July 8th, 2022 | by Gordon_Digital
Lean Six Sigma practitioners use a wide variety of tools to deliver their process improvement projects. Perhaps two of the most common tools are DMAIC and DMADV. Centred around improving the processes that underpin an organisation, DMAIC and DMDAV provide reliable frameworks that put customer needs, real data and scientific design at the forefront of process improvement.
Being similar concepts, these two tools are often confused for one another by those just getting started with Lean Six Sigma. In this article we will cover each framework in more detail and discuss the differences between DMAIC and DMADV.
What is DMAIC?
The most robust and widely-used Lean Six Sigma tool, DMAIC is used to improve existing processes. DMAIC seeks to identify, measure and resolve the causes of unknown problems with a process using data and statistical analysis.
DMAIC stands for:
- Define. Define the problem with the process and use that information to establish the goals of the project and the needs of the process customers. The Define stage helps to focus the project and ensures its goals are aligned with those of the organisation.
- Measure. Measure the process to collect data on current performance. This helps to both quantify the problem being experienced and establishes baseline performance prior to improvement projects.
- Analyse. The Analyse phase focuses on identifying the root cause of the problem to uncover the true issues with the process.
- Improve. With the root cause identified, the process improvement team can begin making improvements and implementing their plan. The Improve phase is also where Lean Six Sigma professionals will refine their countermeasures, carry out solutions and collect data to find out if there is a measurable improvement.
- Control. The Control phase seeks to develop ways to maintain the improvements made to a process. The focus here is on creating sustainable change that delivers positive results over the long-term, usually through continuous monitoring and updating of the process.
What is DMADV?
DMADV is a Lean Six Sigma tool that assists with the development of new products, services and processes. Using DMADV provides solid grounding for new processes by identifying key deliverables and basing the development cycle on real data and analysis.
DMADV stands for:
- Define. Define the problem the business is experiencing and how a new process can resolve that problem. This stage includes identifying project goals, customer deliverables, project scope, allocated resources and an estimated timeline.
- Measure. The Measure phase works to understand the customer’s requirements. Customer requirements can then be used to identify things that are Critical to Quality (CTQ) in the new process. Each CTQ that is identified requires its own measurement systems.
- Analyse. During the Analyse phase, design concepts that will address customer demands and CTQs are developed. The Analyse phase also generates alternative design concepts, which can later be evaluated and have their best parts combined to create the final process design.
- Design. The best process design from the Analyse phase is converted into a prototype during the Design phase.
- Verify. In the final stage of the process, the prototype from the Design phase is validated. The Verify phase seeks to make sure the new process addresses all CTQs, performs its intended functions and aligns with organisational goals.
The DIfference Between DMAIC and DMADV
While DMAIC and DMADV share three of the same letters, the two tools differ widely in their application. The primary difference between the two tools is the way they are used. Where DMAIC is used to define, measure and improve existing business processes, DMADV is exclusively used to develop new processes (such as products and services).
DMAIC and DMADV also differ in several other ways:
- DMAIC measures how a process is currently performing. DMADV measures a customer’s needs and seeks to develop a matching process.
- DMAIC aims to minimise the defects in a process, reducing waste and delivering organisational performance increases. DMADV designs business models to meet customer requirements.
- DMAIC establishes controls to monitor the ongoing performance of a process. DMADV undergoes testing and simulations to verify that the process meets the needs of customers and the organisation.
Despite the difference in their applications, DMAIC and DMADV work together to deliver stronger processes that directly address the needs of customers. Combined, these two tools deliver on the central mission of Lean Six Sigma, which is to reduce organisational waste and improve the quality of products.
Getting Ready for Your Next Lean Six Sigma Certification? Contact Thornley Group Today
Lean and Six Sigma offer a variety of tools designed to improve the way organisations operate. Reducing waste and improving product quality saves money and increases customers satisfaction, ultimately leading to greater profits and better outcomes for customers. DMAIC and DMADV are just two of the tools taught as part of the Lean Six Sigma training courses at Thornley Group. Our programmes can be tailored to meet the needs of every member of your business, from the factory floor to the boardroom. Contact us today for more information on our Lean Six Sigma and corporate solutions.
July 4th, 2022 | by Gordon_Digital
Lean and Six Sigma both offer a wealth of process improvement methodologies that help businesses around the world to minimise their waste and produce greater outputs. Control Charts are a primary Lean Six Sigma control technique. They are frequently used to establish controls over a process, monitor project results and measure the outcomes being achieved. Based on simple principles, control charts give practitioners an easy tool to collect and visualise process data in a way that is easy to communicate to an organisation’s key stakeholders.
What is a Lean Six Sigma Control Chart?
