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DMAIC - is a data driven incremental process improvement methodology in the Six Sigma philosophy. It is acronym which stands for

D - Define
M - Measure
A - Analyse
I - Improve
C - Control

8D Problem Solving - is a team oriented problem solving approach which is widely used in the automotive industries. As the name suggests it has 8 steps

D1 - form the team
D2 - describe the problem
D3 - Interim Containment Action
D4 - Root Cause Analysis
D5 - Verify Permanent Corrective Action
D6 - Implement Permanent Corrective Action
D7 - Prevent Recurrence
D8 - Closure and Team Celebration



An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Karthik Marimuthu on 13th November 2017. 




Q 43. While DMAIC is a more popular approach as compared to 8D Problem Solving, would you prefer to use 8D over DMAIC in some situations? Why/ Why not? 


Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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What is DMAIC?

While the acronym gives an accurate summary of the process, it is only the beginning. The Six Sigma process improvement methodology encompasses much more than an acronym can describe. The heart of DMAIC is making continuous improvements to an existing process through objective problem solving.

Process is the focal point of DMAIC. The methodology seeks to improve the quality of a product or service by concentrating not on the output but on the process that created the output. The idea is that concentrating on processes leads to more effective and permanent solutions.

When to use DMAIC

DMAIC is used by a project team that is attempting to improve an existing process. DMAIC provides structure because each phase of the process contains tasks and tools that will lead the team to find an eventual solution. While DMAIC may be sequential, it is not strictly linear. The process encourages project teams to backtrack to previous steps if more information is needed.


The phases of DMAIC

The phases or stages of DMAIC include:

Define – The project begins by creating a team charter to identify team members, select the process the team will be improving and clearly define the objective of the project. The project team will then identify the CTQ's to help measure the impact the problem has on the customer. This phase is completed when the team creates a process map that includes the Process inputs & outputs.

Measure – This phase includes creating and executing a data collection plan that provides reliable and significant data. The data indicates how the process is performing and helps identify the villain in the Six Sigma narrative – variance. After this point, the project team’s efforts focus on eliminating or reducing variance as much as possible.

Analyze – Once process performance has been quantified, the analyze phase helps identify possible causes of the problems. A sub-process map can help identify the problems in the process and tools such as ANOVA and regression analysis can help narrow these problems to root causes. In this phase, the team is able to quantify the financial benefit of solving the problem.

Improve – Once the problem’s root cause is brought to light, the improve phase focuses on finding a permanent solution to the problem. This is where the project team’s creativity comes into play in finding an answer to a longstanding process problem. The team then tests a proposed solution in a pilot program to test if the solution is effective and financially viable.

Control – In this phase, the project team documents the new solution that they have created so that it can be passed on to process owners. The project team then implements the solution according to the timeline and key milestones they have developed. Once the solution has been implemented, the project team monitors it for several months and if it meets performance expectations turns it over to the process owner.


The 8D problem solving process is a detailed, team oriented approach to solving critical problems in the production process. The goals of this method are to find the root cause of a problem, develop containment actions to protect customers and take corrective action to prevent similar problems in the future.

The strength of the 8D process lies in its structure, discipline and methodology. 8D uses a composite methodology, utilizing best practices from various existing approaches. It is a problem solving method that drives systemic change, improving an entire process in order to avoid not only the problem at hand but also other issues that may stem from a systemic failure.



D0: Prepare and Plan for the 8D

Proper planning will always translate to a better start. Thus, before 8D analysis begins, it is always a good idea to ask an expert first for their impressions. After receiving feedback, the following criterion should be applied prior to forming a team:

Collect information on the symptoms

Use a Symptoms Checklist to ask the correct questions

Identify the need for an Emergency Response Action (ERA), which protects the customer from further exposure to the undesired symptoms

D1: Form a Team

A Cross Functional Team (CFT) is made up of members from many disciplines. Quality-One takes this principle one step further by having two levels of CFT:

·         A Core Team uses data-driven approaches (Inductive or Convergent Techniques)

       The Core Team Structure should involve three people on the respective subjects: product, process and data

·         SME Team comprised of members who brainstorm, study and observe (Deductive or Divergent Techniques)

        Additional Subject Matter Experts are brought in at various times to assist with brainstorming, data collection and analysis

Teams require proper preparation. Setting the ground rules is paramount. Implementation of disciplines like checklists, forms and techniques will ensure steady progress.  8D must always have two key members: a Leader and a Champion / Sponsor:

·         The Leader is the person who knows the 8D process and can lead the team through it (although not always the most knowledgeable about the problem being studied)

·         The Champion or Sponsor is the one person who can affect change by agreeing with the findings and can provide final approval on such changes

D2: Describe the Problem

The 8D method’s initial focus is to properly describe the problem utilizing the known data and placing it into specific categories for future comparisons. The “Is” data supports the facts whereas the “Is Not” data does not. As the “Is Not” data is collected, many possible reasons for failure are able to be eliminated. This approach utilizes the following tools:

·         5 Why or Repeated Why (Inductive tool)

·         Problem Statement

·         Affinity Diagram (Deductive tool)

·         Fishbone/Ishikawa Diagram (Deductive tool)

·         Is / Is Not (Inductive tool)

·         Problem Description

D3: Interim Containment Action

In the interim, before the permanent corrective action has been determined, an action to protect the customer can be taken. The Interim Containment Action (ICA) is temporary and is typically removed after the Permanent Correct Action (PCA) is taken.

