What is it: The DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) is a six sigma process that is a structured approach for leading continual and breakthrough improvement initiatives. The DMAIC structure/model is based on the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. The DMAIC methodology differs from conventional problem solving in one significant way, that there is a requirement for proof of cause and effect before improvement action is taken. Proof is required because resources for improvement actions are limited in most organizations.
The steps in the DMAIC process:
- Define phase: Understand what process is to be improved and set a goal
- Measure phase: Measure the current state
- Analyze phase:
- Develop cause-and-effect theories of what may be causing the problem
- Search for the real causes of the problem and scientifically prove the cause-and-effect linkage
- Improve phase: Take action
- Control phase:
- Measure to verify improvement has taken place
- Take actions to sustain the gains.
Why use it: DMAIC Problem-Solving (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) is a step-by-step problem-solving methodology used by many companies for teams to address and solve problems by uncovering and eliminating the root cause of the problem.
Where to use it: DMAIC is a core part of the six sigma process mainly used in manufacturing environment .
When to use it: DMAIC methodology is a search for the real causes of problems, then applying the various tools and techniques used to answer these questions in difficult to solve problems.
How to use it: The DMAIC methodology generally follows the following guidelines:
- Prioritize and select project
- Define project boundaries, measures, and project outcome
- Charter team, define roles and responsibilities
- Define customer and supplier requirements
- Assess current measurements, measurement capability
- Develop measurement plan, correct measurement system
- Gather data on the process, its inputs, and its outputs
- Map current value stream
- Use statistical and analytical tools to understand the process
- Fix the obvious
- Make additional measures as needed
- Do detailed process mapping
- Create future value stream map
- Eliminate or reduce root causes of input/output process variables
- Improve or re-design the process
- Implement workplace organization (5S)
- Improve material replenishment system (e.g., Kanban)
- Implement Visual Controls
- Pilot and verify changes, then implement
- Error proof the improved process
- Study measures to confirm effectiveness, or make changes
- Implement statistical process control
- Document new value stream
- Document and standardize the process
- Final report