Level-V is a combination of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Design for Six Sigma (DfSS). PLM is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of products from inception, engineering, manufacturing, service and disposal. PLM integrates all resources, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies. The process of PLM was initiated by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1985 when the automaker was looking for a way to speed up innovation and improve its competitiveness.
DfSS is a systematic and rigorous method to support the development of new products that perform at a Six Sigma quality level right from the start. New products often demonstrate problems during introduction and ramp up of production. Would you like to undergo a serious operation by a surgeon who just graduated? Do you recognize that a new car has a higher chance of demonstrating problems in the first year than in the second year? This all has to do with the so-called ‘Infant mortality’ phase of the new product. DfSS brings the process into a controlled state much earlier by focusing on customer requirements and risks at the earliest phase of the development process. Critical requirements and risks will be given extra attention during the development process.
Regularly applying Design for Six Sigma is done by Black Belts, reliability engineers and in some cases by Green Belts. It requires knowledge about all the tools and techniques that are explained at Level-I to IV. Design for Six Sigma is very powerful for industry and high-tech companies like electronics and automotive. The approach is not possible in processes that are not data-driven.