Control charts are a graphical representation of process behaviour over time and are one of Lean Six Sigma’s primary control techniques. Along the X-axis, control charts show process outcomes as a variation from mean over time, allowing Lean Six Sigma teams to identify undesirable variation. Control charts are often developed prior to improvement efforts as a means to determine whether a process is stable enough to be altered.
Using control charts, Lean Six Sigma practitioners can determine whether a process is in control, monitor changes due to improvement efforts and identify two key types of process variation:
- Common-Cause Variation. Common cause variations are inherent in the process and are typically due to chance. For instance, if a control chart were used to track cross-town deliveries, the level of traffic on the road could slow down travel and result in common cause variations in delivery times.
- Special-Cause Variation. Special cause variations fall beyond the expected results and are not due to chance. The causes of special variations can often be identified and eliminated. For instance, if a broken down van caused a significant delivery delay, we could identify a need to invest in preventative vehicle maintenance to reduce future occurrences.
Designing a Lean Six Sigma Control Chart
As with any process improvement project, the key to creating effective control charts is to determine what data needs to be measured. Establishing a central measurement allows Lean Six Sigma practitioners to inspect a process and find out whether any improvement is required, as well as measure the effectiveness of any projects that do take place.
The exact metric being measured depends on the process. Continuing our example from above, tracking delivery times is a simple way of determining whether customers received their orders in an acceptable amount of time. For more complex processes, a control chart could measure metrics such as manufacturing time, customer satisfaction, wastage or other relevant process inputs or outputs.
The Components of a Control Chart
Once a process’ critical metrics are determined, control charts can be created to measure and monitor the outcome of any Lean Six Sigma projects. Control charts contain three simple elements that allow practitioners to plot a process over time:
- A centreline. The centreline is simply calculated as the mean of all input data points.
- Upper control limit. The upper control limit (UCL) is placed three standard deviations above the centreline.
- Lower control limit. The lower control limit (LCL) is placed three standard deviations below the centreline.
Control charts rely on probability to determine whether process variations are within expected limits. The typical placement of the UCL and LCL at three standard deviations captures approximately 99.7% of all data in a standard distribution. If a result falls within three standard deviations, it is labelled a common-cause variation. Results that fall outside the control limits are deemed special-cause variations and are likely to be the subject of process improvement.
How Control Charts are Used
Control charts are used throughout process improvement, from identifying unstable processes and tracking improvements to measuring the overall outcome. Lean Six Sigma control charts may be used to:
- Track the performance of a process to understand whether improvement is required
- Track the performance of a process to establish controls
- Provide a simple representation that can be used to discuss the performance of a process or Lean Six Sigma project
- Reduce the need to manually inspect processes
- Predict process trends, capacity and performance
- Determine whether improvement projects are having an effect on the process
- Capture data that can be used for review and follow-on improvement projects
Ready to Learn How to Create Control Charts? Contact Thornley Group Today
Control charts are among the most robust and ubiquitous tools in use by modern Lean Six Sigma practitioners. Established properly, a control chart is a simple way to collect and realise critical information. This means control charts are one of the most effective tools for demonstrating the value of Lean Six Sigma to organisational leaders and stakeholders. If you would like to learn to create and interpret control charts, book a training course with Thornley Group today. Our instructors offer a range of programmes to suit everyone from individual professionals to corporate groups. Speak to our consultants today if you would like to book your next Lean Six Sigma training course.
May 31st, 2022 | by Gordon_Digital
Change is the order of the day for all businesses. Stagnation leads to entrenched inefficiencies which, often enough, are capable of dragging a business down. Whether change comes in the form of new processes, new management or new clients, all businesses require the ability to adapt and make shifts as necessary. Unfortunately, overcoming organisational inertia can be a major challenge. Introducing Lean Six Sigma projects is a major change on its own, but the tools and systems it provides to a business can also facilitate changes and deliver long-term process improvements.
What is Change Management?
Change comes for all businesses. It is critical to the ongoing success of an organisation, although it often presents a range of technical and cultural problems that must be addressed. The role of a change management team is to successfully manage the shift. Using a dedicated team to manage change allows the process to be centrally controlled by leaders who understand what the change involves and can address any issues with the implementation.
Introducing Lean Six Sigma into a business is undoubtedly a change in and of itself, but the tools offered by Lean Six Sigma also act as an effective change management tool. In fact, change management forms an integral part of process improvement and greatly increases the likelihood that changes are sustainable and a long-term success.
Communicating the Nature of the Change
The major roadblock for most types of change is that the most affected employees lack an understanding of the nature of the change. Whether change takes the form of a new CEO, new processes, new technology, new clients or something else, employees are often left having to make changes blindly.
