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DMADV overview: Featured Article

Motorola developed the Six Sigma methodology in 1986 as a way to identify and remove errors and defects in the manufacturing and business processes. Since this time, Six Sigma has become of one the most popular business management strategies used in a number of different industries.

Six Sigma uses a series of quality management methods including statistical methods. Six Sigma also create an infrastructure within the organization following a method similar to the karate belt system. Each individual is considered an expert in their particular field. The overall goal of Six Sigma is to produce defects below 3.4 million defects per million opportunities. What this means is you will have a 99.9996% error ratio.

Similar to Lean Manufacturing and other business improvement processes, Six Sigma believes that manufacturing and business processes can be measured, analyzed, improved and controlled. Six Sigma also asserts that in order for a process to be successful, it must have a complete commitment from management on down to the last person in the organization. Unlike other processes, Six Sigma also has an increased emphasis on strong leadership and a commitment to making clear decisions that begin with verifiable data instead of assumptions and guesswork. Six Sigma follows a infrastructure of "Champions", "Master Black Belts", "Black Belts", "Green Belts" and "Yellow Belts".

There are 2 different methodologies to Six Sigma, DMADV and DMAIC. Typically DMADV is used to develop or redesign a product, process or service. DMADV stands for:

  • D - Define. Define and design goals that are consistent with customer demands and the enterprise strategy.

  • - M - Measure. Measure and identify critical to quality or critical to stakeholders characteristics, product capabilities, production process capabilities and risk.

  • - A - Analyze. Analyze and develop design alternatives. This will create a high-level design and you will evaluate design capabilities to select the best design.

  • - D - Design. Design the new product, including the details. Optimize the design, and plan for design verification. This phase may require test runs, and prototypes to validate the concept of the design and its effectiveness at meeting goals.

  • - V - Verify. You must verify the design's effectiveness in the real world. This phase requires implementation of the production process and handing the product to process owners.

Helpful Resources:
DMADV Methodology of Six Sigma
This article provides a brief overview of the DMADV methodology of Six Sigma. It breaks down the acronym and discusses the similarities and differences between DMADV and DMAIC and how they can help your business.

Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Philosophies
This web site specializes in Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma philosophies. This particular page provides a brief definition of DMADV. You can link to other articles about DMADV from this web site.

This web site provides definitions of DMAIC and DMADV. It talks about each method separately and how they can improve your current business processes. There is also a diagram of each process so you can get a visual image of how they work.

Wikipedia: Six Sigma provides a great definition of the Six Sigma approach to manufacturing. It talks about the different Six Sigma methodologies including DMADC and DMAIC. There is also a definition of the belt system that goes along with Six Sigma.

DMADV Methodology
This article briefly discusses the DMADV methodology. It provides a breakdown of the acronym and how it differs from DMAIC. It also discusses which Six Sigma process will best suit your needs.

Six Sigma Methodologies
This web site provides an overview of the Six Sigma Methodologies of DMADV and DMAIC. It talks about the similarities and differences of both methods and how to select one for your business.

Six Sigma Method
This web site discusses Six Sigma methods and the different implementation roles. It provides a brief overview of the entire process and discusses how it can work in your business.

Differences and Similarities
This web site provides information about DMAIC and DMADV. It talks about the differences and similarities between the two different approaches and how each approach can help you reduce waste.


This blogging web site talks about the differences between DMADV and DMAIC. It discusses reasons why both approaches can be considered better for your particular situation and which approach you should select.

This web site provides information on the similarities and differences between DMAIC and DMADV. It provides a brief overview of each process and discusses reasons why they are used by many companies.

In order for DMADV to be successful, the company will need to understand the customer's needs and decide which needs are being met and which needs should be improved upon. Complete evaluations of the existing processes need to be made in order to determine how you can satisfy your customers while saving money.

The DMADV process of Six Sigma will help your company develop new products, services or processes. A business strategy will need to be prepared that includes what needs to be improved upon that will result in overall customer satisfaction. DMADV is entirely focused on creating something new instead of fixing the broken product.

As you are aware, each step in the DMADV process follows a different phase of implementation. The define phase requires the most effort on the part of management because it entails spelling out the purpose of the project, the importance, the scope of the project, the deadlines, and all the available resources.

