Some larger companies provide DFSS training for employees who will be in key Six Sigma roles such as Black Belts. DFSS may be incorporated into overall Six Sigma training, or additional course work may be required of individuals who will be managing or conducting DFSS projects. Often individuals going through DFSS training have already completed Six Sigma and DMAIC training, but that is not necessarily a prerequisite.
When offered alone, full DFSS training programs generally last about a week. Training may be offered at the Green Belt, Black Belt, or Master Black Belt level. Some companies also offer shorter training programs for business executives and others who need an awareness of how DFSS works but will not be conducting DFSS projects themselves.
Participants are exposed to the overall philosophy of Six Sigma and DFSS and to effective project management techniques. The training curriculum may include a section on creating an effective project charter, and another on establishing an organizational change plan.
Many companies and training programs rely on the DMADV framework for DFSS projects. This framework follows five phases -- Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify -- in the same way that the DMAIC process works for process improvement projects. Other programs focus on a variant of DMADV or a framework they have established independently, but the overall approach and elements tend to be similar.
The DFSS methodology focuses heavily on understanding customer requirements, so training programs typically spend quite a bit of time discussing voice of the customer (VOC) principles and tools. Students in a DFSS training program will likely learn about requirement gathering techniques such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews, as well as options for analyzing existing data such as product returns and customer complaints.
Additional tools allow project teams to evaluate customer input and identify customer requirements and are thus a key part of DFSS training. These include the Kano model, Pareto charts, affinity diagrams, and Quality Function Deployment (QFD) or House of Quality (HOQ). The goal of training in these areas is to help participants understand the process of converting customer statements about their needs and expectations for a product or service into specific actionable criteria, known as critical to quality characteristics (CTQs).
The next section of a DFSS training program focuses on using information about customer requirements to guide development of a high-level design for the new product or service. If the QFD has not already been introduced, it will be at this point, as it is a key tool used in translating customer requirements into design elements using a step-by-step process.
Participants also learn about techniques for selecting the appropriate design, creating detailed design plans, and conducting a risk assessment. Finally, participants learn about implementing the final design, verifying the results, and establishing a plan for maintaining performance. Training in these areas may cover tools such as failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), process simulation, design of experiments (DOE) and conducting pilot programs.