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Evaluating your options (DMAIC, DMADV): Featured Article

Six Sigma is the process of evaluating and changing business practices and processes to make them more efficient and to reduce the amount of waste in the production process altogether.Six Sigma has two main ways it can be approached to improve business flow and productivity.They are DMAIC and DMADV and both methods are based on the ideas of Deming's Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle.The main difference between the two methods is that DMAIC is used mainly for improving the operations and productivity of an existing business and DMADV is used to make new products or new designs.Both are acronyms and each letter represents an aspect of the implementation that helps improve the flow and quality of business.

DMAIC consists of five basic steps and they include: Defining the goals for improving the process, Measuring the important parts of the current system and gather data regarding their effectiveness, Analyze the data and determine where improvements can be made, Improve the process, and then Control the implementation to keep uniformity in the system and so that problems can be solved before they cause major problems.DMADV includes Defining goals, Measuring and finding CTQ's (things that are Critical to Quality), Analyze and find design alternatives and find the best design, Design the details and optimize the design, Verify the design and implement the process of manufacturing.Different methods will work for each business and each company, and sometimes divisions of the same company, have to take different approaches to Six Sigma to make the most of it and to ensure that their part of the business is the most efficient possible.The objectives of both of these methodologies is to reduce the amount of guesswork that goes into producing a product and ensuring that the process is uniform and consistent so that the result or product will also be consistent and of a better quality.Better quality and consistency will eventually lead to greater profits and a benefit for the business and its shareholders.

Helpful Resources:
1. Wikipedia
follow this link to read a short insert about what Six Sigma options actually are.Here you will learn what the acronyms of DMAIC and DMADV actually stand for and how they can be used by your organization.

2. Warnings or Criticisms
This website provides additional resources for understanding your options when deciding on a Six Sigma methodology.In addition to these suggestions are warnings or criticisms to the Six Sigma way of managing.

3. Software Services
If you think that you are going to need some help implementing a methodology such as DMAIC or DMADV there are many companies like the one this link will take you to that can help with their software services.

4. How Six Sigma Works
Read through this portion of a series of article written on the topic of how Six Sigma works.Learn how the implementation roles, tools, and methodologies all work together to create one cohesive strategy.

5. New Design
If you have chosen the DMADV six sigma process as your chosen method for organizational design or re-design, this article and visual aid can be very helpful in explaining the steps that are required for the new design.

This article is useful in that it provides helpful explanation of the two most popular Six Sigma options (DMAIC and DMADV) by comparing the two and balancing out the advantages and disadvantages of each.

7. Six Sigma Methodologies
This article is especially useful to the individual who is interested in knowing not only what their options for Six Sigma methodologies are but how those options deal with the other aspects of implementation

8. DMAIC Process
This image provides an easy to understand table that outlines the steps of the DMAIC process.Follow through the process by following each step in the acronym as they are broken down here.

9. Recruiting
Six Sigma options can be used for a variety of different purposes.Just one of these purposes is in recruiting.Read this article to learn more about how evaluating your options amy lead to hiring a better staff.

10. Implementing Six Sigma Options
Through this link you can find several different articles that talk about the options that you have when implementing Six Sigma and why it is advantageous to choose and follow through with these options including for reasons of reducing waste and reducing costs.


One of the most important aspects of both approaches to Six Sigma is that they begin with a specific problem and an attempt to improve or eliminate that problem.This is why the first step in DMAIC is to define the goals of the process that will yield the desired results in the end.Most people and companies in general are used to defining problems in very broad terms that may not really be useful in the end.This is sometime the hardest part for people, sitting down and determining the exact source of the problem so they can fix it.And example may be that the sales floor is having trouble converting leads into sales.But this is very vague and doesn't give a clear path or suggest a plan of action to be taken.But, stating the problem in quantitative terms helps define where the problem might be coming from.If we know that employee absenteeism has increased by 15% in the last 60 days, then maybe that will explain more about why sales are down and what can be done to correct the problem.So defining the problem area also helps clarify the goal and what can be done to fix it.It is important to make sure that the goals for process improvement are consistent with customer demands and the company's objectives.

Next you need to measure the key aspect of the process that is currently being used and gather data about those processes that will help improve them.For example, if temperature is very important to the product you product, then you need to have regular measures of temperature and make sure that they are within a good range for quality production.The data should be able to tell you why certain problems might be found in the products themselves.Measuring data just for the sake of having it is completely useless and makes the process more inefficient than before.Defining the problem is really just the beginning and then you need to have information that will help you determine which factors influence the quality of your product the most.

Then you need to use the date that you have collected and analyze it and make comparisons with samples taken from the production line.You need to be able to find cause and effect relationships which will eventually lead to pinpointing the problem and then taking swift action to repair the problems that are leading to the quality issues.Understanding the variations in your production process will help you to reduce or eliminate them resulting in higher efficiency which is the ultimate goal of Six Sigma.Analyzing the data also helps you to determine if a problem was simply a random event and that doesn't regularly occur.If this is the case, then you don't need to continue implementing the Six Sigma methods.

Next is improving the design of the production process if you have found that there are problems that need to be corrected.Sometimes these changes can be done quite easily and will little expense other than time, and sometimes they will require redesigning an entire portion of the process.Of course the changes need to be made in accordance with customer expectations and the goals of the company like all the other steps.This step should only be taken if it has been determined that it is a real problem and not just a fluke.Possible solutions should be tested to see if they will really make a significant difference before they are put into full production.All angles of the problem should be considered and there should be an effort to apply multiple different solutions and then select the best one of all.

Then the process must be controlled and data needs to be again collected about any deviations from the target.There should be pilot runs made to ensure that the final product is up to expectations and that it doesn't result in even more problems than the original problem.Sometimes this process will take some time and effort, but ensuring the quality of the product is very important.


This Six Sigma process is more involved with developing a new product or process than improving a new one, but in some cases it can be used for improving and existing one.Some people believe that there is really very little difference between the two different forms of methodology.

This process also begins with defining a strategy and goals that will help throughout the whole process.They again must be in line with the company expectations and reputation and the expectations of customers or potential customers.The goals have to be consistent with both areas for them to be successful and achieve the desired result, which is improved efficiency or profits.Then comes the measurement of the CTQ's, or factors that are critical to quality.These factors include product, capabilities, production process capability and risks.Knowing the values for each of these factors will improve the approach taken to start the production process and really help determine if the right approach is being taken.After that, analysis needs to happen to develop a set of design alternatives that could possibly make it to production.There should be many different designs created and then the best one should be selected for the overall qualities, again which should be in line with the goals set forth.The designing the process and optimizing the process must happen.This phase of the design process may need to involve simulations to determine what the actual product will be like.Then you need to verify the design by having several pilot runs and making short production runs.This will again ensure that the quality is the highest possible and will also help the process owners understand better what needs to be done at each phase of the process.

Some people believe that DMADV is used only for developing new products and services and that DMAIC should be used for existing processes.This argument is valid in most circumstances but there are also some situations in which this may not necessarily be the case.But some people say that there isn't much difference between the two versions anyway.The main difference between the two though is the way that the last two steps are implemented.DMAIC is more concerned with improving and controlling the process than developing a new process.DMADV is more concerned with coming up with a completely new way to produce something than just evolving a system already in place.Some people ask if you can use one in place of the other and there is really no straight answer.It is possible to implement DMADV in the place of DMAIC when the process hasn't yielded the results that you wanted in the first place.The summary would be: use DMADV when you are trying to improve the process and it hasn't worked or delivered to your expectations, or when you want to develop something entirely new.

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