Many people are familiar with Six Sigma, a set of management techniques that helps companies minimize the likelihood of errors and improve the customer experience. Your company may have even chosen to implement Six Sigma and if this is the case, they probably implemented it using DMAIC.
If Six Sigma is the methodology, then DMAIC serves as the roadmap for business to solve problems and improve their processes. DMAIC is an acronym that stands for define, measure, analysis, improvement, and control.
Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.H. James Harrington
This article will look more deeply at each of the five steps involved, the history behind it, and the benefits of using it to implement Six Sigma.
What is DMAIC?
Companies choose to implement Six Sigma so they can reduce variation and waste in their organization. This can be accomplished through three different strategies: DMAIC, DMADV, and DSFF. For this purpose of this article, we will only be looking at DMAIC.
DMAIC is often considered to be the building blocks of the Six Sigma methodology. By using it, businesses can begin to make improvements without unnecessary experimentation.
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The acronym stands for define, measurement, analysis, improvement, and control and it has helped many businesses reduce errors. Here is a closer look at each of the five steps involved:
In the define phase you should ask yourself two very important questions:
- What is the problem?
- How has the problem affected my company?
Once you have the answer to those two questions, you can begin defining the goals of your project. Then you can evaluate all your available resources, support, and create a plan. Helpful tools to use during this phase are a project charter or a workflow diagram.
During the measurement phase, you need to look closely at the system you already have in place so you can see what is and isn’t working. Once you have measured all the data you can determine the root of the problem and start figuring out ways to fix it. A data collection plan is a helpful tool to have on hand during this phase.
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In the analysis phase, you need to analyze your findings from the measurement phase. By analyzing the data you can narrow down the root cause of waste and error. A cause and effect diagram is a good tool to use during this phase.
Now that you understand the problem, it’s time to brainstorm possible solutions! During this phase, you can come up with possible solutions, test and implement these solutions, and make any necessary changes.
Your work has only just begun when you implement a new process; now it’s time to maintain that process. This final stage in DMAIC involves making continuous improvements and coming up with strategies that will maintain the effectiveness of your process.
Businesses can implement many positive changes by using DMAIC but these changes will only last when employees do the work of constantly improving them. It is helpful to create a control plan and to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of everyone who will help maintain the process.
The History of DMAIC
You may not realize that DMAIC was not part of the original development of Six Sigma in the 1980’s. Originally, when Six Sigma was developed at Motorola it was called the “Six Steps to Six Sigma”. Those steps can be summarized below:
- Identify the product or service being provided.
- Define who the customer is and what is important to them.
- Identify what you need to provide that product or service.
- Describe the process for completing your work.
- Improve the process by eliminating variation and waste.
- Continually improve the process by measuring, analyzing, and controlling the process.
While there are similarities to DMAIC it was actually introduced later. DMAIC is now a core component of Six Sigma and has helped many businesses achieve meaningful, long-lasting results.
The Benefits of DMAIC
Many businesses have implemented Six Sigma and experienced massive transformations in their revenue and the customer experience. Six Sigma can help companies improve their bottom line and improve the quality of their product or service. Here are three key advantages of using DMAIC to implement Six Sigma:
- Higher revenue
When companies streamline their processes through DMAIC they will have higher levels of productivity. As they begin to increase their production with fewer defects they will typically begin to bring in more revenue.
- Decreased Cost
Many companies don’t realize how much time and resources they are wasting. DMAIC helps companies reduce the amount of wasted time and resources which will save them money in the long run.
- Increased productivity
The sole purpose of implementing Six Sigma is to reduce waste. This will increase an organization’s productivity as they are able to produce more while using fewer resources.
DMAIC is a five-step process that focuses on improving quality while minimizing defects in a process. It has helped Six Sigma to become a process that delivers effective results for many businesses. DMAIC serves as a roadmap for helping businesses find solutions and produce better results.
By using DMAIC, businesses can improve the quality of their products and services, increase their revenue, and decrease their overall costs. However, even though it is a proven strategy its effectiveness depends mostly on how well it is implemented and maintained.
The truth is, over 60 percent of companies who use DMAIC to implement Six Sigma do not achieve the results they were hoping for. This can happen when companies stop implementing each of the five steps and fall back into the old habits that created the original problems.
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