DMAIC: A Step-by-Step Process to Improve Business Outcomes

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In today's competitive business environment, organizations constantly seek ways to improve their processes and increase efficiency. One method that has been widely adopted is DMAIC. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. This methodology helps businesses identify the root cause of problems, measure their impact on operations, analyze data to find solutions, implement improvements, and maintain control over the process.

DMAIC is a data-driven improvement process used to solve problems in a business or organization. It is an acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. The DMAIC process provides a structured and organized approach for teams to identify problems, gather data, analyze causes, and implement solutions. DMAIC aims to improve business outcomes by reducing defects, errors, and waste while increasing efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. In this post, we will discuss each step of the DMAIC process in detail.

Let's take a closer look at each step in the DMAIC process:

1. Define:

The first step of DMAIC is to define the problem, project goals, and deliverables. This step involves defining the project's scope, identifying the stakeholders, and understanding their expectations. The team should also identify the process to be improved and clearly define the problem statement. The problem statement should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This step helps ensure the team is aligned with the project's objectives and focuses on the critical issues.

Commonly used tools in this stage include project charters, SIPOC (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers) diagrams, Gantt charts and stakeholder analysis.

2. Measure:

The second step of DMAIC is to measure the current process performance and collect data to identify the root causes of the problem. This step involves defining the metrics, data collection methods, and data analysis. The data collected should be accurate, relevant, and sufficient to identify the root causes. The team should identify the process inputs and outputs and measure the performance using statistical tools.

Commonly used tools in this stage include process maps, data collection plans, measurement system analysis (MSA) and statistical process control charts.

3. Analyze:

The third step of DMAIC is to analyze the data collected in the previous step to identify the root causes of the problem. This step involves analyzing the data using statistical tools, flowcharts, and cause-and-effect diagrams. The team should identify the critical factors affecting the process performance and prioritize them based on their impact on the process performance. This step helps the team identify the problem's root causes and develop a solution.

Common tools in this stage include Fishbone diagrams, Pareto charts, statistical analysis, hypothesis tests and process failure mode and effects analysis (PFMEA).

4. Improve:

The fourth step of DMAIC is to develop and implement solutions to address the root causes of the problem. This step involves identifying potential solutions, evaluating them, and selecting the best solution. The team should develop an action plan to implement the solution and test it to ensure it is effective. The team should also identify the potential risks and develop a contingency plan to mitigate them.

Commonly used tools in this stage include the design of experiments (DOE), Kaizen events, various other Lean tools and pilot testing.

5. Control:

The final step of DMAIC is establishing control measures to sustain the improvements made during the previous stages. This involves developing a plan to monitor and measure the process or system to ensure that improvements are sustained over time.

The team should develop a monitoring plan that includes clear performance indicators and regular reviews to ensure that the improvements made are sustained. Any deviations from the plan should be promptly addressed to avoid a recurrence of the problem.

Commonly used tools in this stage include control charts, standard operating procedures, process capability analysis, auditing and visual management tools.


By following the DMAIC process, businesses can improve their operations and achieve better business outcomes. The DMAIC process is widely used in manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and other industries. It provides a structured problem-solving approach that helps teams work together, identify the root cause of problems, and implement effective solutions. Whether you want to reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve quality, or enhance customer satisfaction, DMAIC can help you achieve your goals.

In summary, DMAIC process consists of 5 stages to improve any existing process: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.

  • Define the problem & what the customers require.
  • Measure process & operation parameter related to the problem.
  • Analyze data & determine the cause of the problem.
  • Improve the process to remove the causes of the defects.
  • Control the improved process to ensure that the problem does not recur.

or simply:

  • Define: What is important?
  • Measure: How is the company doing?
  • Analyze: What is wrong?
  • Improve: Fix whats wrong?
  • Control: Ensure gains are maintained?

A company wants to develop a new process. Which Six Sigma methodology the company would be implementing?


Posted on April 15, 2018 by  Quality Gurus

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