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Integrating Design for Six-Sigma into Project-Based Learning

Design for Six-Sigma (DFSS) has been a Best Practice staple for many years in industry and has proven valuable in providing quality products. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Xerox have teams that are specifically tasked with training, certifying, and implementing DFSS into their work force. It has been estimated that it costs between $5,000 to $8,000 in industry to train and certify an employee for a Green Belt in Six-Sigma. The companies that have adopted DFSS have stated that there is an advantage of new hires having experience in Six-Sigma. This tends to give an edge during an interview process to the student with this knowledge.

In Academics, traditional training of Six-Sigma techniques have been from specifically designed courses that describe the hierarchy of the process and work down into the tools used in each phase of the process. This certainly is an effective technique to introduce the concepts of DFSS but suffers from a disconnect between academic and direct applications.

The Mechanical Engineering Technology program has implemented a Design for Six-Sigma approach directly into two core courses of the MET program. The focus is upon the course content and solution of the problem while implementing the set of DFSS tools and its process to aid in the solution of the problem. Both of these courses are heavy project-based with the team project counting to upwards of 25% of the final course grade. Both courses have been identified as providing an integrating experience for ABET evaluations.

This report discusses the implementation process, along with its concerns and benefits, of integrating the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) and the DMADV2 into the MET Failure Mechanics and Machine Design courses. This report presents some initial results experienced by the students and industry as it relates to Co-op and new hires. It will also discuss the impact experienced on the course projects and the faculty overseeing them.