Last Updated on 11 September 2023
The Improve phase is the fourth step in the DMAIC model of Six Sigma. After identifying and validating the root causes of process problems in the Analyze phase, the Improve phase aims to develop, test, and implement effective solutions for these identified root causes to enhance process performance.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the different steps involved in the Improve phase.
1. Generate Potential Solutions:
- Brainstorm, research, or use established best practices by benchmarking to other departments or competitors to develop a list of potential solutions addressing the root causes.
- Apply the concepts of lean and innovative thinking to address existing root causes.
2. Evaluate and Select the Best Solutions:
- Assess the impact, ease of implementation, and overall effectiveness of the potential solutions using tools like Pugh Matrix, decision matrices, or cost-benefit analysis.
- Prioritize solutions that have the highest potential to deliver improvements while considering resource availability and potential risks.
3. Develop a Plan for Testing the Solutions:
- Create a detailed plan for testing the chosen solutions, including specific methodologies, timelines, and required resources.
- Use pilot tests or small-scale implementations to assess the solution’s effectiveness before full-scale process changes are undertaken.
4. Implement the Solutions:
- Deploy the selected solutions following the plan created, with a focus on effectively managing change and minimizing disruptions.
- Ensure that proper training, communication, and support are in place for the team and stakeholders who will be involved in or affected by the solution.
5. Monitor and Measure the Results:
- Track KPIs and other relevant metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented solutions.
- Compare the results against the baseline performance established in the Measure phase to demonstrate the level of improvement achieved.
6. Adjust and Optimize the Solutions:
- Based on the ongoing monitoring and measurement of results, identify any further optimization or adjustments required for the solution.
- Iterate this process of implementing adjustments and measuring the outcomes until the desired performance improvements are realized.
The Improve phase forms a crucial part of the DMAIC Six Sigma methodology. This phase’s objective is to implement the most effective solutions to resolve the identified root causes, driving significant and lasting improvements in business processes.