A study on critical failure factors of Design for Six Sigma in Indian companies: results from a pilot survey

Shreeranga Bhat, Jiju Antony, Gijo E.V, Rajesh Koul, Elizabeth A. Cudney, Ayon Chakraborty

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations


    Purpose: While Six Sigma (SS) has been deployed effectively in Indian manufacturing and service sectors as a process improvement methodology, the implementation of Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) for robust product and service development has not shown noticeable results. Therefore, this article aims to determine the critical failure factors (CFFs) of DFSS in the Indian context. Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents the results of a pilot survey on the CFFs of DFSS in Indian companies. The survey participants were specialists in DFSS who have been involved in DFSS projects in their past and present companies. Moreover, the pilot study participants were DFSS Champions, Master Black Belts, Black Belts and Green Belts from the manufacturing and service sectors. Findings: Company-wide applications of DFSS are very limited in India. Most of the DFSS project failures are reported in the Analyse phase of the project. The results indicated that all 18 CFFs used in the survey have a significant impact on project failures. Also, it was determined that all CFFs are positively correlated with each other. Further, a strong correlation was observed between the voice of the customer (VOC) and project selection and prioritisation. In addition, effective training showed a strong correlation with the right selection of tools. Research limitations/implications: The pilot survey was based on a limited sample size. Moreover, the study is confined to only the Indian context and data were collected through the authors' networks. However, respondents were proficient, certified and involved in DFSS project deployment in the manufacturing and service sectors. Therefore, the study's findings are useful and meaningful to draw robust inferences. Originality/value: To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first empirical study conducted in the Indian context to identify the reasons for DFSS project failures. The study's findings can aid academicians and practitioners in comprehending and critically examining the CFFs of DFSS before executing a project. Moreover, the research outcome motivates policymakers to create an ecosystem to effectively adopt DFSS for start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to ensure a circular economy and support the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiative.

    Original languageBritish English
    JournalTQM Journal
    StateAccepted/In press - 2022


    • Critical failure factors
    • Design excellence
    • Design for Six Sigma
    • India
    • Survey


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