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It is understood that everything in business is a process. Sales people have a list of companies and contacts that they work in a certain fashion to produce a sale, production receives an order and schedules the manufacturing, and the product is built, packaged, shipped and invoiced for the customer. Yet the question remains that when problems arise with the process, though, should they fix it with a DMAIC or DMADV type project?

It is important to first look at the DMAIC and DMADV methodologies and talk about how they are alike. DMAIC and DMADV are both:

  • Six Sigma methodologies that are used to drive defects to less than 3.4 per million opportunities.

  • They are both data intensive solution approaches. Intuition has no place in Six Sigma it is only about cold, hard facts.

  • Both processes are implemented by Green Belts, Black Belts and Master Black Belts.

  • Both are ways to help meet the business/financial bottom-line numbers.

  • Both processes are implemented with the support of a champion and process owner.

While DMAIC and DMADV sound very similar and the acronyms even share the first three letters there are significant differences. In fact sharing the first three letters in their names is about where the similarities stop. The differences between DMAIC and DMADV is

  • DMAIC is known asDefine, Measure, Analyze,Improve, Control The process is made up of the following components-

  • Define the project goals and customer (internal and external) deliverables

  • Measure the process to determine current performance

  • Analyze and determine the root cause(s) of the defects

  • Improve the process by eliminating defects

  • Control future process performance

The DMAIC methodology should be used instead of the DMADV methodology, when a product or process is in existence at your company but is not meeting customer specification or is not performing adequately.

  • DMADV is known as Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, VerifyThis process is made up of the following components-
  • Define the project goals and customer (internal and external) deliverables
  • Measure and determine customer needs and specifications
  • Analyze the process options to meet the customer needs
  • Design (detailed) the process to meet the customer needs
  • Verify the design performance and ability to meet customer needs
The DMADV methodology, instead of the DMAIC methodology, should be used when a product or process is not in existence at your company and one needs to be developed or the existing product or process exists and has been optimized (using either DMAIC or not) and still does not meet the level of customer specification or Six Sigma level.

Occasionally a project is scoped as a DMAIC for incremental process improvement when what it really required was a DMADV methodology improvement. And worse yet perhaps it was a month into the project that management realized this. The key here is not to be discouraged about the work you put into the DMAIC because:

  • It's happened to more businesses than just yours

  • You understand the process at a much greater detail than you did initially

  • You were able to practice not just DMAIC skills but also DMADV

The idea here is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and re-craft your define piece of the project so you can begin with a fresh look at the project and solutions. Keep in mind that you never know what insights you will have now that you may not have been aware of before.

The bottom line is that both DMAIC and DMADVI are highly evolved processes that will allow companies to focus on the core of their production in both cost-saving and time saving ways that will highly increase efficiency.

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