Improving Speed to Market by Integrating Design for Reliability (DfR) with Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

Posted by Rita Mohanty on Jan 13, 2017 9:26:00 AM

Design-for-Six-Sigma.jpgIn this dynamically changing world of electronics, speed to market is what separates world class organizations from the rest of the pack. Just a few years back it was acceptable to have a product development cycle time be 18-24 months. Today, it is not uncommon to see that time reduced to 3-6 months. As the demand for reduction of development cycle time intensifies, so too has the demand for higher reliability. How are world class organizations meeting this demand? By using tools of the trade such as Lean Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma and Design for Reliability.

Design for Six Sigma evolved from the classic Six Sigma quality process developed by Motorola in the mid 1980’s. While Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma are used for process improvement, Design for Six Sigma is primarily used for product development from the ground up. The core objective of DFSS is to understand customer expectations, needs and Critical to Quality (CTQ) issues before a design can be completed and implemented. The primary goal of DFSS is to eliminate/reduce nonconforming units and production variation. The ultimate goal is to reach that elusive 6σ quality target. In DFSS only a small portion of the CTQs are reliability-related issues. By employing more specific tools, DFSS reduces a significant number of nonconforming units and production variation. However, DFSS seldom considers the long-term (after manufacturing) issues that might arise in the product.

On the other hand, DfR’s objective is to achieve long term reliability by focusing on the early design phase. It takes a systematic approach to the design process that is focused on reliability and physics of failure. The DfR process is key to identifying and preventing design issues early in the development phase by using some very specific tools. However, it rarely considers nonconforming product due to manufacturing process variation.

DFSS and DfR have distinctly different tool sets, yet they also have many tools in common. The Venn diagram shows the different tools used in DFSS and DfR as well as the significant overlap between the two.


Traditionally, organizations have implemented either DfR or DFSS as their primary product development strategy. It is safe to say either one of these processes, when implemented correctly, can improve your product reliability and/or quality. However, when you implement a comprehensive process that includes both DFSS and DfR, you not only ensure high reliability and high quality but also high speed to market.

Explore more about the advantages of DfR in Introduction to Design for Reliability. Download your free copy of the slide presentation now by clicking the button below.

Introduction to Designing for Reliability

Topics: Design for Reliability, Design for Six Sigma

Sign me up for updates and offers from ANSYS, including DfR Solutions, and our partners. I can unsubscribe at any time.