Friday, February 21, 2020

DMAIC and DMADV Six Sigma; Which is Right for Me?

The two primary Six Sigma methodologies are DMAIC to address chronic quality problems and defects, and DMADV to help ensure that products and services function well from the voice of the customer through the delivery of goods.  In this two-part article series, we’ll break down DMAIC and DMADV to their cores, and explain why your company would decide to utilize one method over the other.

If solutions to your problems are elusive, you don’t know their root causes, or if you must attain quality levels measure in parts per million, Six Sigma will place your ailing process under a microscope to find those causes and their effective solutions. The DMAIC steps are:

  1. Define the problem as clearly as one can in words.
  2. Measure the current level of performance and identify the voice of the customers.
  3. Analyze collected data to determine the cause(s) of the problem.
  4. Improve by selecting the right solutions to solve the problem.
  5. Control to hold the gains.


With these fundamental steps, Six Sigma enables many organizations around the world to succeed in achieving performance breakthroughs where they have failed before.  The smart companies recognize this as not simple a “fix” to one-time problems, but truly a new way of doing business.  More than just a formal program or discipline, Six Sigma is an operating philosophy that can be shared beneficially by everyone: customers, shareholders, employees, and suppliers.  Fundamentally, it is also a customer-focused methodology that drives out waste, raises levels of quality, and improves the financial and time performance of companies to breakthrough levels.  Organizations worldwide are continuing pressure to control costs, maintain high levels of safety and quality, and meet growing customer expectations.  This breakthrough improvement process of Six Sigma has been adopted by many companies, including Samsung, General Electric, Honeywell (Baldrige Award recipient 2009), The Mayo Clinic, Bank of America, and other organizations, as the most effective method for achieving these and other goals.

Six Sigma Works for Production, Service, and Transactional Processes

The Six Sigma movement has gained interest in health care, financial services, legal services, engineering, consulting, government, and almost all organizations.  In addition to achieving major improvement in manufacturing goods, managing inventory, delivering products, and managing repetitive processes, the Six Sigma methods have migrated to transactional processes.  Processes that avoided continuous improvement because, as many state, “the tools did not apply to us” have joined the Six Sigma bandwagon.  Processes like completing an invoice, writing a contract, and boarding passengers on an airline, in addition to banks, hospitals, insurance, government, and other service organizations have successfully implemented Six Sigma.  Most prospered in:

  • Optimizing equipment usage
  • Experiencing fewer rejects or errors
  • Cutting response times to customer inquiries
  • Reducing inspection, maintenance, inventory, and supply chain costs
  • Creating more satisfied customers, external as well as internal

When implemented strategically, Six Sigma also:

  • Helps turn over working capital faster
  • Reduces capital spending
  • Makes existing capacity available and new capacity unnecessary
  • Fosters an environment that motivates employees
  • Improves morale, teamwork, and career potential

Stay tuned for the next article, “Part II: DMADV – Designing and Developing Something New, Defect-Free.”

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Posted in: Baldrige

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