed up with our marketing colleagues and organized a joint R&D/Marketing workshop. This helped us demystify customer needs before we began discussing specs.”
Design for X
DfSS is part of our larger Design for X (DfX) portfolio at Industry Consulting. DfX provides an integrated framework and guidelines for activities where decisions are made while taking into account product design, cost, value chain and marketing, which have an impact on product and industrial process design. It allows organizations to create the exact product portfolio you need while reducing component diversity and allowing for optimum choices in the total fulfillment chain.
Contact us to discuss how we can help drive your business forward with DfSS.