How Does Operational Excellence (OpEx) Incorporate Six Sigma?

How Does Operational Excellence (OpEx) Incorporate Six Sigma?

Operational Efficiency

Organizations that strive for Operational Excellence hone their processes to deliver the right results, at the right time, every time. This is where the Six Sigma methodology becomes a focus of Operational and Process Excellence initiatives.

Six Sigma methodology is used to improve the performance of automotive manufacturing processes by eliminating less-than-desirable outcomes. Six Sigma systematically identifies, quantifies, and eliminates the sources of the undesirable results with an aggressive goal of 3.4 defects per 1 million opportunities (DPMO). Cost of poor quality (COPQ) or poor quality costs (PQC), start to disappear as your systems, processes, and products improve. 


Six Sigma is a business methodology that allows companies to drastically improve their bottom line by:

  • Improving business activity processes by reducing variation
  • Increasing customer satisfaction

Six Sigma accomplishes this by:

  • Defining the goals of the business
  • Defining performance metrics that tie to the business goals
  • Using performance metric projects that yield clear business results
  • Applying advanced quality and statistical tools to achieve breakthrough financial performance in the projects
  • Using dedicated, focused, qualified personnel working in a project environment

Six Sigma Flow

CCO has developed the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) methodology and training course which includes the House of Quality, Kano Analysis, FAST Diagrams, (Functional Analysis System Technique), Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Affinity Diagram Method or KJ Method, Critical to Quality Characteristics (CTQ), Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) House of Quality, Osborn’s Rules for Brainstorming, Pugh Concept Selection, and TRIZ, which is an acronym that means “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” and includes 40 inventive principles and 39 design parameters.


This blog covers some of the highlights of CCO’s Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) and IDDOVI:

DFSS is a proactive methodology to develop quality designs and processes at low cost that meet customer requirements and are robust. Many versions of the DFSS process phases exist and are used by OEM customers -  IDDOVI.

I – Identify Opportunity

D – Define Customer Requirements

D – Develop Concepts

O – Optimize Robust Design

V – Verify Design

I – Implement Design


To help understand these, ask yourself these questions:

Identify = Why do the project? What is in scope/out of scope? Recognize Business Opportunity!

Define = Who are the customers and what do they want or need? Understand Customer Wants and Needs.

Develop = Design concepts ... How do we win in the marketplace? Translate the Wants and Needs to Engineering Metrics.

Optimize = Can we make the design robust to variation? Select the Best Concept based on Engineering Metrics. Optimize the design to make it robust to noise (environment and process variation).

Verify = How is the Field Performance? Understand the physics and function of the design.

Implement = Are we ready to Make it Happen? Implement the robust design solution!

DFSS Phase Model

Notice that the cycle begins and ends With the customer.

CTQs = critical to quality = engineering requirements that are highly correlated to customer wants and needs.


I – Identify Opportunity

In this objective, we define project opportunity, develop the project business case, and develop the system boundary diagram or FAST Diagram (more on FAST Diagrams in CCO’s Six Sigma training course).

You also define the project scope, determine team members, develop the project plan and timing, and determine all project metrics.


D – Define Customer Requirements

Complete the House of Quality (HOQ), identifying customer wants and needs, identifying if those customers are internal or external, determine Customer Voices (wants and needs, use Kano Analysis and the Affinity Diagram, and establish Voice Importance.

The Affinity Diagram Method is a technique to gather and organize facts and ideas to form developed patterns of thought. The Kano Analysis is used to prioritize customer requirements as related to product characteristics.

Using these, perform the Customer Competitive Assessment and Engineering Metrics by translating the Customer Voices to Engineering Metrics, determine the Relationship Strength and conduct the Technical Competitive Assessment.

Doing these will help you establish Target Values for Engineering Metrics (CTQs), evaluate the HOQ for Completeness, and compare Flow Engineering Metrics to next level HOQ.

The House of Quality (HOQ) is at the first step in Quality Function Deployment (QFD). QFD is the whole process of the:

  • What,
  • How,
  • Interrelationships,
  • Customer Benchmarks, and
  • Technical Benchmarks.


D – Develop Concepts

This step generates ideas to meet requirements and satisfy the Voice of the Customer. Brainstorming is a common method as well as TRIZ – The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.

Concepts are usually collections of smaller ideas which you then combine to satisfy functions and requirements. This is known as synthesis, the combining of often diverse conceptions into a coherent whole.

You will also identify Design Concept Alternatives and Evaluate and Select Approved Concepts with the Pugh Concept Selection.


O – Optimize Robust Design

In this step you optimize the design selected in the Develop Concept phase for robustness utilizing Robustness Parameter Design.

  • Select design parameter values (control variables) to minimize product variability in the presence of noise.
  • Adjust the output to meet the target.
  • Taguchi’s 2-step optimization.

You will also explore Tolerance Design:

  • Optimize the tolerances of important design parameters and cost efficiency.
  • Quality Loss Function and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) methods.


V – Verify Design

In the Verify Phase, it is important to demonstrate that the optimized design meets all other Critical to Quality (CTQ) characteristics. The product or process is measured against the most important functional and engineering requirements defined in the House of Quality (HOQ)during the Define Phase. You will verify the product or process reduces the symptoms resulting from unintended work in the P-diagram.

You will verify the product or process performance when it is influenced by other subsystems and components, verify that the product or process meets regulatory requirements, and verify the reliability of the product or process using a reliability test.

I – Implement Design

In this phase, you will develop the implementation plan for the verified, optimized design. This can be checked continuously by utilizing Poka-Yoke, DVP&R, PFMEA, Control Plan, Read across, and monitoring field performance.

DFSS is a proactive methodology to develop quality designs and processes at low cost that meet customer requirements and are robust to variation.

The major revelation with the Six Sigma Model is: 

The highest quality producer is also the lowest cost producer’, 


It costs less to do things right the first time!

Grab our “OPEX Playbook for the Automotive Industry” plus a free consultation with our world class consultants!Grab the Download NowThis is your chance to learn from the experts and uncover the methods of action we use to help struggling businesses return to profitable performance