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DMAIC: improvement cycle for optimization and stabilization of processes

DMAIC: Improvement Cycle For Optimization And Stabilization Of Processes

Continuous improvement is one of the major concerns of companies to grow, optimize their processes and therefore be more profitable.

To this effect, we regularly talk about the different existing tools in Lean such as the 5S work site, the Monozukuri, the Jidoka or the Poka Yoké, PDCA

Today we will see together how the DMAIC method based on the improvement cycle allows companies to optimize and stabilize their processes.

Definition of DMAIC :

Continuous improvement is part of the priorities of a company and to do this, it must implement tools and methodology to optimize and control its processes in order to have a competitive advantage and be more profitable in a world increasingly competitive.

The DMAIC method is one of the approaches aimed at solving problems and improving performance within the framework of a Lean Six Sigma project.

The DMAIC method is above all a common sense approach to be applied on a daily basis in project mode if one wishes to find a lasting and definitive solution to problems, whether they are: reducing irritants, eliminating non-conformities, improving the customer experience, etc.

Based on data analysis, the DMAIC methodology allows for the optimization and stabilization of company processes, whether they are industrial, logistical, commercial or administrative.

Created at the end of the 1980s, the DMAIC method is closely linked to the 6 Sigma approach.

How to implement the DMAIC method in 5 key steps:

To implement the DMAIC methodology, simply follow the 5 steps of this scientific problem-solving method:

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Improve
  • Control

First step: Define

As with all Lean tools, the first step generally consists of an inventory to define each problem and associated objectives, such as: identifying customers and their expectations, what are the causes of variability, what is the process map to be improved, what part of the process is problematic, is the problem serious, does the problem need to be addressed immediately…

The company should not only define the problems and their consequences, but also look at the structure of the organization and the responsibilities of each person.

It is also necessary to define the objectives to be put in place as well as the teams that will be in charge of the project, passing by the resources and the tools to be allocated to tackle the problems.

Then a synthesis of all the data must be established by determining the potential gains in budget and performance.

Second Step : Measure

Once the problems have been identified and the process mapped, the second step is to measure the performance and determine the actual indicators of the process.

This is a way to better assess the current situation of the company with numbers and data, thus allowing to better quantify the problem and to be able to compare the results over the course of the project.

The data will be processed and prepared, as the reliability of the variables as well as the data will help to obtain relevant indications. The apprehension and elimination of root causes also goes through this step, the objective being to reduce their number as much as possible.

This step consists of using tools to evaluate the processes in a precise manner with the help of variables, statistics and cause and effect relationships.

It is important to gather relevant and accurate data because poor measurements can have significant repercussions on the analysis and then on the other phases of the DMAIC.

Third Step : Analyze or analysis

This important phase consists in studying in detail the measurements obtained during the second phase.

Moreover, the identification of root causes can be simplified by the use of problem-solving tools such as brainstorming.

Other tools, such as statistical tools, can be used to demonstrate the links between the input data and the output parameters.

Thus, the company can begin to validate waste and causes of variability. This phase brings to light the real source of the problem, thus allowing to find the necessary solutions during the next step.

Fourth Step : Improve

It is through this step that the company establishes different solutions aimed at reducing variability and thus bringing the process under control.

The prioritization of solutions is essential for their implementation.

Through this step, the company can determine which solutions are the most important in terms of urgency and efficiency.  This step is about improvement or innovation, which requires creativity, co-creation, reflection and expertise. It may be easy to identify a problem, but innovating to solve those same problems can be much more complex.

After a technical and economical validation, each solution will have to be tested with different tools in order to prove their efficiency.

Fifth Step : Control

This last phase ensures that the innovations and improvements are implemented correctly by defining a control plan for the solution based on relevant indicators.

The objective is simple: to guarantee the durability of each solution implemented by avoiding a drop in performance.

Thanks to the DMAIC method, corrections are possible in order to improve the solutions provided if the results are not conclusive.

Controls are important in DMAIC because very often new methods are implemented, but a few weeks or months later, we observe a return to the initial situation due to a lack of follow-up and control.

SNECI and the DMAIC support

SNECI has 70 years of expertise in improving industrial and commercial performance thanks to 450 experts working in more than 50 countries and our 10 subsidiaries, allowing us to have an agile, local, technical and efficient approach.

Beyond the 5 key steps of DMAIC, SNECI supports you in the standardization of the DMAIC method through training, action plans and regular monitoring.

Our experts in industrial performance are able to support you in project management, reengineering, process optimization, production line launch, auditing, training…

Our Gemba & Six Sigma approach allows us to ensure that any project lasts over time and that proven solutions continue to be applied correctly within companies.

5S, Jidoka, Poka Yoké, Monozukuri, Costing, are some of the tools, methodologies and solutions we provide on a daily basis to both manufacturers and suppliers worldwide.

If you wish to exchange with one of our experts, do not hesitate to contact us directly via our website or to contact Laura Zimmer by email at who will answer you within 24 hours.

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