The Measure phase of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control) involves data collection to establish baselines and identify the root causes of waste.
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The Aim of the Measure Phase
Like each of the five phases of Lean Six Sigma, the Measure phase holds immense importance in process optimisation. This phase establishes how a process is currently performing. This helps to measure improvement at later stages of DMAIC. Measurement of a process also helps to determine the root causes of waste, which are then eliminated during the Improve phase of DMAIC.
Establishing the Baseline
Measurement is conducted through data collection. Since data collection is time consuming, it is important to consider the time it will take to collect data and which sources will be used in collecting it.
Establishing the baseline or the current state of a process helps to determine what changes are decided upon and implemented. The data collected at this stage is used to measure improvement in a process in future. Therefore, collection of data and establishing of baseline based on it must be handled meticulously during this phase.
Planning Data Collection
When collecting data, it is crucial to create a plan of how much data needs to be collected, from where it must be collected, and which team members will collect the data. Planning ensures that relevant data is collected within a specified time period.
Data that is collected is tested for refinement. As the data collected is used to measure improvement at later stages of process improvement, it is vital that data is relevant and useful for the implementation of DMAIC. Therefore, data is examined carefully at this stage to rule out the possibility of errors.
Identification of Defects
Along with identifying the baseline, the Measure phase also involves finding the root cause of defects that are leading to waste. By analysing the data collected, a Lean Six Sigma team identifies the root cause of problems that are reducing the productivity of a process. At this stage, correction is not done. The purpose of the Measure phase is only to find the root cause of defects and to establish the current state of a process.
DMAIC is conducted to achieve process improvement through measuring the current state of a process, implementing corrective measures, and maintaining the results achieved by controlling the optimised process. This methodology is used under Lean Six Sigma to achieve and sustain process improvement.
Every step of the DMAIC is carried out in order with teams that have knowledge and skill in Lean Six Sigma. Teams are created based on the belts of Lean Six Sigma, which specify the level of expertise in Lean Six Sigma methodologies. Black Belts in Lean Six Sigma have expertise in implementing Lean Six Sigma projects. They help in selecting projects for Lean Six Sigma, managing Green Belts and Yellow Belts, and execute plans created under Lean Six Sigma initiatives.
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