·         Verification of effectiveness of the ICA is always recommended to prevent any additional customer dissatisfaction calls

D4: Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Escape Point

The root cause must be identified to take permanent action to eliminate it. The root cause definition requires that it can be turned on or off, at will. Activities in D4 include:

·         Comparative Analysis listing differences and changes between “Is” and “Is Not”

·         Development of Root Cause Theories based on remaining items

·         Verification of the Root Cause through data collection

·         Review Process Flow Diagram for location of the root cause

·         Determine Escape Point, which is the closest point in the process where the root cause could have been found but was not

D5: Permanent Corrective Action (PCA)

The PCA is directed toward the root cause and removes / changes the conditions of the product or process that was responsible for the problem. Activities in D5 include:

·         Establish the Acceptance Criteria which include Mandatory Requirements and Wants

·         Perform a Risk Assessment / Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) on the PCA choices

·         Based on risk assessment, make a balanced choice for PCA

·         Select control-point improvement for the Escape Point

·         Verification of Effectiveness for both the PCA and the Escape Point are required

D6: Implement and Validate the Permanent Corrective Action

To successfully implement a permanent change, proper planning is essential. A project plan should encompass: communication, steps to complete, measurement of success and lessons learned. Activities in D6 include:

·         Develop Project Plan for Implementation

·         Communicate the plan to all stakeholders

·         Validation of improvements using measurement


D7: Prevent Recurrence

D7 affords the opportunity to preserve and share the knowledge, preventing problems on similar products, processes, locations or families. Updating documents and procedures / work instructions are expected at this step to improve future use. Activities in D7 include:

·         Review Similar Products and Processes for problem prevention

·         Develop / Update Procedures and Work Instructions for Systems Prevention

·         Capture Standard Work / Practice and reuse

·         Assure FMEA updates have been completed

·         Assure Control Plans have been updated


D8: Closure and Team Celebration

Teams require feedback to allow for satisfactory closure. Recognizing both team and individual efforts and allowing the team to see the previous and new state solidifies the value of the 8D process. Activities in D8 include:

·         Archive the 8D Documents for future reference

·         Document Lessons Learned on how to make problem solving better

·         Before and After Comparison of issue



The 8D problem solving process is typically required when:

·         Safety or Regulatory issues has been discovered

·         Customer complaints are received

·         Warranty Concerns have indicated greater-than-expected failure rates

·         Internal rejects, waste, scrap, poor performance or test failures are present at unacceptable levels


The 8D method is sometimes preferable over DMAIC due to its focus on Interim Containment Action. Whenever there is a need an action to be taken to protect the Customer from rejections in the future. Also, if the scope for use of statistical tools is limited, 8D is easier to understand and explain to people who are new to problem solving. 

As i work in the Automobile field, we are widely using the 8D method for taking an immediate action for the Problems occurred & providing an appropriate solution. Though DMAIC will be an ideal methodology to solve the problems in the longer term, 8D is preferred over it for simplicity, quick-fix and easy engagement sometimes. 


Which is Best?  8D or DMAIC?

·         Both processes can generate huge improvements for an organization.

·         Anything is better than nothing.

·         Pick one approach or the other or select from one of the many other structured problem-solving approaches that focus on data collection, data analysis, and prevention of recurrence.

·         Stick with the same approach throughout a corporation to build a common understanding of the process and terminology throughout the organization.

·         If necessary, alter the process to meet your organization’s needs, but don’t cut out any of the steps in either process – they are critical to getting to the root cause of a problem.


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Type of Tool

Continuous Improvement Tool

Problem Solving tool



It is reactive and proactive in nature and is used not only on current, known problems, but identifying and controlling all sources of variation that are of significance to product/service cost and quality.


It is a reactive approach, that is used to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring problems.





Process Steps and Mapping


D1 –  Plan and Create a Team


D2 – Define & Describe the problem


D3 – Define & Implement interim Containment plan


D4 – Identify & Analyse Root Cause

D5 – Define Possible Corrective Actions


D6 – Implement and validate Corrective Actions


D7 – Take Prevent action to avoid Recurrence


D8 – Celebrate/Congratulate Team


Mapping to Plan – Do – Check – Act Cycle


5 Step PDCA

P – Define, Measure, Analyse

D – Improve

C, A – Control


8 Step PDCA

P – D0 to D5

D – D6

C, A – D7, D8



Few months

Few days/weeks

When to use?

  • Extremely complex and possibly chronic problems that has defeated repeated attempts to solve.
  • Continuously Improve process to avoid future problems, product/service  variation reduction and enhance process efficiency.


