Using the Six Sigma Approach (DMAIC), provide an example situation that utilizes the five-step plan, and determine three to four (3-4) challenges you may encounter using this approach. Provide specific examples to support your rationale.
DMAIC is a data-driven quality strategy used to improve processes. It is an integral part of a Six Sigma initiative, but in general can be implemented as a standalone quality improvement procedure or as part of other process improvement initiatives such as lean. The five steps of this process are define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC). An example I can use to demonstrate this approach is within my own family business, DCS catering and beverage. We are currently entering into a very high growth period and looking for ways to continue our growth without causing strife for current or new customers. In order to do this, I have suggested that we use the DMAIC approach to determine processes to assist with the growth. First we must define the problem or opportunity for improvement, which is growing without interrupting current and/or future business operations. Second we will have to measure the process performance. We will do this by determining what our current business demand is against what we have forecasted it to be with all new business opportunities. Third we will analyze the process to determine root causes of variation. Ask all the necessary questions, what could go wrong, how can it go wrong, and what can we do to prevent it? Then we will improve process performance by addressing and eliminating the root cause. After all of the questions are answered, fix the issues. Now that we have determined the root cause of any potential issues, correct them before they exist. And last, but not least, control the improved process and process performance. Now that the issues have been corrected, make sure they stay that way. Ensure that all processes that have been put into place are followed and continue to be improved going forward.
Even after putting the DMAIC approach into place, there will still be the opportunity for challenges to arise. One challenge is that that what you thought would be the problem really isn’t the problem at all. I think that that the best way to determine the problem is to wait for one to actually exist. Another challenge would be implement improvements that do not address the problem at hand. At the end of the day this would only be a waste of time and make unnecessary changes within the business framework. And last, but not least, implementing a change in the process that actually works, but not ensuring that this process is followed to the tee. This is where most business fail because they are not following procedures that have been proven to work and have made a change in the business opportunities.
The Define Measure Analyze Improve Control (DMAIC) Process. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/six-sigma/overview/dmaic.html