Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

18.2.2 The Six Sigma Phases

Intended learning outcomes: Present DMAIC, the Six Sigma phases. Describe the tasks in the Six Sigma phases. Differentiate between DMAIC, RDMAIC, DMAICT, and DMADV.


The Six Sigma methodology is a sequence of phases, usually called DMAIC.

DMAIC is an acronym for process improvement consisting of the following phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

These phases are usually depicted with a beginning and an end, as shown in Figure 18.2.2.1.

Fig. 18.2.2.1       DMAIC, the Six Sigma phases.

These phases consist of the tasks shown in Figure 18.2.2.2.

Fig. 18.2.2.2       Description of tasks in the Six Sigma phases.

As compared to the Shewhart or Deming cycle, it is noticeable that the Six Sigma phases are not arranged in a circular form. This is in accordance with the view that a Six Sigma project is run through once to achieve a result. A further rotation of the Deming cycle type forms a new Six Sigma project of its own. Overall, the effect achieved is similar to the continual improvement type of management system.

In the following, we will see that the five Six Sigma phases can be assigned quite well to the four tasks in the Deming cycle. However, the Six Sigma phases provide additional action catalogs and checklists that make operationalization generally easier. For each phase, there is a list of results and control questions that is intended to ensure the comprehensiveness of the approach.

There are variants of DMAIC. RDMAIC is an acronym that stands for a DMAIC process that adds Recognize as an initial phase. As a part of this phase, company management seeks to identify opportunities for improvement. In many cases, this phase is a part of the Define phase. DMAICT is an acronym for a DMAIC process with a subsequent Transfer phase. In this phase, best practices are transferred, or spread, to other areas of the organization.

Another variant focuses on product design. DMADV is an acronym for an improvement process that proceeds through the phases Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify. DFSS (Design for Six Sigma) comprises methods and instruments for ensuring that products and processes are designed at the outset to meet Six Sigma require­ments. Through DFSS and DMADV, the aim is to make later DMAIC processes less frequently necessary. As the two initial Ds indicate, the methods and tools largely correspond to those in DMAIC.



Course section 18.2: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes

  • 18.2 Quality Management Tasks at the Operations Level

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on the Deming Cycle (PDCA Cycle) and the Shewhart Cycle as well as the Six Sigma Phases. Present the phases of quality planning, control, assurance, and activation of the Deming Cycle. Describe the Six-Sigma phases of define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. Differentiate between continual improvement and reengineering.

  • 18.2.1 The Deming Cycle (PDCA Cycle) and the Shewhart Cycle

    Intended learning outcomes: Produce an overview on The Shewhart cycle developed in statistical quality control. Present the Deming cycle. Describe quality management tasks in the Deming cycle.

  • 18.2.2 The Six Sigma Phases

    Intended learning outcomes: Present DMAIC, the Six Sigma phases. Describe the tasks in the Six Sigma phases. Differentiate between DMAIC, RDMAIC, DMAICT, and DMADV.

  • 18.2.3 Quality Planning — Define Phase

    Intended learning outcomes: Identify the cause of differences between stakeholders’ expectations and actual product or process characteristics. Explain quality function deployment – the house of Quality and 10 steps of implementation. Describe the SIPOC diagram and the CTQ matrix.

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