  • Complex and repetitive problem, that may require immediate correction or “fire-fighting” action
  • In critical problems D3 would stop the bleeding with an immediate interim action, while data is collected for understanding the original problem and Root cause analysis.



Situations which might need an improvement in the longer run such as complaints regarding

  • Quality issues on products have variations and being out of specification.
  • Large amount of scrap generation
  • Low OEE (Overall Equipment efficiency) KPI on machine lines.
  • High Downtime of equipment


Situations which might need immediate attention and a fix / correction such as complaints regarding

  • A system going down repeatedly,
  • Defects observed on the product in the manufacturing line during a shift.
  • Customer complain on a product or a service.
  • A system or process alarm getting generated repeatedly



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The 8D process was created during the Second World War by U.S. government, referring to it as Military Standard 1520: “Corrective action and disposition system for nonconforming material”. It was later applied by the Ford Motor Company in the 1960's and 1970's.

8D has become a standard in the automotive industries that require a structured problem solving process, which is used to identify, correct and eliminate problems on fast reaction to customer complaints.  It is a discrete process - Start to Finish - A reactive approach that tends to only surface when correcting a problem that has already occurred.

In mid of 1980s, applications of the Six Sigma methods enabled many organizations to sustain their competitiveness by integrating their knowledge of the process with statistics, engineering and project management. Motorola was the first company who launched a Six Sigma project using DMAIC methodology in the mid-1980s. Initially Six Sigma was applied in manufacturing but today it is accepted in healthcare, finance and service. Six Sigma/DMAIC  is a project-driven management approach intended to improve products, services and processes by reducing defects. It is a business strategy that focuses on improving customer requirements, business systems, productivity and financial performance. Utilizing analytical tools to measure quality and eliminate variances in processes allows to producing near perfect products and services that will satisfy customers. It is continuous Improvement Process.

Both are strong methods for solving problems. Both provide a consistent, structured approach, and both provide a common language so project status can be easily communicated throughout an organization.


PLAN 1.Identify the problem Define
2.Use a team approach/form an 8D team
3.Describe the problem
  4.Interim containment  
PLAN 5.Define the root cause(s) Measure
DO 6.Develop solution(s) Improve
7.Implement the solution(s)
CHECK 8.Prevent recurrence Control
  9.Congratulate the team  


DMAIC structure does not speak about interim containment actions , where as 8D structure particularly mentions containment as a separate step. The interim containment actions are especially relevant if you act reactively, and if your customer is already affected by the problem you are trying to solve.

Comparison of Scope:




Provides Structure



Provides containment action evaluation



Provides concepts and tools



Data driven



ISO standards available




Another important difference is the applied tools and their link to the models. While 8D only offer a structure, DMAIC offer a complete toolbox for each phase. The tools offered in the DMAIC structure is a mix of concepts and statistical tools for e.g. analysis and optimization. DMAIC is not only serving as a structure, but is often part of a data driven culture and mindset and can be used as a tool for facilitating the change to become a fact orientated company.


Based on importance and urgency both the methods can be used.



                        High Important & Urgnet - "8D Reactive Problem Solving " Important ,Not Urgent -" A proactive Improvement Process (DMAIC,Kaizen etc)"
                       Low Not Important and Urgent - "Reprioritize work" Not Important and Not Urgent -"Get a new Job"
                       High                                            Low


So, to the question regarding the use of either 8D or DMAIC, the best answer would be; use the structure requested by the customer .Organization like Ford is very particular about the 8D Problem solving methodology, If the customer  asks to use 8D methodology, to satisfy him ,it is best to go with 8D .If customer has no specific request, the DMAIC maybe be the preferred structure as it also combines the tools and data driven mindset.








Edited by Anirudh Kund
Table alignments.
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Q 43. While DMAIC is a more popular approach as compared to 8D Problem Solving, would you prefer to use 8D over DMAIC in some situations? Why/ Why not? 


In 1987, Henry ford used this approach called 8D, which is about 8 disciplines followed process and product improvements.  He also believed strongly that this 8D approach is very useful to solve ‘n’ number of problems in industries especially like automotive. This approach was originated from TOPS program in Ford company. TOPS stands for “Team Oriented Problem Solving” program. It is a systematic / structured / scientific way of approach in problem solving by identifying the root causes, developing some clear cut solutions for root causes identified and the implementation of the corrective actions identified.


8D is used when the problem is recurring, major or critical & Chronic. It depends on the complexity of the problem. It is also used in companies’ basis the customer’s requirements.


8D is not effective if the root causes are known, solution is known, when the problem is not recurring, when the problem solving requires only one person’s effort, when the process has to select the best solution from the list of solutions or alternatives.


When to use 8D ?

This approach is typically required when

1.    When the safety / regulatory issues occurred

2.    Warranty / guarantee rejections

3.    Customer complaints

4.    Internal rejects / errors, wastes at unacceptable limits.


8D Preparatory phase / Pre 8 D:

As part of preparatory phase, it is important for one to understand what the problem is. Should have a deeper insight before proceeding any type of approach to solve the issue. The following should be gathered.

