DMAIC Process Steps...

DMAIC explained, the steps in implementing, the advantages and potential risks associated with the DMAIC process. 

DMAIC Process Steps – Process Improvement
Detailed below are the steps to be followed at each stage of the DMAIC process.

DMAIC: relates to the stages of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control which are applied to solve a problem, or to improve a process.

Define phase: This phase explains the problem & customer expectations of the process. Often referred to as the CTQ’s attributes (critical to quality) and the VOC (Voice of the customer).

Measure phase: In this phase the data collection will happen to find out the current situation, e.g. the frequency of defects. During this phase we identify the measures that are necessary to meet CCR’s (Critical Customer Requirements) & CTQ’s.

Analyze phase: This phase places a focus on the “why”, “when” & “where” do the defects occur. This phase helps in finding the root causes for the problem. FMEA is a widely used technique in the Analyze phase.

Improve phase: This explains how can we fix the process by selecting the right improvement plan. Brainstorming is one of the techniques used in the improve phase.

Control phase: This explains how can we make the improvement process which may have been implemented, to remain effectively implemented. It also acts as a measure of the success of the previous phases. Control charts are a useful technique in this phase.

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DMAIC Process Steps

DMAIC Process is one of the analytical tools detailed in the TQM Tools and Techniques presentation

The DMAIC Process
The DMAIC process steps can be summarised as follows:

1) Define the problem to be addressed,
2) Measure the scope of the problem,
3) Analyse the results,
4) Identify and implement an improvement plan,
5) Control to ensure the problem stays permanently addressed.

Step 1: Define
• Define the project’s purpose and scope.
• Define who customers are, what their requirements are for products and/or services, and what their expectations are.
• Define the process to be improved by mapping the process flow.
• Define project boundaries – the start and end of the process.

• A clear statement of the intended improvement and how it is to be measured.
• A high level map of the process.
• A list of what is important to the customer.

Step 2: Measure
• Focus the improvement effort by gathering information on the current situation.

• Develop a data collection plan for the process – Data that pinpoints problem location or occurrence.
• A more focused problem statement.
• Collect data from many sources to determine types of defects and metrics.
• Compare to customer survey results to determine shortfall.

Step 3: Analyze
• Analyze the data collected and process map to determine root causes of defects and opportunities for improvement.
• Identify gaps between current performance and goal performance.
• Prioritize opportunities to improve.
• Identify sources of variation .

• A theory that has been tested and confirmed.

Step 4: Improve
• Develop, try out and implement solutions that address root causes.

• Identification of planned, tested actions that should eliminate or reduce the impact of the identified root causes.

Step 5: Control
• Control the improvements to keep the process on the new course.
• Use data to evaluate both the solutions and the plans.
• Prevent reverting back to the “old way”
• Maintain the gains by standardising processes.
• Outline next steps for ongoing improvement.

• Before and after analysis.
• Effective monitoring of the system is in place.
• Development, documentation and implementation of an ongoing monitoring plan
• Institutionalize the improvements through the modification of systems and structures (staffing, training, incentives)

Advantages of DMAIC
Can realize genuine cost savings.
DMAIC is a particularly astute means of identifying waste and unnecessary rework. A successful DMAIC implementation can pay for itself several times over by greatly increasing the effectiveness of a process.

Structured thinking.
The DMAIC process is systematic and thorough. It enables decisions to be made based on actual data and measurement. The various tools and techniques used in the analysis phase can flush out problems and issues that might not have been exposed otherwise and the approach often brings a fresh way of thinking to established processes.

Looks at the longer term.
DMAIC implementation is seldom about quick fixes. The approach lends itself to longer term process resolution so for established businesses or businesses with particularly complicated processes, DMAIC works very well.

Potential risks associated with DMAIC
Requires specific skills.
DMAIC is not a particularly easy methodology to implement and requires specific training. While many organisations have developed broad internal processes that largely reflect DMAIC, training is still required. Managers leading DMAIC projects need to have specific training, which comes at a cost to the business.

Can ‘de-humanise’ processes.
DMAIC is sometimes criticised for disregarding individual capabilities and performance. DMAIC tends to assume that process owners work at the same efficiency and have the same capabilities, which, as all business managers will know, is rarely the case.

Requires a lot of business buy-in.
DMAIC projects only really work if the business is completely engaged. There is very often a flurry of interest in what is perceived to be a great way to reduce costs, only for interest to flag when the project fails to deliver as quickly as the business had hoped. Established processes can take considerable time and effort to re-define and re-shape and without the business support, old habits and issues will creep back in.

400+ page information & training presentation on Quality Improvement Techniques >>>   

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