manufacturing articles business management businesses Marketing sales Technology Business finance Lean Manufacturing small business Investing articles employee health

DMAIC Overview: Featured Article

For over 20 years, Six Sigma has been one of the leading process improvement methodologies implemented by manufacturing firms and other businesses. A basic component of Six Sigma is DMAIC. DMAIC is a way to improve work processes by eliminating the defects to reach a 3.4 defect per million opportunities.

Six Sigma asserts that in order to achieve high quality processes, continuous effort must be made to reduce any variations that may exist. In order to reduce the variations in the manufacturing and businesses processes, each process must be measured, analyzed, controlled, and improved. In order for Six Sigma to be successful, the entire organization must adopt the program and have a complete mindset change.

The methodology behind Six Sigma has saved businesses millions of dollars. Motorola developed Six Sigma in 1986 and they have stated that the program has saved them $17 billion dollars. There are 2 major methodologies behind Six Sigma, DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC is used when you want to fix an existing product or service. DMADV is used when you want to create a new product or service.

The acronym DMAIC can be broken down into the following categories:

  • D - Define. Define the project goals and customer deliverables.

  • - M - Measure. Measure the process to determine current performance.

  • - A - Analyze. Analyze and determine the root cause of the defects.

  • - I - Improve. Improve the process by eliminating defects.

  • - C - Control. Control future process performance.

During the define phase, your Six Sigma team will define all the goals and outcomes you would like to achieve. The goals must be consistent with the demands of your customers and the business philosophy. The define phase is the "roadmap" for the future.

The measure phase will determine whether or not defects have been reduced. You will use metrics to determine the measurements, the metrics used are: input, process and output indicators. The measurements must be accurate and relevant in order to determine whether or not the defects were reduced and if they will continue to be reduced in the future.

Perhaps the most important phase in DMAIC is the analyze phase. During this phase you will determine the relationships and the factors that are causing problems. This phase will help you find solutions to eliminate the gap between existing performances and desired performances. If you are working toward fixing a problem, cause and effect must be considered during this phase.

Helpful Resources:
Differences and Similarities Between DMAIC and DMADV
This web site provides information on the differences and similarities between DMAIC and DMADV. It discusses when you should implement one approach over the other and how it can help your manufacturing company achieve perfection.

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.

Wikipedia provides a great definition about the Six Sigma approach to manufacturing. You can find out information on the DMAIC method and the DMADV method and how each can improve your business.

DMAIC Model of Six Sigma
This web site provides information on the DMAIC model of Six Sigma. It outlines the Six Sigma model in a circle phase and discusses how each step in the DMAIC model is connected to another one.

Six Sigma Process
This web site provides a visual model of the Six Sigma process, DMAIC. It provides a brief definition of each of the different steps in the model and how they are related to each other.

How Six Sigma Works
This article discusses how Six Sigma works. It provides information on its background and how businesses use it to improve their processes. It also breaks down the DMAIC model of Six Sigma.


This web site talks about the different steps in the DMAIC model. It provides a brief definition of each step and talks about how they are interrelated and can help improve your business.

Six Sigma Black Belt
This is a great reference web site for any Six Sigma Black Belt. It provides excellent information about different roles and responsibilities in the Six Sigma method and what the Black Belt does.

Black Belt Certification Online
This web site allows you to obtain your Black Belt certification online. You can take all the necessary courses from the comfort of you computer and become Black Belt certified.

Gemba Consulting
Gemba Consulting provides information on how to implement Six Sigma. They can work with your company to implement Six Sigma and improve the overall production of your company and reduce excess waste.

The improve phase works toward improving your current processes and optimizing these processes based on measurements and analysis that can ensure the defects will be lowered. Quite often, businesses will state that the improvement phase is the most difficult to implement. It is actually much simpler than many people think, you simply determine the improvements that are needed and find ways to fix them. If you wait to long to fix certain improvements, discuss what will happen to your overall manufacturing process.

Control is the last step in the DMAIC methodology. All the tools you have worked with in the above steps will finally be put into place during the control phase. The control phase will ensure that any variances that stand out will be corrected before they can have a negative impact on a process and cause defects. Controls can come in the form of pilot runs to decide if the processes are capable. From the pilot run, you will collect data and the process can then be evaluated and pushed forward for transition into standard production. Continued measurements and analysis are essential to ensure the processes keep on track and stay free of defects.