What type of problem whether chronic / Recurring / critical?

What is the impact?

If recurring, what the problem last time? And what was implemented as solution?

Was the action taken permanent?

Does the problem require a team work with DMAIC ./ 8D approach?



8D Approach:




Tools used

1st D

Team Formation

It gathers a team members from various departments related to process, product, quality and data. There are few important teams like core team who works with data analyses etc, SME team who are subject matter experts on the product, a leader who knows the 8D process and Sponsor, who can bring in the change

3W1H to gather problem

2nd D

Problem definitin

Describes the problem using the known data available

Uses inductive tools like 5Why's, Is / is not tools and deductive tools like Affinity diagram/ Fishbone and pareto

3rd D

Interim containement

Defects were identified and rectified before it goes out of industry or before it reaches the customer. A kind of customer protection.

Internal quality checks/ audits.

4th D

Failure Mode RCA & Escape RCA

Review the information gathered to find the real root cause.

Reviewing the is/isnot and fishbones. If required, review & change the process flow

5th D

PCA - Permanent Corrective Action

PCA is identified to arrest the defect and if changes required, it would be done. The solution should be pratical, feasible, robust and cost effective.

6P are mapped under fishbone and anlaysed. FMEA, Pugh matrix

6th D

Implemenation of PCA

Once the solution is approved, the action plan with RACI matrix is created.

Pert chart / Gnatt chart is used for effective implementation of the action items.

7th D

Prevent recurrence

once the solution is implemented, the problem should not recur. To prevent recurrence, the team should validated the action plan and its outcome using Reliability verfication test.

Control charts, capability test, FMEA or even a simple histogram

8th D


Once the solution is established and the recurrence is well controlled with repreated tracking mechanism, the team is to be appreciated with rewards and recognitions.

"Hall of Fame"(Not a tool, but suggestionfor motivation)


8D Approach Vs. DMAIC Approach:

8D Approach

DMAIC approach

It is a short term approach with corrective actions. This is most towards the reactive mode of he customer complaints.

It is a variation reduction tool. It is towards the preventive and corrective approach.

It might take several months to complete. Within first 3 days the customer should be noticed about the first 3 step’s outcome.

It depends on the type of project we select. (Usually a GB / BB takes upto 6 months). More than 50% of the time is spent in plan phase / define phase.

8 steps are involved in arresting the problem.

It is a 8step PDCA cycle used for process and product improvements and to identify & eliminate the recurring problems.

Basically a 5step PDCA cycle for improving, optimizing and stabilizing the business processes and designs.

Tools like FMEA, Fish bone, 5 why, Control charts, Gage R&R, etc are used.

More of statistical tools like regression, DOE, etc along with other tools combination it works.

Symptom is addressed as a temporary solution.

Root cause is identified and solved.

Data driven scientific ways of approach and developed by lots of Quality Gurus.

This was developed and used by Ford in ford company by engineers and other members.




There are no major differences exists in reality. Only difference as per the steps are step 3 of the 8D approach “ Interim containment action”. No comparative exists in DMAIC step as well allow the escape errors to reach the customer till we find the root cause and fix it in DMAIC.

Interim containment is a typical band aid approach / solution for the bleeding problem to calm the customer. This addresses the symptoms for time being and not the root cause. But still it is worth doing if the problem is bigger enough.



A vendor gets 100 complaints of AC / day. For a customer who has bought a Air conditioner, should be satisfied with the cooling temperature of the room. If this is not done, immediately the vendor is called for and the checks been done to improve the cooling effect at  the customer’s place. Then the vendor goes into the root cause identification and solution identification approaches. Hence the quick band aid approach is better than doing nothing.


Again it depends on the project team or company to select the approach which has to used in problem solving.




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Below is the table showing steps followed in each problem solving techniques







(Define Project Goal and Deliverables)

1.      Generate project Ideas



Plan for solving the problem and determine the prerequisites

2.      Select Project



Use a team—Establish a team of people with product/process knowledge

3.      Finalize Project charter and High level Map



Describe the Problem

(Measure the process to determine current performance; quantify the problem.)

4.      Finalize Project Y, performance standard for Y



Interim Containment Action

5.      Validate Measurement systems



Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Escape Point

6.      Measure current performance and gap



Permanent Corrective Action (PCA)

(Analyze and determine the root cause(s) of the defects)

7.      List all probable X’s



Implement and Validate the Permanent Corrective Action

8.      Indentify Critical X’s



Prevent Recurrence

9.      Verify sufficiency of critical X’s for the project



Closure and Team Celebration

(Improve process performance by addressing and eliminating the root causes)

10.   Generate and evaluate alternative solutions




11.   Select & optimize best solution




12.   Pilot, implement and validate the solution




(Control the improved process and future process performance)

13.   Implement control system for X’s




14.   Document solution and benefits




15.   Transfer to process owner, project closure










If we analyze the steps in both the process, there is only one major difference.

In 8D process step D3 “Interim Containment Action” is not done in a DMAIC process.