Altering the way employees work and how their results are measured can create significant cultural and technical friction. Without knowing the exact Why and How of the change, employees are left unmotivated to learn new processes and overcome their entrenched working behaviours. The good news is that when implementing Lean Six Sigma across an organisation, communicating the nature of the change is a mission-critical step. During the first phase of implementation, project sponsors are charged with clearly communicating the details of the change and helping the affected employees understand the Why and How of the project.
Understanding the Outcome and Benefits
Not all organisations have the time or resources to offer wide-scale Lean Six Sigma training to their employees. Instead, they rely on dedicated teams (often composed of Black Belt professionals from outside the organisation) to sponsor and deliver projects. While this system can deliver short-term benefits, it can be a struggle to create sustainable, ongoing change.
Including all employees in the Lean Six Sigma mindset makes everyone in the organisation responsible for the outcome and benefits. Assisting employees to understand the point of any changes helps them become invested in the outcome and proves to them the value of the project. Once they are convinced of the project’s benefits, employees are far more likely to overcome their own reluctance to change and work towards an outcome that benefits everyone involved.
Lean Six Sigma as a Change Management Tool
An effective deployment of Lean Six Sigma inherently creates organisational change. While the change delivers product and process improvements that are beneficial to everyone involved, entrenched patterns can be difficult to overcome.
This human element of change is the one that is most often overlooked by managers attempting to make changes. Ideally, Lean Six Sigma professionals are trained in change management, and they understand the importance of managing the people involved in the process. In most cases, an effective Lean Six Sigma project will be its own advocate. With effective communication that helps employees understand and become invested in the project, Lean Six Sigma can serve as both an organisational shift and a change management tool that facilitates the shift.
Create Effective Change With Lean Six Sigma Training from Thornley Group
Inspiring change among entrenched employees presents a challenge, even for experienced process improvement teams. Properly managing projects and the change they bring is critical. Thornley Group offers a range of Lean Six Sigma training solutions designed to help organisations implement sustainable change and deliver long-term improvements to their business. Our instructors are experienced in the real world deployment of Lean Six Sigma projects and how to manage the accompanying changes. For more information on our training programs and corporate solutions, please feel free to contact Thornley Group at any time.
May 31st, 2022 | by Gordon_Digital
The call for high quality manufacturing processes has only increased in the decades since Lean Six Sigma was first introduced. With consumers expecting seamless experiences and reliable products, Lean Six Sigma is more relevant than ever, both in and out of the manufacturing sector. Small companies all over the world use Lean Six Sigma to improve the quality of their products and reduce waste. But, did you know some of the world’s largest companies employ teams of dedicated process improvement specialists? We want to take a look at some of the world’s most famous Lean Six Sigma companies and see where your qualifications could take you.
As one of the progenitors of process improvement, it should be no surprise to find the Ford Motor Company on this list. While Ford originated and used its own early version of process improvement, in 1999 the company adopted Six Sigma as part of a push to improve the quality of its products and control defects that plagued production at the time. Taking inspiration from other major manufacturers like General Electric, Ford adopted Six Sigma across the company with support from senior management to deliver better products and win back consumer trust.
2. General Electric
Operating in major industries including aviation, power generation, renewable energy and healthcare, General Electric (GE) is a global production leader. GE invested in Lean Six Sigma in a big way, requiring all employees to undergo a training program and complete a Six Sigma project before the end of 1999. Thanks to the full support of GE’s leadership, their Six Sigma implementation was highly successful. As part of the original program, employees were encouraged to participate with rewards such as promotions and bonuses being handed out upon the success of their Lean Six Sigma projects.
Honeywell International is a multinational company that produces a range of consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems. Their original implementation of Six Sigma came during the late 90s when they merged with AlliedSignal, another major production company of the time. The two companies combined their process improvement systems to develop their in-house Six Sigma Plus program, which is reported to deliver in excess of $1 billion of productivity improvements annually.
A manufacturing giant producing everything from Post-It Notes to consumer electronics, 3M is a global leader and Lean Six Sigma organisation. Originally introduced by former-CEO James McNerny, Six Sigma helped transform 3M, saving the company millions of dollars and promoting the innovative thinking they have become famous for. To date, 3M has more than 30,000 successful Six Sigma based projects to their name.
5. Caterpillar Inc
Famous for their yellow mining, construction and earthworks equipment, Caterpillar Inc (commonly called Cat), employs a Six Sigma program that dates back to the early 2000s. Six Sigma proved so effective that even in its first year, Cat saw the savings of their program outweigh its implementation costs. Ultimately, through process improvement, Cat delivered impressive savings and quality improvements, reaching their initial revenue goals two years ahead of schedule.
Famous for their early invention of much of the technology we use today, including photocopiers, computer mice and more, Xerox became a Lean Six Sigma company in the 90s. By 2002, Six Sigma had been rolled out across their entire company, delivering efficiencies to their broad range of production operations. Xerox reports hundreds of millions in annual benefit from its Six Sigma projects, helping the company focus on data-driven quality improvement and waste reduction.
