DMAIC is an acronym that stands for, “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.” It is a popular improvement cycle that is used in many business environments. One of the most common places where DMAIC is used is in Six Sigma projects. These projects look to make improvements on products, reduce waste, and improve the way a facility operates. By following through the cyclical strategies, a business will be able to continuously improve specific areas. The following is a brief introduction to what each of these sections is.
In the define section a team will look to identify key pieces of information including who the customer is, what their critical to quality issues are, and what the core business need is. This will help to focus a project on a specific area so improvement can be made.
When measuring it is necessary to gather as much information about how things are currently done as possible. Knowing the starting point is not only important for determining what steps can be taken to improve, but also will allow accurate measurement after changes are made. This will help to ensure changes had the desired effect.
Analyzing the process to see where defects exist, what their root cause may be, and anything else related to the change is done here. When done with this stage the team should be able to list gaps between current production and their goals.
This is where specific steps are developed and implemented to attempt to address a problem. Once a plan of action is developed, the changes are put into practice to see if they are effective. In many cases, only small changes are going to be made so that the results can be properly measured.
Steps need to be taken in order to ensure the changes to the way things are done remain in place. Without good controls, a team can easily slip back into old habits, which will cause the improvements to be lost.
Remember, DMAIC can be used over and over again until a system is running in an ideal way. This continuous improvement can be a very effective way to operate a business.
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