The second phase in the DMAIC model is measurement. Its objectives are to confirm and quantify the problem; to measure the steps in the current process; to revise and clarify the problem statement, if needed; and to define the desired outcome.
Clear metrics are a key part of success. The phrase "what gets measured is what gets done" was coined for a reason. For better or worse, measures provide focus. A key part of metrics is the goal. In the Measure phase of DMAIC, the team gathers hard data about the current actual performance of the target as-is process. Metrics that teams establish in Measure provide both a baseline and evidence that a problem/opportunity exists. Based on new measurement data, the goal statement from Define is usually refined to become more specific. The right measures will make a significant difference. The team Champion should watch the metrics selected, be sure that the metrics measure significant process gaps, and assure that the metrics tie to strategic objectives.View Details
The Six Sigma team needs to define its goals in a way that can be measured. These measurements have to include:
The difference made by installing internal controls, by tracking variances (even those variances that do not end up as defects)
Defects of various types, employing a before and after study of outcome based on what are assumed to be effective internal controls
Defects by degree, meaning the level of impact a defect has on the customer and how we react upon discovery (referring to the post-defect response time, effort, and attention, recognizing that customer service has a reactive side as well as a preventive side)
Means for determining the effectiveness of the team effortView Details
The objectives of this first step are to develop a baseline from which to make improvements and to understand which of the proposed improvements will have the greatest impact. To do that, it is necessary to understand all facets of the current process, including its defects and their causes. Not only does a thorough understanding of the process help avoid the perpetuation of defects, but it also helps ensure that no potential requirements are missed. For measuring current process performance, it is necessary to plan and execute the measures of performance against the customer requirements. Then it is also necessary to develop the baseline defect measures and identify the improvement opportunities.
The data values for any process or product characteristic always vary. No two products or characteristics are exactly alike because any process contains many sources of variability. The differences among products may be large, or they may be immeasurably small, but they are always present. There are many sources of variation for process and product characteristics. It is common to classify them into two types: common causes and special causes.
S ix Sigma statistically measures and reflects true process capability, correlating to such characteristics as defects per unit and probabilities of success or failure. Its value is in transforming cultural outlooks from complacency to accomplishment across the spectrum of industry. Most companies function at four sigma—tolerating 6,210 defects per one million opportunities. Operating at six sigma creates an almost defect-free environment, allowing only 3.4. Process capability answers the question, what can your process deliver?
The objectives of benchmarking are to identify those companies that perform the process best. It should be noted that for complex processes, a team might benchmark more than one company, because there may be different leaders for different portions of the process. Quantify the leaders’ performance and learn what differentiates the leaders from their competition. In the next phase (Analysis), the team knew it would review the results of the benchmarking and determine how to apply them to improving processes. Although benchmarking is typically performed as a visit to the process leader’s site, it is also possible to gather key information through telephone interviews. In either case, benchmarking’s effectiveness is increased when the team compiles a list of questions in advance. These questions might include the volume of work processed, throughput, error rates, and quality measures, as well as a discussion of how improvements were achieved, how long the current procedures have been in place, and what the company’s next objectives are for improving the process.
Has a more comprehensive Value Stream Map, VSM been created to understand better the process or system and problem, and wherever in the process or system the root causes may possibly be?
Has the team carried out a cycle time and value added analysis, pinpointing areas where resources and time are committed to non critical customer tasks?
Has the team defined the unique inputs (x), processes(, and outputs' (y) measures needed to be compiled for both efficiency and effectiveness categories (i.e. Cost, Speed, and measures) ?
Have the team formed unambiguous, operationally clear definitions for each and every measurement and checked them with other measurements to guarantee definite and consistent understanding?
Has a well-defined, acceptable option been taken between collecting new data or making use of existent data previously compiled by the organisation?
Has a suitable sampling frequency and sample size been determined to provide appropriate interpretation of the process being measured?
Has the measuring process been tested for reproducibility and repeatability, with the potential training of data and information collectors?
Has the team designed and evaluated forms for data collection or check sheets that are simple to use and offer complete and consistent data?
Has the process capability and baseline performance been identified? How significant is the difference between present performance and customer requirements or specifications?
Has the team managed to discover any possible ‘Quick Wins’?
Have any Kaizen improvement possibilities been recognized to speed up momentum and results?
Have important current understandings needed any change in the Project Charter? If that's the case, have any changes been authorised by the Key Stakeholders and Project Sponsor?
Have any more risks to the project's success been determined, included in the Risk Mitigation Plan, with a mitigation strategy established?