A major player in producing consumer goods, industrial technology, energy, tools, security systems and vehicle parts, Bosch is a true manufacturing giant. One of Bosch’s primary process improvement tools, Six Sigma has helped Bosch pursue efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility throughout their production systems. Process improvement has become an indispensable tool for Bosch, with the company’s various national presences operating their own Lean departments to realise transformations in all local markets. Meanwhile, the company stands at the forefront of providing smarter manufacturing solutions to other companies around the world. As one of their major production areas, Bosch develops a range of technology and equipment designed to help their customers bring about the Lean factories of the future.
Ready to Update Your Resume With Lean Six Sigma? Train With Thornley Group Today
With roots dating back nearly half a century in some of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, Lean Six Sigma remains a highly effective tool for managing quality and improving outcomes. For professionals, it presents a unique opportunity to enter an in-demand industry and provide expertise that supports the operations of the world’s most productive companies. Whether you are looking for your first Lean Six Sigma certification or are ready to obtain your next one, Thornley Group offers a training solution for you. Our experienced instructors provide engaging material that offers you all the tools and information you need to make a difference to your organisation. Contact us today for more information on our Lean Six Sigma training programs and corporate solutions or to book a course with Thornley Group.
April 26th, 2022 | by Gordon_Digital
Lean Six Sigma as we know it today has been the constant work of many decades. Hundreds of large companies and great minds have adapted the techniques, building on what came before and developing robust systems for process improvement. But Lean and Six Sigma actually have separate origins. The two systems have many areas of overlap, but they were developed independently by two different manufacturing giants who saw vast opportunities for improvement in their businesses. To understand how Lean Six Sigma fits into our modern business models, it is important to understand the driving force and history behind the practice.
Early Process Improvement Techniques
With the beginning of the industrial revolution in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, manufacturing businesses were quick to seek out ways to improve their processes. While early manufacturing was rudimentary and produced less complex components, early inventors like Eli Whitney were key promoters of process improvement. Whitney was a champion of interchangeable parts in manufacturing. The interchangeable parts movement sought to standardise certain parts and components, meaning they could be used for many different processes.
There are many early examples of process improvement in manufacturing, some of which even date back thousands of years. But, as technology improved, champions such as Whitney were able to press for real changes that would go on to underpin the modern world as we know it.
The History of Lean Principles
Lean is a set of principles for efficiency in processes that resulted from the Toyota Production System in the mid 20th century. In the 1950s, Toyota was still a small-scale car manufacturer. World War II had hurt their business, but producing trucks during the Korean War gave Toyota the experience and income they needed to expand. Wanting to further their business after the war, several Toyota executives visited automakers like Ford, touring their factories and learning from their American counterparts’ success. These visits ultimately led Toyota to develop their Lean Manufacturing principles, all of which are still applicable and valuable in modern businesses.
The Toyota Production System (Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing system) primarily focused on identifying and eliminating process waste. This improved the quality and flow of production, ultimately delivering better products to their customers. By empowering every worker with respect and the ability to reach their potential, Toyota used Lean principles to minimise waste, produce better cars and pioneer manufacturing standards that have since spread across the world.
The History of Six Sigma
The 20th century was ripe with manufacturing ideologies such as Lean and Total Quality Management. But, as Lean grew in popularity, so too did Six Sigma. Developed in the 1980s by Motorola – who produced microprocessors and spurred the computing revolution at the time – Six Sigma was their approach to quality improvement and control. Motorola’s Six Sigma gave rise to the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) principles that we still use today. The DMAIC framework empowered Motorola’s employees to institute greater quality control over processes that were designed to create standardised and highly repetitive products. A Six Sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of all parts are produced without defect.
Motorola’s Six Sigma and its DMAIC principles ensured their products were of the utmost quality and repeatability, which is a critical factor in microprocessor production. Their new focus on quality led to great improvements in the finished product, saving Motorola $2.2 billion over the next 4 years, and making their products highly sought after by a growing industry.
Want to See How Lean Six Sigma Applies to Modern Business? Train with Thornley Group Today!
Process improvement has its roots in humanity’s very earliest civilisations. The pursuit of efficiency and improvement has always driven us to seek new ideas and better results. Lean and Six Sigma have been applied by businesses all over the world for decades with great success. Improving your business, reducing waste and delivering better products is the goal of all Lean Six Sigma training with the Thornley Group team. We empower process improvement professionals with the tools and skills they need to make a difference and offer major benefits to their organisations. If you are interested in learning more about Lean Six Sigma and how it can help your business thrive, speak to our experienced instructors and book your next Lean Six Sigma training course today!