In this step an interim solution is provided for the symptoms of the problem, this solution is temporary. Which reduces the impact of the problem to the customer for the time being.

I would prefer to always use DMAIC process in problem solving. If the problem is huge and gives big impact on the customer, we can separately provide a fire fighting solution and stop the impact for short time. But management should be aware that the solution provided is not a permanent solution so they should continue problem solving with DMAIC process.

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8D is an 8-Step PDCA with focus on fast/immediate action and DMAIC is a five-step PDCA intended for improvements that are necessary but do not require immediate action.  Both the structures are in many ways identical and serve the same purpose of problem solving as shown in the below picture.




However, the differences that separate the structures are
    1. Interim containment actions -  8D has a separte step while in DMAIC no actions related to interim containement are mentioned,
    2. Tools offered in each phase - 8D only offer a structure and DMAIC offers a mix of concepts and statistical tools apart from the stucture.
    3. International Standards - 8D is not covered by any standards and DMAIC is supported by international standards such as ISO13053-1 and ISO13053-2.        

When deciding which structure to use, the table below can be used as a guideline, depending on the company’s requirements.
Scope                                                                 8D    DMAIC
Provides project structure                              Yes    Yes
Provides containment action evaluation     Yes    No
Provides concepts and tools                          No    Yes
Data driven                                                        No    Yes
ISO standards available                                  No    Yes


Whie DMAIC structure provides a wider scope combining the tools and data driven mindset, at times, 8D will be preferred, especially when the customer is already affected by the problem, is bleeding, and has a serious business problem.  At such time, we need to adopt band-aid approach to address the problem rather than address the root cause.  However, it is important to complete the rest of the 8D process and remove the “band-aid” once the root cause is found and addressed or initiate six sigma projects when the issue is difficult to solve.

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8D Problem Solving Methodology or system is also another kind of a system that helps solving problems.

DMAIC is a very good system maybe with some more additions or refinement required,.

I believe the 8D is also already incorporated in DMAIC.


Hence I feel it is also good enough that we use DMAIC itself.


Now since this comparison question has come up, ....

8D is also a detailed problem solving system, it uses several techniques such as 5 Whys, Fault tree, fish bone, etc..

DMAIC also uses the above techniques. But DMAIC does it with a more systematic manner by using D M A I C flow. 


DMAIC definitely needs more refinement by incorporating more elements but still, it is wonderful methodology to find right solutions to problems.

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Quite often, the use of a methodology is indirectly and perhaps unintentionally governed by its history and the original purpose for which the approach was created. Such is the case with Six Sigma and 8D also.


According to Eileen Beachell, one of those involved in documenting the 8D approach originally at Ford, “the 8Ds are a well-defined linear logic methodology to address chronic problems with the purpose of changing the management procedures that allowed the problem to occur in the first place”.


On the other hand, Bill Smith evolved Six Sigma at Motorola, from a study of the relationship between manufacturing defects and field reliability, which resulted in a thrust to improve process capability to the point that no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities would be created when combined with their respective design specifications. The method of course involved use of statistical tools.


The one key difference between these two methodologies in spite of other similarities is the “Implementation and Verification of Interim Containment” in 8D which is not part of the Six Sigma Methodology.


In certain problem-solving situations, there could be some really burning problem and a need for some very quick, yet considered action on this, which should involve multiple skill inputs and multiple stakeholder representation. The action should also include damage control in addition to a permanent solution. There may not be sufficient time to form a cross-functional team, train key people in Six Sigma, go through the DMAIC phases, complete tollgate reviews, run a well-controlled and monitored pilot and complete a full-fledged Six Sigma Project.


In such cases, the 8D approach may be easier to follow, arrest the adverse impacts of the problem, resolve the issue quickly and keep stakeholders satisfied. It need not be necessarily better than the Six Sigma approach, but in this situation, may be that little bit easier to do. A smaller team could be formed quickly within the closest circle of influence and contribution. S the team members are already familiar with one another and with the process also, they can get cracking as a team pretty quickly. To begin with, the problem could be described in detail and a quick correction could be implemented to begin with. This would satisfy the stakeholders for the time being as the adverse impacts of the problem have been contained. Then this team could do a thorough analysis of all potential root causes, identify the relevant ones, identify likely escape routes, design and implement corrective actions and preventive actions.


Additionally, the last scenario of the enhanced Kano Model is the “Reverse” trend. In this, customers who are out to prove their capability in demanding product features that cannot be provided get dissatisfied if their requirements are fulfilled. Something similar to this can happen in implementing Six Sigma in certain organizations. The completeness of the “Six Sigma” approach, the structure in every phase, the need to be aware of and use some basic statistics and sometimes its sheer success and its popularity can occasionally create some irritation in people. They may not really want to be involved in a Six Sigma Project and would be interested in other alternative structured improvement approaches. Such people may be satisfied with the 8D approach, which does have some positives that the Six Sigma approach also has.

