DMAIC is a common technique in Six Sigma, a process improvement methodology that focuses on increasing quality and reducing defects in any process. DMAIC is a five-step systematic approach that allows you to effectively manage process improvement projects. The acronym DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve and control, the steps of this Six Sigma technique.
In the "define" phase, you try to understand the problem by determining the existing performance relative to the expectation. In the "measure" step, you construct a detailed process map, gather specific data and determine the method for performing the process. The goal of the "analyze" phase is to uncover the real causes of the process performance problem. In the "improve" step, you test and implement solutions that counter the found causes. Through the "control" phase, you ensure that the gains obtained in the "improve" phase continue.
Six Sigma Benefits
Six Sigma is not that different from most other process improvement methodologies. According to “Process Improvement Using Six Sigma: A DMAIC Guide,” although Six Sigma has a broad set of tools associated with it, the Six Sigma process has a proven framework that delivers results. One of the most common applications of Six Sigma is process improvement. Six Sigma also comes with a very effective process improvement technique, the DMAIC methodology.
The DMAIC technique offers several specific benefits. First, DMAIC is a very structured approach. This means that it carefully analyzes a process before trying or implementing any improvements. One of the most common reasons businesses fail to implement improvements is that the business fails to perform an analysis before the implementation of the improvement. This can result in a failure to properly deliver the improvements and, in many cases, make the existing system worse.
Other DMAIC Benefits
As a structured approach, DMAIC provides a business with a road map for solutions. This helps the business to solve problems from start to finish while producing bottom-line results. Moreover, DMAIC supports an analytical approach, allowing the business to use the collected data. This helps the business ensure accurate baselines. Additionally, DMAIC allows a business to quantify improvements and find answers to complex problems.
- "Process Improvement Using Six Sigma: A DMAIC Guide"; Rama Shankar; 2009
- "Six Sigma Toolkit - The DMAIC Cycle in 15 Steps"; Suzanne Birkmayer et al.; 2008
- "What Is Six Sigma?"; Pete Pande and Larry Holpp; 2001
Brian Bass has written about accountancy-related topics and accounting trends for "Account Today." He works as a senior auditor specializing in manufacturing and financial services companies for one of the Big 5 accounting firms. Bass hold a master's degree in accounting from the University of Utah.