DMAIC Process Improvement...

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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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.

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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.

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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)

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