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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


Should You Be Using PDSA or DMAIC?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 17, 2016 8:00:00 AM

When it comes to continuous improvement techniques, you have many options. There are a variety of approaches and tools designed to support your effort to effect positive change. But it can be difficult to decide which techniques will work best. In the case of PDSA and DMAIC, it can be extra confusing because they are quite similar.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma

What’s The Perfect Continuous Improvement Methodology?

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Jun 30, 2016 7:00:00 AM

We talk to lots of people who are devoted to one of the popular continuous improvement methodologies in use by businesses today. Many of our customers are devotees of Lean, Six Sigma, Toyota Production System, Total Quality Management, Agile, or others. People who know we provide technology that supports all of them often ask us which is the best continuous improvement methodology. Well, like a lot of things in life, it depends.

Every organization is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all perfect approach. The key is finding the right combination for your current circumstances. So, while we can’t tell you which methodologies you should choose, we can tell you what it looks like when an organization has found the right combination.

When the perfect continuous improvement methodology is in place, organizations:

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma, Spread Continuous Improvement

Key Objectives and Activities for Each Step of DMAIC

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 24, 2015 2:30:00 PM

DMAIC is a data-driven, structured, customer-centric problem solving methodology. Each phase builds on the last to arrive at effective solutions for challenging problems. Define tells you what to measure. Measure tells you what to analyze. Analyze tells you what to improve. And Improve tells you what to control. Each phase has very specific objectives and is supported by a particular set of activities. Let’s take a closer look at them.

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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma

5 Unexpected Ways to Justify an Investment in Six Sigma Software

Posted by Greg Jacobson

May 6, 2015 12:21:00 PM

Committing to the Six Sigma approach to business process improvement can lead to profound changes in an organization’s culture and the way that work gets done. Leaders choose the methodology because it instills and reinforces the idea that continuous improvement is essential for success in today’s increasingly competitive business environment. Deploying Six Sigma software helps companies control and document the process of improvement. Aside from the obvious benefits realized anytime software is used to manage projects, there are a few advantages of Six Sigma software that may not be as readily apparent. 

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Topics: Six Sigma, Software

Which of the Process Improvement Disciplines is Best?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 29, 2014 8:04:00 AM

Organizations looking to improve operations, cut waste, and maximize customer value often turn to a business process improvement disciplines, such as Six Sigma, Lean or Kaizen. Because KaiNexus offers solutions that support the implementation of these, and other, process improvement methods, we are often asked which one is the best. To explore that question, let’s look at the principles and strengths of each.

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Topics: Lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma

Rock Process Improvement Using The DMAIC Approach

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 12, 2014 7:03:00 AM

At the heart of the Six Sigma business management philosophy is DMAIC (pronounced "de-may-ick"). DMAIC is an acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. The approach is used to improve business processes and it results in reduced waste, higher quality, and an accelerated value stream. While closely associated with Six Sigma, DMAIC can be used effectively with or without embracing the overarching Six Sigma methodology. Here’s a closer look at each of the steps.

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Topics: Six Sigma

Can The Six Sigma DMAIC Methodology Work Outside of Manufacturing?

Posted by Allan Wilson

Sep 2, 2014 10:17:00 AM

Six Sigma was developed by Motorola in the mid 1980’s as a set of techniques and tools for manufacturing process improvement. It was adopted as a central business strategy by General Eclectic in the 90’s and is a popular approach to continuous improvement in many industrial sectors today. However, the Six Sigma approach, and DMAIC in particular, outlines a way of identifying and challenging wasteful and inefficient processes in an effort to find opportunities for improvement. It is no wonder then that it has been increasingly embraced by business sectors outside of manufacturing. 


Defining DMAIC

DMAIC is a Six Sigma project methodology that was inspired by W. Edwards Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act continuous improvement cycle. DMAIC is used to improve existing business processes. It is pronounced “duh-may-ick” and stands for:

  • Define - The business problem is described in as much detail as possible
  • Measure - Metrics that can be used to compare the final state to the pre-improvement state are identified
  • Analyze – Data is analyzed and the root cause(s) of the business problem are identified 
  • Improve - After the previous steps are accomplished is it time to identify, implement, and test a solution
  • Control - The control step ensures that the improvements can be continued over time

While Six Sigma is usually used in manufacturing and doesn’t translate exactly to other sectors, DMAIC is rather universal and can be used to improve multiple types of processes in virtually any industry with a need to eliminate waste and inefficient processes.


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Topics: Lean, Six Sigma

Should you DMAIC? Wait – What’s DMAIC?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 30, 2014 1:13:00 PM

If you aren’t intimately familiar with the process improvement model Six Sigma, DMAIC may seem like a random chain of characters.  It’s actually an abbreviation for the core improvement process used in Six Sigma projects.  It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.  Although the term originated within the Six Sigma paradigm, it can be used to improve company performance with or without the Six Sigma structure. 



Logically, the first step of the DMAIC improvement cycle is Define.  At this stage, the business problem is described in as much detail as possible.  The boundaries and scope are outlined and agreed upon, and frequently a project charter is created.  It is also the step in which potential resources and a tentative project time line emerge.  One of the most important aspects of the Define step is to come to an agreement regarding what success looks like and how you will know if the project has been successful.  The following questions should be addressed:

  • What is the significance or business impact of the problem?
  • Who is the customer? (Customers can be internal or external.)
  • What processes, business units or people are impacted?
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Topics: Six Sigma

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