Supply Chain Wednesday–Six Sigma and DMAIC



(1) Defect: Something that is not what the customer wanted

We have one defect for every 1000 units. It’s much too high.

(2) Process: A way of doing things

Our processes are always improving. It means we do things quite differently now compared to 20 years ago.

(3) CTQ: Critical-to-quality characteristic

The CTQs for our pans include not being sticky and not having a loose handle.



1. How can Six Sigma help your company?

a. Improving products and processes

b. Improving processes and job satisfaction

c. Improving customer satisfaction and customer service

2. What does the D in DMAIC stand for?

a. Delay

b. Define

c. Demand

3. Why are CTQs important?

a. They describe the whole product

b. They are where you find defects

c. You need to focus on the customer’s definition of quality

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Six Sigma has been really amazing. It’s helped companies around the world improve their products and processes. How? It gives a company a system for finding and eliminating defects.

There’s lots of good vocabulary and ideas with Six Sigma, so I’ll spend the next few weeks talking about it. For today, you’ll learn about DMAIC. You’ll gain some great vocabulary and understand better how to improve products and processes at your job.

What’s DMAIC? It’s one of the most important ideas in supply chain management. And, actually, it can mean two things.

Dumb Managers Always Ignore Customers

OK. This isn’t the real meaning, but it’s an important joke. Customers should always be the most important part of any business. So only dumb (not smart) managers forget about customers.

Actually, DMAIC stands for:

Define Measure Analyze Improve Control

These are the things you should do in order to make products and processes better.

Define: I like to think of this step as getting organized. This can include many things. For example, you should choose a project and your goals, decide who will work on the project, and be very clear about what customers feel is most important. The things the customer feels are most important are called CTQs (critical-to-quality characteristics).

Measure: In this stage, you check how well you’re doing. This means learning what influences the CTQs and how to check them.

Analyze: Here, you look at the data from your measurements and figure out what’s causing defects. Another way to think of it is to learn what’s causing variation.

Improve: After analyzing, you should try and make things better. You need to remove the causes of the problems. You should also check how important different things are to the CTQs.

Control: Now that you’ve made things better, you should make sure they stay better.

That’s the basic process for Six Sigma. In the future, we’ll look at everything in much greater detail.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

A, B, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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