There is an additional tool to DMAIC, which is to synergize. This additional step is to include every member at the company and make sure there is clear communication. Synergy focuses on sharing the gains and working as a team instead of individuals.

Like DMADV, DMAIC follows a method similar to the martial arts belt system. There are different roles within Six Sigma in order for it to be successful.

The roles are as follows:

  • Management leadership - This are includes the CEO and all the top management within the organization. They are responsible for the overall Six Sigma process.

  • - Champions - This individual is considered the "buffer" between management and the other roles in the Six Sigma process. They are responsible for implementation of the Six Sigma Method.

  • - Master Black Belts - These individuals devote 100% of their time to Six Sigma. They are responsible for the overall mindset change of the company and train Black Belts, Green Belts and Yellow Belts.

  • - Black Belts - The Black Belt is in charge of the Green and Yellow Belts and they are a support for the Master Black Belt. Like the Master Black Belts, 100% of their time is devoted to Six Sigma.

  • - Green Belts - The Green Belts operate under the direction of the Black Belts and play a critical role in achieving results from the Six Sigma methodology.

  • - Yellow Belts - The Yellow Belts are trained in the Six Sigma methodology, but they do not have a role in the overall implementation of Six Sigma.

To implement DMAIC, you must first begin with upper management. Management will select a problem through the statistical method provided by DMAIC. Typically the problems include something related to the customer. The problem must be selected with the knowledge that it is able to be repaired. If the problem is too substantial, then you must use the DMADV model and create a new product or service. The project that is outlined must fit within the guidelines of the organization and reach positive results for the customers.

You must form a Six Sigma team to take over the project. The team usually consists of one upper management person, Master Black Belts, Black Belts, and a few Green and Yellow Belts. The team members who will be contributing should be considered "experts" in their particular field and are familiar with the Six Sigma process and contribute ideas that can be improved. You may choose a team that is temporary, with individuals who are "experts" but are not part of the Six Sigma belt system. The members of the Six Sigma team will learn new skills, gain experience, and learn various types of problem solving techniques.

After the Six Sigma team is selected, they must be trained. For the Six Sigma program, there are online training courses and classroom training sessions. For each level in the Six Sigma program, different classes are required, some taking weeks others taking months. Once the teams are trained, they will follow the DMAIC model and transfer ownership of the solution to the process owner, or Champion. The solution that is reached must be effectively communicated to the workers and all the necessary training must be provided. The solution needs to be a permanent fix versus a temporary fix.

DMAIC allows businesses to look at their existing processes from start to finish and evaluate everything in between. Following the model a project team will decide what the most important requirements are and discuss the reason for selecting this particular project. Each project that is chosen needs to have a project goal and the names of every individual who has stake in the success of the project.

As your individual teams begin the data collection phase, they will use a series of flowcharts to identify the problems and its variables. Once the problems are properly identified, they will discuss the solutions for each problem. The DMAIC training will go over how to collect data, analyze it, and discuss solutions for it. The data should be calculated against customer requirements and compared to other processes within the organization.

Using the data, the root problem will be uncovered. Once the root problem is found, it will be easy to test, refine, and implement a solution. From here, the team will decide the implementation plan and do test runs to ensure the improvement that was made is validated.

Careful monitoring of the fixed problem will continue and will be documented. If the problem persists, the team will go back to the beginning and start the DMAIC process over. If the problem is fixed, new policies, procedures, budgets, and instructions must be clearly written and posted for the entire company. The new product or service will be sold to consumers and ownership of the project will be transferred to the employees who work the process on a daily basis.

Companies that have implemented Six Sigma have claimed that it reduces up to 50% of total cost production, cycle-time, and material waste. Properly implementing the DMAIC model of Six Sigma will increase your overall customer satisfaction, build better products that are more reliable and increase your overall-net profit ratio.

Several consulting firms can help you implement Six Sigma into your company and will provide all the necessary training your Six Sigma team will need. Remember that without the support of management evoking a new mindset, Six Sigma will not be successful.

FREE: Get More Leads!
How To Get More LeadsSubscribe to our free newsletter and get our "How To Get More Leads" course free via email. Just enter your first name and email address below to subscribe.
First Name *
Email *

Get More Business Info
Sponsored Links
Recent Articles


Copyright 2003-2020 by - All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy, Terms of Use