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Both DMAIC and 8D are structured and step by step problem solving methods  although DMAIC given by MOTOROLA and 8 D given by Ford.  As name suggests 8D problem solving approach has 8 steps and DMAIC has five steps to solve the problem. 8D has following steps:

D0 is prepare and plan for 8D.

D1: Form a team

D2: Describe the problem

D3:Interim Containment Action

D4:RCA and escape point

D5: permanent corrective action

D6:implement and validate permanent countermeasure action

D7: prevent reoccurence

D8:closure and team celebration 

On the other hand DMAIC has define,  measure,  analyse, improve and control. 


In some situations I would like to go for 8D over DMAIC because 8D problem solving is a detailed,  team oriented approach to solving critical problems I  the production process.  It is design to find out root cause of the problem devise a short term fix and implement a long term solution to prevent reoccurring problems.  When it is clear that our products is defective give and is not going to satisfy customer,  an 8D is an excellent step to improve quality and reliability. 


There are various situations where 8D is applicable,  as it is reactive approach that tends to only surface when correcting a problem that has already occurred.  In this type of situation where problem has already occurs we will not go by DMAIC as it is time consuming by DMAIC and lengthy and we can resolve it by 8 D directly in very simple steps.  On the other hand DMAIC is continous effort based not only on current and known but identify all sources of variation that are significance to cost and Quality and for future prospects of the organisation to sustain in the market. 

Because 8D problem solving works only defects so we will go with this in case of defects because it has already occurred and reached to customer and we can do control by doing this but on the other hand in case of variation data set,  projects about future plans 8D is not good to go,  there we should go by DMAIC because it uses statistical tool in a very precise and controlled way to identifying all circumstances to sustain in the market. 

So situations where once a problem area is identified to work on,  we should prefer 8D as it had a tendency to be more focused and narrowed because it is usually very effective problem solving tool where we need focus on some particular issue.  


In some situations we should not use 8d because it does provide a swt of statistical tools and an order in which to apply them as DMAIC does so well.  DMAIC really wraps a tight methodology and discipline around it.  It provides a more disciplined management approach to prioritise and solve the project with all methodology and tools. 


For example a steel company is supplying steel coil to car manufacturers and car Manufacturing company found some defect at steel level so at that time steel company can resolve it by doing 8D method rather than doing DMAIC because problem already happened and can be controlled by identifying all details related to coil and it's processing history in the plant and taking permanent countermeasure after identifying root cause and close the matter but on the other hand DMAIC is continous effort and in this case no need to do Dmaic beause of time frame and less data available. 


There are situation where we should not go for 8D because biggest downside of 8D is it step 3 implement and verify interim  containment which gives you a false sense that the problem is solved and you can go for the next problem.  It is quick and dirty band-aid approach to addressing the symptoms of a problem not the root cause. It means to stop only bleeding g,  then it's upto team to complete the rest of 8D steps including remove bandaid after found out root cause. But the reality is we don't know how serious enough a business problem is so we can not go  by 8D here,  solve it by using Dmaic. 


So we can go for 8D problem solving process in case of safety or regulatory issues,  when customer complaints are recieved, and warranty concerns are greater than expected one and internal rejects,  waste,  scarp. 


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The 8D problem solving approach, apart from its 8 disciplines was modified with a starting discipline, D0, as ‘Plan’. A tabulated comparison between 8D disciplines and the DMAIC approach are as below:




While the above table has attempted to compare these approaches, we may summarize as below:

  • 8D problem solving techniques are a structured approach to problem solving developed by Ford Motor Company in the 1980s.
  • 8D methodology gives the impression that a problem, predominantly chronic, exists in the organization, with a risk of the problem being passed on to customer.
  • The above point explains the focus by the D3, which calls for developing an interim containment plan and D4, which calls for identifying and verifying ‘escape points’.
  • The Six Sigma DMAIC is a relatively new expression that has become popular in 1990s.
  • In principle, DMAIC takes on from the PDCA thought process, but driven as a rigorous, result oriented methodology.
  • We can point out several similarities between 8D and DMAIC…... while 8D is associated more with solving existing problems that may already be adversely impacting customer, DMAIC is more associated with not just problems, but also opportunities for improving the process profoundly.
  • 8D includes a containment action, which is not prominent in DMAIC.. It doesn’t mean that containment is not relevant when a problem is being resolved through DMAIC, but it does not figure in the DMAIC phases, since DMAIC focuses more strategically on a permanent process improvement. The regular Quality management System is expected to address the actions such as Containment and Escape points.
  • Apart from ‘problem solving’, DMAIC would also address improvement opportunities which may not be pain point for the customer. (hence no containment for such cases). However, these opportunities may focus on improving the internal efficiency of the organization’s operations.
  • DMAIC is more powerful on the “Measure Phase”, where it expects “baseline” sigma measurements, study of process variability, and establishes a measurement method that is maintained throughout the project. While the metrics need to be addressed in the 8D approach as well, it is not expressed so powerfully.
  • 8D has included a discipline “Congratulate the team”, which is not explicit in DMAIC. However, DMAIC is an approach that is part of the tactical component of Six Sigma, a larger company wide program, which has Strategic, Tactical and Cultural components. Well defined reward programs are part of the overall program.

