What are the Phases of Lean Six Sigma?

Six Sigma applications use the DMAIC principles model to improve the quality and efficiency of their processes. The four letters of DMAIC are the phases of Lean Six Sigma: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control phase.

Companies have always had the goal to increase their profits and sales. These numbers, in turn, reflect product and service quality. The race to the bottom is fiercer than ever with new technologies constantly making their way into the business. Organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and make them more efficient. DMAIC is one reason why more companies are using it. It’s a core technique that acts as the foundation for 6 Sigma projects and any other process improvement project.

Proper implementation of DMAIC has been proven to be beneficial for businesses in many areas. This can reduce the cost of low quality, increasing revenue and improving overall business performance and productivity.

What’s DMAIC?

DMAIC is a data-driven cycle that aims to improve, optimize, and stabilize business processes and designs. Six Sigma projects are driven by the DMAIC improvement cycles.

Six Sigma DMAIC is a five-phase principles strategy that improves a variety of organizational processes. It can be used for software development, manufacturing, and other purposes. This strategy is often associated with Six Sigma but can be used to improve other processes and lean. DMAIC, a data-driven technique for problem-solving, is designed to identify inefficiencies and make improvements more predictable.

The acronym stands to denote the five phases: Define, Measure Analyze and Improve, Control, and Control. It is pronounced.

The DMAIC methodology is rooted in the PDSA (“plan. do. study. act”) cycle that Walter A. Shewhart, a statistician at Bell Laboratories, developed in the 1930s. The technique we know today was shaped by the biggest companies in the world, such as Toyota, Motorola, and GE. You can find out more about Six Sigma development and the history of DMAIC.

Why is the DMAIC Process important?

Before we get into the main steps, there is an additional step that many companies use to determine if DMAIC is the best approach to solving their problems. “Recognize” is the name of this step.

This step is crucial, even though it is not part of DMAIC. DMAIC can’t be applied in all cases. There are specific conditions where this technique can be the right fit for

What are the Six Sigma DMAIC principles?
What are the Six Sigma DMAIC principles?

The Five Phases Of DMAIC

Five key phases of the DMAIC process are required to improve your process, chart goals, track progress and analyze results. These five phases, along with an explanation for each one, are:

1. Define

The Define phase in Lean Six Sigma identifies the most important and significant opportunities for improvement than the other phases. This phase also involves mapping the process, scope, focus, and ultimate goal. It also helps to understand how the problem affects all parties. To jumpstart a DMAIC process, you need to create the problem statement.

These are the other crucial steps to take at this stage:

  • Recognize the high-potential opportunities for improvement
  • Define the scope of your project
  • To document each step of the process, create a value stream map (VSM).
  • To pinpoint customer needs, create a voice-of-the-customer table (VOCT).
  • Identify all stakeholders
  • Project impact and completion estimates
  • Identify and document business opportunities
  • Other related processes can be drawn

The Lean Six Sigma Define principles phase is a key step in moving forward with clearly defined objectives and a timeline to complete the project phases.

2. Measure

The Measure phase allows you to draw baselines that will help you evaluate the performance of your process. It’s hard to track progress without having benchmarks. At this stage,

  • To measure success, develop data collection methods
  • Recognize input, process, and output indicators
  • Examine and collect current state data
  • Analyze the failure modes and their effects
  • Analyze the capability to implement

Visual management tools like control charts, bar charts, and run charts can be very helpful. This stage can lead to better results.

3. Analyze

This phase aims to find and address the root causes of the problem.

These are the most important steps in this stage:

  • A complete root cause assessment (RCA) that covers a wide range of techniques and methodologies including event analysis and the Kepner–Tregoe problem-solving and decision-making model.
  • To identify potential problem areas, inefficiencies, and flaws, as well as defects and deficiencies, failure mode (FMEA), is recommended.
  • A multivariate chart can be used to visualize the variations in a process.
  • Controlling the process
  • Develop a plan to improve

You will be able to capture and document all potential improvements and your plan for action will begin to take shape after this phase.

4. Improve

Now is the right time to make improvements.

The following activities are included in this stage:

  • Think of solutions and brainstorm ideas.
  • To determine the expected benefits of a solution, create a design of experiments.
  • Revision of process maps and plans based on the data from the previous stage
  • Plan and outline a test solution
  • To improve the process, implement Kaizen events
  • All stakeholders should be informed about the solution

This stage is where improvement management software can be very helpful. This software makes it possible to seamlessly move the process, facilitate cross-functional collaboration, and allow the executives and managers to track the progress of any DMAIC project.

What is the define phase in Lean Six Sigma dmaic?
What is the define phase in Lean Six Sigma dmaic?

5. Control

Once you have made the necessary changes and addressed the issues to improve your operations, it is time to control the process to ensure its continued effectiveness.

Here’s where you should be:

  • Document the new work standard.
  • Create a quality assurance plan to ensure that everyone is using the same techniques and metrics
  • Reconfirm the reduction of failures attributable to the targeted cause
  • To monitor the process execution and to identify potential issues, use statistical control (SPC).
  • If necessary, make additional improvements to achieve process goals
  • Process improvements can be made more efficiently with the ” FiveS’s” Lean
  • The document, integrate, and communicate lessons learned

You can calculate the total impact of process changes on cost, efficiency, quality improvements, productivity, customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction after the Control phase.

The DMAIC cycle continues on until there are new opportunities to improve. It takes time, effort, and discipline to start a DMAIC process. But once your team is comfortable with it, they will be able to adapt.

The DMAIC Benefits

It is important that your company has a clear plan for achieving your goals when trying to improve a process. The Six Sigma DMAIC process’s main principle and advantage is its structure, but simple approach. Organizations will struggle to track what is working and how it’s changing or eliminate any that aren’t. Even the most successful process changes will not be implemented if there are no effective controls.

This approach requires extensive documentation and is structured. It allows businesses to improve their problem-solving skills and increase productivity. The data gathered can be used to support other projects in the same company, providing better baselines.

Have you used the DMAIC phases for any of your projects?

Let us know in the comments below.