The Cycle of Improvement: DMAIC

DMAIC means
Define
Measure
Analyze
Improve
Control

It is an improvement cycle that is data-driven utilized for optimizing, improving and stabilizing the business design and process. This cycle of improvement is a tool to drive the Six Sigma projects. The DMAIC process is not only limited to Six Sigma. It can also be used for other improvement projects too.

The DMAIC steps need to be done in the proper order, and each step should be accomplished first before proceeding to the next.

Define
This step involves listing down what you know, seeking to clarify the facts, setting objectives and forming the team for the project.
The following are needed to be defined:
The statement of the problem
The clients or customers
The CTQs or Critical to Quality and critical process outputsDMAIC
The process to be targeted and other business processes that may be related to it
The Project’s targets
The boundaries of the project
The project charter – agreed and created during this step

Measure
This step is where data collection happens. The team determines what to measure and how to measure it. A data collection plan is created on this step. Investing a lot of time and effort in assessing the suitability of the measurement system proposed is quite usual.
The following are needed for this step:
The process critical inputs (X) and outputs (Y)
The plan of measurement
Testing of the system of measurement
Collection of the data
A gauge study or Measurement System Analysis

Analyze
During this step, all the data collected in the previous step is analyzed to detect the main causes of the defects. Basic and complex analysis tools are used during this step.

Improve
The improvement step involves formulating creative solutions and minimizing process problems. Brain storming techniques such as Random Word and Six Thinking Hats could be used in this phase. Others prefer to use the more complex analysis tools such as the Design of Experiments (DOE).

Control
This final step includes the monitoring of the improvements to ensure the continuity of success, creating a plan of control and updating all records and documents as required.

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