The DMAIC for business process improvement

These days, the struggle to survive is becoming increasingly intense for businesses of all sizes. Special strategies need to be adopted in order to improve the functioning of a company in order to allow it to keep up with the intensity of today’s marketplace. For this reason, many businesses have chosen to seek the advice of experts who can better the overall functioning of their organizations to ensure that they are reaching their highest potentials.

Among all the strategies which has been successfully implemented is the DMAIC Model, which stands for Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control. Experts, including Six Sigma Black Belts, swear by this model for overall business success though quality control, problem management, and common sense. It works as follows:

Define: This refers to defining the goals of any given improvement effort. Top level improvement goals may include strategic efforts such as increasing the ROI or market share. Closer to the operations level, an organization’s goal may involve bettering the output of a given department. On the projects level, the goals may involve decreasing defects and increasing production. Data mining methods are applied here for identifying prospective opportunities for enhancement.

Measure: This phase refers to the analysis of the existing system with various measurement techniques for the defects and levels of perfection that exist. In this step, accurate metrics have to be used to define a baseline for further improvements. This helps Six Sigma team leaders understand if progress has been achieved when process improvements are implemented.

Analyse: this refers to the analysis of the system in order to recognize the disparity between the current system performance and the goal. Statistical tools are applied here for guiding the analysis. The understanding of the relationship between cause and effect is necessary to bring about any improvements, if needed.

Improve: Improvements in existing systems are necessary to bring the organization towards achievement of the organization goals. Creative development of processes and tools brings about a new lease on life for the organization’s processes and takes them nearer to organizational objectives. Various project management and planning tools can be used to implement these new techniques and processes. Appropriate usage of statistical tools is important to measure the data, which is necessary to understand improvements done and any shortcomings that may exist.

Control: The last phase of DMAIC is the Control phase. It helps ensure that variations in the processes are rectified before they have a negative effect. Controls can be used to ensure sustained improvements in new processes and operating procedures. The new project components should become a part and parcel of existing processes. Once all the factors are performing to satisfaction, transfer of ownership should be done to process owners and process teams.

DMAIC is a Six Sigma method used to improve existing business processes. A companion methodology, DMADV, is used when new processes are being designed or implemented. DMAIC is a method or tool put in place with an objective of continuous improvement in mind, working towards a goal of business process excellence.