To conclude, use 8D as a regular team based, problem solving approach at floor level. While doing so, we would come across certain problems that would require a higer level thinking and intense change at a process or design level. These may be taken up as a Six Sigma project using DMAIC approach. DMAIC shall also be used for other improvement opportunity, which are identified as part of the Strategic Business Objectives.

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8 disciplines of problem solving is a systematic approach of problem solving. Which encompasses establishing team, describing the problem, containment action identification, root cause identification, corrective action identification, and validation of corrective action, prevention of recurrence, verifying the solution and congratulating the team. 8D will be handy in situations that needs immediate attention, like critical customer complaints. 8D also can come in handy in situation where a six sigma project solution need to be validated or piloted, as validating interim containment action is key aspect of 8D.

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The Eight Disciplines (8D) model is an approach towards solving problems in existing processes, through identification, Correction, Elimination of recurrent problems. Thus like DMAIC, the 8D model is useful in product and process improvement.

The 8D model helps to establish a permanent corrective action based on statistical analysis of the root causes. The 8 Disciplines are:

D1- Use a Team- Define team with people who have knowledge of the process / Product to be improved.

D2- Define the problem- elaborate on the problem in quantifiable terms like what, where, when, why, who, How and How many (5W2H)

D3- develop interim Containment plan; Implement and verify the interim Actions- The objective is to ensure that the customers do not experience the impact of the problem, till the permanent solution is not defined.

D4- Determine , Identify and verify Root Causes and escape points- deduce the root cause for the problem and identify how the problem was not detected earlier – Usage of 5 Whys and Cause and Effect diagrams are used in common.

D5- Choose and verify permanent corrections (PCs) for the problem- Quantitative confirmation that the problems will not recur needs to be done through preproduction programmes or checkpoints in a process.

D6- Implement and Validate the Corrective actions that have evolved from earlier disciplines- select and implement the best action.

D7- Take Preventive measures – make changes to the process/ operational flowif required to prevent the occurrence of the problem in concern or any related problems

D8- Congratulate your team- Recognize and reward the efforts of the team- Incentivise them or make them famous in the organization


More or less, the D8 problem solving approach is similar to the DMAIC methodology as both have the Define, Analyse and Improve Stage. However there are differences when we look at both the approaches subjectively, as per the requirement and ability of the organisation-

The 2 most obvious difference is that;

1)      Six Sigma DMAIC uses a circular strategy (PDSA) whereas 8Ds follows a linear approach for a detected problem- with a defined beginning and ending.

2)      Most Six sigma programs do not have defined logic in the beginning- Organizations use the six sigma methodology to reduce or eliminate defects that is outside of customer specification in any process. Six sigma training programs cover tests of hypothesis and there is always a focus on enumerative statistics. 8D method does not require this as it is more focussed on addressing specific failures that allowed any problem to occur in the first place.


Thus, 8D is a “Structured” problem fixing technique, whereas 6Sigma is an analytical and data driven approach to improve process capability and focusses on minimising variation in a process to reduce or eliminate the defects per million opportunities.


Consequently, many of the six sigma practitioners will agree to use 8D over DMAIC in the following situation:

-          Keeping in mind that 8D is a specific problem solving methodology whereas six sigma uses various problem solving approaches to improve process capability, 8D can be a part of the DMAIC approach as it can be used as a tool to improve output of a process.

-          It will make sense to use the 8D when improving the process is of high priority and there is lack of substantial time as is required by DMAIC process.

-          The above is pragmatically correct all the more when the existing process is not matured at level 04.

-          Training Requirements for Six sigma project is high, at times the training for stakeholders and implementers, in traditional six sigma implementations can take many weeks – this is not feasible in most of the organisations.

-          Primarily, six sigma is an option for larger corporate organisations as most of the training and information available is geared towards that sector. Also, given the overwhelming focus on statistics and big data, which is very difficult for smaller organizations or start-ups to assimilate, It becomes a painstaking exercise. Hence, the 8D seems to be the appropriate approach for immediate problems in the process that are of utmost importance to these small enterprises- Eventually which can look at the bigger picture and evolve into a 6 Sigma organizational program.


Otherwise, The 6 Sigma option is preferred over the 8D approach wherever the environment is conducive to the approach , as mentioned in the note above, with total involvement of the top management of the organization. The advantage of 6Sigma over 8D is that 6 Sigma has been rolled out in many large companies like Motorola and has driven positive change where the customers have benefited along with the employees and other stakeholders- Thus it is a PROVEN SUCCESS

And most importantly ,for any organisation, DMAIC and DMADV processes are specifically designed for SUSTAINABLE solutions- Which visionary would choose anything else???



