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Rapid Improvement sequence vs DMAIC process improvement approach

Go to solution Solved by Avinash Modi,



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


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Avinash Modi on 19th December 2018.


Applause for all the respondents - Mustafa Rangwalla, Kiran Kumar



Q. 119  Explain by giving examples how should one decide about selecting a suitable process improvement approach in a given situation. Compare and contrast DMAIC with Rapid Improvement sequences like Kaizen.


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DMAIC approach should be used when you don't know the problem and solution but you do have target to achieve.


For example : "We want to reduce our Fossil fuel consumption by 10 %" Here in this project we dont know what are the reasons for high FF consumption but somehow we need to reduce that so first will need to identify problem or reasons for high consumption and then solutions as well, hence we should prefer DMAIC approach.


Kaizen approach should be used where one already knows the problem and the solution


For example: "Changing single drive motor of high HP to multi drive motor of low HP for better performance and low electricity consumption" Here in this case changing motor is itself idea/solution for reducing high electricity consumption.


In a nutshell DMAIC approach to be used for a Goal/problem and Kaizen approach should be used for idea for improvement.

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First and foremost, it's a wrong notion that Kaizen is a rapid improvement technique. Kaizen means Continuous Improvement, which means it's a journey and not a destination. Kaizen is not a specific tool, rather it's a mindset of Continuous Improvement. Kaizen helps to identify all the 3Mu's (Muda, Mura & Muri) and improves all aspects of a business through process standardization, efficiency increase and waste elimination.

The fallacy created about Kaizen being rapid improvement technique, stems from the feature of Kaizen - big results come from countless small changes which are accumulated over time. This actually means that everyone is involved in making improvement.

Classic example of Kaizens can be transformational projects taken by Senior Management, conducted by a cross-functional team, which aims at improving all the functions & aspects of overall business of an organization.


DMAIC, which is one of the tools under Six  Sigma, primarily focussing on Mura (variation/inconsistency). Thus DMAIC focusses on improving the quality of final outcome by finding and eliminating causes of defects due variances in the business process.


Conclusion -

If variation in the process needs to be curtailed then DMAIC / DMADV can be used.

If complete business process transformation / mindset change is needed, then Kaizen approach is useful.

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Rapid Improvement Sequence tools(like Kaizen) can be used when the Improvemet/solution seems obvious and can be implemented with certainty about  the outcome & benefits that would come along.

The DMAIC approach is used when one knows there is a Problem, is able to see the Probelem quantified but is not in the knowledge of what the solution for the problem is or what is the most cost effective and long sustaining solution.

Both these approaches are unique in their own right : As one is suitable or the other and not One vs Other.

I have witnessed the same in Hotels, where a problem like speeding could be solved with 1) Welding a small piece of iron to ENSURE the drive does not accelerate beyond a speed limit(many a times these solutions are replication or adapation to current situation) 2) Energy Conservation being attaked with a HIGH Level DMAIC project...

Hope it helps :)

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