Lean Six Sigma Project, based on the DMAIC framework, has the target to improve a process. It’s a project because you have a start and an end, and in it you will follow all this phase:
- Define the goal of the project by stating information about the problem, the customer, the opportunity, the resources, and the timeline.
- Measure the actual process without any changes and define a metrics;
- Analyze why the defect exists with the purpose of finding the root cause;
- Improve the process by fixing the defect;
- Control how the process works with the adjustment.
In other words, we start our project by defining the actual process and performance; then, we will analyze and improve it and then measure our improvements. So a central part of this kind of project is that you can numerically show the improvement of your project. To do that is important to work with data.
We will show you all the tools that can help you for each phase in this course. What tools to use depends on the project and your experience.
For instance, in the Define phase, you will define the boundary of your project and what you will achieve on it. The main output of this phase are:
- Write down the Voice of the Customer in a measurable way;
- Map the current process;
- Define the boundary of your project and what you want to achieve with it.
In the Measure Phase, you want to start from the current process map and look at how it performs. The main output of this phase are:
- Identify data that you need to collect;
- Defining metrics to measure the process;
- Defining how to collect that measurement;
- Collect data.
In the Analyze phase, you want to find the defect in the process and then find the root cause. This is important for the next step of improvement. So in this phase the main output is the defect well defined with it’s cause.
In the Improve phase, you use the root cause of the problem to experiment and find an improvement. One essential tool of this phase can be the Design of the experiment. The main output of this phase is a solution for the problem that is effective.
Finally, in Control Phase, you want to control the result of improvement. In this control phase, you wish to continue to “work” even after the end of the process. The main output of this phase is to asses if the improvement works and continues to work even in the future.
It’s important to know that the tools of the DMAIC can be used in different steps of the process. For example, you define and map the strategy in the define phase. Then you can use this map to assess what measurement you need to do. Next, you can use the map to visualize the process in the analysis phase during the root cause analysis. For this reason, it is better if you focalize your attention on the output of the phase instead of on tools.