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Though DMAIC is much powerful problem solving technique but still 8D problem solving technique may also be useful in certain situations, especially when we need some quick-fix solution before arriving at the final or say permanent solution. As compared to DMAIC, one of the fundamental difference of 8D technique is that it has an Interim Containment step, which is kind of band-aid approach useful to give some immediate relief, but still root cause analysis would be required to find a permanent solution. In certain situations, when the business problem is serious enough, it is justified to go for band-aid approach to stop the bleeding, then work on finding the root cause and remove the band-aid after implementing the permanent solution. But one should be cautious with 8D approach because sometimes this Interim Containment step can give a false sense of finding the solution and moving on to the next problem.

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8 Disciplines (8D)


D-Define the Opportunity/Problem 
M-Measure the Current Condition 
A-Analyze the Data 
I-Implement the Improvement Action 
C-Control the Process

0 Prepare for the 8D Process

1 Establish The TeamDefine => Identify problem, define requirements, set goal.

2 Describe The Problem

3 Develop the Interim Containment Action and Verification. (ICA)

4 Define and Verify Root Cause and Escape Point(Verify Potential Causes, Select Likely Causes, Potential Cause = Root Cause, Identify Alternate Solutions. MEASURE: Validate process/problem, Refine Goal/problem. ANALYZE: Develop Hypothesis, Identify few most important root causes. IMPROVE: Attack Root Cause, Test solution, Measure result/standardize solution)

5 Choose and Verify Permanent Corrective Actions (PCAs) for Root Cause and Escape Point

6 Implement and Validate Permanent Corrective Actions [PCA](CONTROL- Establish Standard. Measures to Maintain Performance, Correct Problems as Needed)

7 Prevent Recurrence

8 Recognize Team and Individual Contributions


Difference/when to use and why

1. Well, the difference is actually in 8D there are 3 more steps, and step 3 is the most important one - Implement and verify interim containment - resulting a false guts/sense that you have solved the issue


2. 8D is short term process, generally some weeks, than DMAIC, generally months


3. DMAIC can predicts the failures too, where as 8D used to correct a process


4. 8D used as a immediate action for a flaw,but DMAIC not.


5. DMAIC is tighter, disciplined method/approach than 8D


6. 8D used to stop the current loss/flaws

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It is a problem-solving Six Sigma methodology that does improve your process with lesser variation by having right optimised solution .


8D Problem Solving:

It is a problem solving technique which has 8 steps excluding the planning step. It is objective is to identify, correct, and eliminate recurring problems, and it is useful in product and process improvement.  

The 8 steps numbered as D0, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7 and D8.

         D0: Plan—Plan for solving the problem and determine the prerequisites.
        D1: Use a team—Establish a team of people with product/process knowledge.
        D2: Define and describe the problem—Specify the problem by identifying in quantifiable terms the who,     what, where, when, why, how, and how many (5W2H) for the problem.
        D3: Develop interim containment plan; implement and verify interim actions—Define and implement containment    actions to isolate the problem from any customer.
        D4: Determine, identify, and verify root causes and escape points—Identify all applicable causes that could explain why the problem occurred. Also identify why the problem was not noticed at the time it occurred. 
        D5: Choose and verify permanent corrections (PCs) for problem/nonconformity—Through preproduction programs,  quantitatively confirm that the selected correction will resolve the problem for the customer.
        D6: Implement and validate corrective actions—Define and implement the best corrective actions.
        D7: Take preventive measures—Modify the management systems, operation systems, practices, and procedures to      prevent recurrence of this and all similar problems.
       D8: Congratulate your team—Recognize the collective efforts of the team. 


Similarities between DMAIC and 8 D Problem Solving






8D Problem Solving



Problem Solving, with the extensive usage of statistical tools and techniques

Problem solving through data analytical tools


Makes use of Root Cause Analysis

Makes use of Root Cause analytical techniques




Differences between DMAIC and 8 D Problem Solving






8D Problem Solving



Can be used only for problems which do not need immediate attention.

Can be used when a problem needs to be immediately addressed


Uses statistical approach and data to do problem solving

Makes use of Root Cause analytical techniques







When do we use 8D Problem Solving and not DMAIC ?


1.       When there is a quick fix to be done for the problem at hand that needs RCA and a correction then use 8D problem solvin



When do we use DMAIC  and not 8D Problem Solving ?


Quite a few things to be considered as when we go for DMAIC . Some essential points mentioned here

1.       When you do not know root cause  , solution for a problem and it requires deeper thinking or analysis

2.       When this problem has been existing for quite some time

3.       When you have time to address the problem with proper statistical measures comparing

4.       Once you have fixed/addressed the problem using techniques like 8D problem solving and want to ensure that you want to put a better process



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“Hi guys, this was quite a tricky question compelling us to think thoroughly before writing any response. Almost all of us got the understanding of both 8D and DMAIC very clearly and same can be seen in majority of the answers. The key in the question was would you prefer 8D over DMAIC in some situations and why?.

The most relevant and best three answers were from Arunesh, Kavitha Sunder and Karthik Marimuthu. 

Karthik tried and explained both concepts nicely and also addressed the key part as to when to use 8D over DMAIC. Hence he bags the honour of giving the best answer for this question.”

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