DMAIC – Analyze phase [VIDEO]

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The Analyze phase of DMAIC helps project teams identify problems in the production process that cause product defects. This phase of Lean Six Sigma methodology is loaded with tools to help spot the problems in the production process and to determine if these problems are the root causes of defects.

Examine current process to figure out how it works.

Your goal is to identify main process drivers and what are the causes of the problems. 

Be vigilant about finding root cause of your undesirable outputs.

1st tool to help you: Brainstorming

Make brainstorming sessions by gathering cross functional array of employees. from line workers to management. In this way you will get wide area of ideas and often find reasoning behind certain ideas. 

Make sure to encourage everyone to voice their opinions about root causes. You can stick these ideas on sticky notes (and later rearrange them)

Sessions should start with high level questions (“why are our sales down?”). This can be followed by employee answers such as:

  • we have poor quality product
  • we are late with deliveries
  • customers dont like our products

conversation can proceed from there.

2nd tool to help: Pareto chart

In short idea behind this is a observation made by Italian economist Pareto who noticed that 80% of land in Italy was held by 20% people. Further studies showed that 80-20 rule is true for many things and states that “80 percent of problems are caused from 20 percent of causes”. 

It is a chart bar in which independent variables or events are on horizontal axis and occurrences on vertical. All in decreasing order of frequency. 

for example, by analyzing data of returned meals in restaurant by plotting reasons for return of dishes versos frequency  you can quickly identify several vital events that are causing most of your problems. 

You can then determine where to focus your efforts. 

3rd tool to help: Ishikawa diagram. Or fishbone diagram. 

Just like the name suggests – diagram resembles skeleton of a fish.

At the “head” of the diagram, place the statement of the problem. For example by using Pareto chart you identify that customers are returning dishes because they are served cold. 

Then you place “Food served cold”. 

Running along spine is a list of whet can be cause for this. They can be grouped into categories that make up sections of specific causes. 

Although in reality categories may vary, many companies use SIX Ms to separate causes:

  1. Machines: state of equipment required to perform operations
  2. Management: policies and procedures that govern your company
  3. Manpower: people performing operations. It can contain abilities and training of workers. 
  4. Materials: materials that go into process and tools and materials needed to complete process
  5. Measurement: how accurate are you of measuring the process
  6. Methods: process steps needed to complete the process

Tips for analyze phase are

  • if you identify a quick hit improvement opportunity – implement using a kaizen approach 

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