The measure phase will help you learn about your customers and learn how to understand their voice. The measure process will include customer research meetings, benchmarking, and technical research. During this phase you will collect data that can be implemented into a statistical method to produce results about customer requests.

Moving forward with the analyze step, you will look back on the data you have collected from the measure process and use this data as your building block for new designs and new ideas. Once you have analyzed all the ideas, you will move onto the evaluation phase. If you are able, ask for customer feedback during this phase, it will help your team become creative and receive support from the design team. During this phase, you will need to include testing, building, and budgeting. Other factors may need to be included in this phase as well. After everything is ready you will begin the verify stage. This is the last step in the DMADV process and will help everyone involved in the Six Sigma process to transition the product, process, or service to be released to the customers.

One of the biggest steps you need to take when implementing is to follow the karate belt system. The belt system ranking is followed by a hierarchy where each member of the group is responsible for different aspects. There are several different roles for successful implementation of Six Sigma and the DMADV methodology.

The executive leaders of the company consist of top management members and the CEO. These members are responsible for creating the vision for Six Sigma implementation. They are in charge of identifying the problem at hand that needs to be resolved by Six Sigma. These individuals also empower others with the freedom and resources to try out new ideas to improve the overall production at the facility.

Next, you have "Champions"; they are responsible for the implementation of Six Sigma and creating a total "mindset change". It is their responsibility to implement Six Sigma throughout the entire organization in a manner that allows open communication to occur. Champions are also the mentors to the Black Belts.

Master Black Belts are the in-house coaches on Six Sigma. The Master Black Belt's sole responsibility is to the Six Sigma methodology and nothing else. Their job is to make sure everyone understands Six Sigma and is properly implementing it. They act as guides to Black Belts and Green Belts. Much of their time is devoted to statistical tasks and consistent application of Six Sigma across different departments.
The Black Belts work under the Master Black Belts and also dedicate 100% of their time to the Six Sigma process. Their focus is on the Six Sigma project execution, while the Master Black Belt focuses of identifying projects and functions for Six Sigma. Black Belts can eventually move up to a Master Black Belt once they have completed all their tasks and have proven themselves worthy.

Green Belts have normal job responsibilities and also take upon the role of Six Sigma implementation. They are guided by the Black Belts and are supported by them as they strive to achieve the overall objective of Six Sigma.

Finally, the Yellow Belts are the employees who have been trained in Six Sigma. Yellow Belts have not completed a Six Sigma project and are not actively engaged in quality improvement activities. Their job is to assist the Green and Black Belts with their assignments.

Deciding if your organization is ready to implement Six Sigma is not an easy task. Six Sigma doesn't always have instant results and can take upwards of one year before you begin to notice a change. Successful implementation of Six Sigma depends upon several factors. Here are a few tips to help you successfully implement Six Sigma:

Begin with assessing the company culture. If Six Sigma is going to be introduced to your company, it may be a foreign process to your employees if they are not used to a process improvement program. Typically people are resistant to change and it will take a total commitment from management to change the mindset of individuals at the organization. The leaders of the company have the largest influence over the company and without their support; Six Sigma is not likely to survive.

Management must also select dedicated personnel to lead the projects and mentor the other members who are working on the projects. A Black Belt member must be completely committed to Six Sigma instead of other tasks and responsibilities within the organization.

You must also come up with some employee incentives to keep them motivated about Six Sigma. It can be a financial incentive or tied to their performance evaluation, no matter what the incentive is, you need to ensure it will keep the employees engaged.

One of the largest roles in the entire Six Sigma process is the training. If your employees are not properly trained, they will not implement Six Sigma properly. Decide what the training objectives will be, who will be involved, and what type of training will be given.

Once Six Sigma is initiated and everyone is trained, it is time to start generating ideas. It is important to decide the projects based on importance using the statistical methods from Six Sigma rather than assuming which projects are best. Again, management will decide the projects and agree on the importance of each project before they are sent down.

Lastly, you need to have clear and open communication between all the employees involved in the Six Sigma process. Each department will interact with one another at some point and without a clear communication process; the Six Sigma program can quickly become confusing and will not last.

Give the Six Sigma program adequate time to work before you decide to quit using it. Just because you have implemented Six Sigma does not guarantee you will see results. You will be increasing your chances for success by properly implementing Six Sigma and spend time reducing costs and improving processes.

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