The DMAIC Methodology: Six Sigma Strategies for Businesses
DMAIC is one of the many methodologies followed in the Six Sigma strategies. It is used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes and outcomes. Comprising of five interconnected phases, DMAIC offers tools and roadmaps that businesses of all sizes can use and implement.
If you're a business leader or project manager who wants to improve their organization, this article is for you. Learn what is DMAIC methodology is and how you can use it for your business for continuous improvement.
The DMAIC Methodology Approach
DMAIC is a quality improvement methodology consisting of five distinct phases. Those are:
To understand this methodology in greater detail, let's explore each phase in brief.
In the first phase, the team must define the exact problem they face and want to solve it. If it's a product issue, asking internal and external customers questions is key to understanding the problem. The inputs for the define phase should come from the voice of the customer (VOC), the voice of business (VOB), and the voice of process (VOP). Depending on the case, you can include the voice of employees (VOE) as well.
After gathering the inputs, aim at creating the following:
- High-level process map (SIPOC diagram)
- Business case
- Problem and goal statement
- Time plan
- CTQ metrics
The next phase is the measurement of measure phase. You start with the objective of collecting data that are relevant to the project and measuring them. Then, your team has to focus on identifying the parameters, steps to measure them, collection and cleansing of data.
The analysis tools can be as simple as an Excel sheet or as complicated as Gage R.
Two common measurement techniques to follow are Process Sigma and Defects Per Million Opportunities (DPMO).
The third phase in DMAIC methodology is the analysis or analyze phase. Your team sits down and analyzes the data measured in the measure phase. Along with that, you find the gaps or deviations between the set goal and actual performance. And you find out the reason why that was the case.
You start with all the possible cases and then narrow down to the specific ones after a series of verification and validation.
Some of the tools you'll be using in the phase are Histogram, 5 Whys, Fishbone Diagram, and Hypothesis testing.
The penultimate phase is the improvement phase. You look for improvement options after measuring and analyzing.
For this phase, the process owner is consulted for his views and expertise. They suggest how the process could be improved. The team designs several action plans and tests each one for selecting the best plan. Finally, the best plan is implemented.
The improvement should be ongoing with continuous feedback collection from all stakeholders, including the customers.
Tools to use in this phase are the Pugh Matrix, Prototyping, Piloting, and Brainstorming.
The final phase is the Control phase. In this phase, the team creates a monitoring plan or system to control the process. This is to ensure optimal performance is maintained.
To start working on this phase, you need to evaluate the post-implementation results. After ascertaining the progress, your team recommends any changes to be made.
This phase is more of a transition phase between the old process and the new process. So you should see an improvement in product quality, output, or the production process itself. Since it's a new process, you're required to train your workforce and, if needed, the customer.
The Six Sigma DMAIC Improvement Process
The DMAIC methodology seeks improvement in an existing process or product. So it's worth exploring what the improvement process entails.
It starts with identifying the problems in the Define phase. Then it's all about collecting and analyzing relevant data. To see continuous improvement within your organization, you need to do two things. Those are:
1.Capture lessons learned and best practices :
You need to actively capture the lessons you've learned after going through the five phases. These are the things that you’ve learned and were something that was not known before. Now you further expand your work on it to look for more improvement opportunities. Lessons are learned both intentionally and accidentally. Therefore, you should have measures in place to capture them. You can capture them at any phase of the DMAIC process. But it's important to define the scope.
2.Document the lessons learned:
In Six Sigma, data is the foundation of product improvement. You look at the data to validate the problem, solution, implementation, and beyond. So you need to document what you've learned in each phase of the DMAIC methodology.
With repetition in data collection, analysis, and documentation, you can significantly better your products or process.
6 Ways to use Six Sigma DMAIC Approach for Business :
If you're looking to get started with the DMAIC approach, there are six ways to consider.
1.Identify the Customer's Need
Everything begins with identifying your customers' needs and problems. You should make improvements and changes within your organization that'd deliver greater value to the end consumer.
2.Define the Process Clearly
You need to clearly define your current process. This will help you identify critical components and come up with potential solutions.
3.Eliminate Waste Efforts
To deliver value to the customers, your company must be working in every direction. The aim should be to reduce some of the efforts that aren't productive.
4.Make Continuous Improvement a Priority
DMAIC should be a continuous affair within your company. So once you start it, you should stick with it for years to come.
5.Lower Your Costs
Wherever possible, you should cut down costs. This is to fund the DMAIC projects and keep your company lean.
6.Improve Customer Success Rate
In the end, gather feedback from customers to learn about their experience. You should benchmark and improve the customer satisfaction rate.
DMAIC methodology is ideal for every business, whether a multi-billion dollar conglomerate or a startup. You keep your cost down while aiming for improvements. Invest adequate time in each of the five phases, which would lead your business to excellence.