Six Sigma is all about defects — the methodology reduces the chances of errors in processes to improve productivity and quality. What confuses many, however, is the approach to adopt: DMAIC vs DMADV.
There are significant differences between them both and understanding them better will help you pick the right methodology for your specific needs.
DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. DMAIC is a continuous improvement methodology used in Lean Six Sigma.
The key here is to remember that DMAIC is used to improve processes that already exist, not for creating new processes, products, or services. Let’s understand each aspect of this methodology in greater detail.
Define entails defining the problem at hand, understanding the outputs that need improvements, and the processes involved.
The Measure phase involves measuring process data to create a baseline.
This phase involves analyzing the data collected in the previous stage to gather insights and identifying the causes of the problems faced.
This stage involves creating solutions to remove the problems at hand. The solutions are tested and deployed for improvements.
Process controls are implemented to ensure the improvements continue unabated.
DMADC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify. The DMADV approach is used when a new product or service is designed. Let’s go over the different stages of this methodology.
This stage involves a clear definition of the process and the intended goals for the new design. This is an important stage, as only when the goals and processes are clearly defined can they be created.
This involves identifying all parameters which will be significant to the quality of the product, service, or process. Such parameters will also be measured.
At this stage, the collected data is analyzed to close in on the best design.
The Design stage is where the new product, service, or process is actually designed and tested.
The verification stage involves the practitioner ensuring that the new design meets all the targeted goals and requirements and attains expected performance levels.
DMAIC vs DMADV
As you might have noticed already, there’s a lot of overlap between the DMAIC and DMADV approaches, and significant differences too.
Let’s first understand the similarities between the two approaches.
- Both approaches require a clear definition of the processes to be improved or created.
- Both DMAIC and DMADV require the collection of data to understand baselines or establish target goals.
- The end goal in both approaches is the same as well — higher customer satisfaction levels are of primary concern.
- Both approaches require focused efforts from teams.
We’ll now see the main differences between these approaches.
- DMAIC seeks to improve processes that already exist. On the other hand, DMADV works on creating new processes.
- The two approaches also differ in how they achieve similar objectives. While DMAIC is mostly reactive in nature as it removes defects that exist in processes, DMADV takes a more proactive approach and works to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
- While DMAIC includes a Control stage to ensure improvements are continuously sustained, DMADV has Verify and Validation stages.
- DMAIC in the Measure stage is more concerned with the current performance levels of processes to establish a baseline. DMADV, on the other hand, is focused on measuring customer requirements.
When to Use DMAIC?
So, when should you use the DMAIC approach when implementing Six Sigma for your business? The answer is simple — if you wish to improve business processes that already exist but are no longer sustainable or are not performing satisfactorily, you should be using the DMAIC approach. This is because this approach helps improve existing processes.
When Should You Use DMADV?
If you’re desirous of creating new products or services, you should use the DMADV approach since it is new and design-focused. DMADV does not work for existing processes, products, or services and is used to proactively design new products or services which can achieve the desired objectives efficiently.
Putting Strings Together
Six Sigma is a powerful approach that holds the power to truly transform your business. On one hand, the methodology can help improve failing processes that no longer perform, and on the other hand, it can help design new processes from scratch in a highly structured manner.
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