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Commonly Used Six Sigma Methodologies

Jun 25, 2008
One of the main objectives is to achieve near-perfect business processes wherein the total number of defects never exceeds 3.4 per million opportunities that might exist for such defects to occur.

For achieving this, businesses mostly use Six Sigma methodologies such as DMAIC and DMADV. Here's some more on the two methodologies to help you understand them better.

The DMAIC Methodology

Short for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, the DMAIC methodology is used when the basic task is to improve the efficiency of existing business processes, products or services. The methodology comprises of a set of step-by-step procedures, in the same sequence as described above.

The first step in the DMAIC process deals with the identification of main problems or issues that might be preventing a given product or service from achieving the desired objectives. In the second step, each of the identified problems and issues are measured in order to understand their overall impact on the final outcome.

After this comes the analyze phase, in which Six Sigma professionals try to find the best possible solutions for the identified problems and issues. In the next step, the devised solutions are finally utilized for making the necessary changes to the product, service or business process.

In the last step, process related data is gathered through control systems, something that allows Six Sigma professionals to track the actual progress. Remedial measures are quickly undertaken in case of any deviations.

The DMADV Methodology

DMADV stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify. This may appear quite similar to the DMAIC process, but the reality is that the DMADV process is a lot different from DMAIC. The most basic difference is that DMADV is used when the task is to design and develop a new product or service from scratch.

This methodology stresses collecting data about customer tastes and preferences during the initial stages, so as to help designers and developers in creating the most appropriate product or service. When this technique is employed, it greatly increases the probability that the designed product or service will find ready acceptance amongst targeted customers.

After the product or service is introduced in the market, the last phase starts, which mainly deals with the collection of customer feedback data. Changes, if required, are made in accordance with the collected feedback and reviews.

In certain situations, when feedback data turns out to be entirely negative, the DMADV process starts all over again. This cycle continues until the desired Six Sigma quality levels are achieved.

Since business processes have become increasingly complex over the years, these two methodologies are nowadays supported by advanced software systems. These help in speeding up the DMAIC and DMADV process, something that has become a necessity in today's highly competitive markets.

The accuracy of these systems also helps in deriving the best possible results from these two methodologies.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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