LSS Series #2: DMAIC and Lean Six Sigma Phase 1: DEFINE
For LSS Series #1 we explained the definition, principles, and benefits of Lean Six Sigma. Start your journey towards increased revenue, reduced costs and improved collaboration by using Lean Six Sigma Methodologies.
Lean and Six Sigma complement each other. Lean accelerates Six Sigma, delivering greater results than what would typically be achieved by Lean or Six Sigma individually.
Combining these two methods gives your company a comprehensive tool set to increase the speed and effectiveness of any process within your organization – resulting in increased revenue, reduced costs and improved collaboration.
PHASE 1: DEFINE
What problem would you like to fix? The Define Phase is the first phase of the Lean Six Sigma improvement process. In this phase, the leaders of the project create a “Project Charter”, a high-level view of the process, and begin to understand the needs of the internal/external customer. This is a critical phase of Lean Six Sigma in which your teams build an outline that will define all future efforts in the Lean Six Sigma process.
Define the problem by developing a “Problem Statement”
Confirm the process is causing problems.
At this stage the team should have access to some existing data that shows an ongoing problem. They will refine the data during data collection, but they must confirm that there are indications of an issue.
Confirm the problem is a high priority and will have a high impact.
Having established the existence of a process issue, the team must create a Problem Statement. The Problem Statement includes:
- Severity: How big is the problem? This can consist of the percentage of the time there are errors, the number of late orders per month, etc. Be specific to put data into perspective. Specific data may not be available right away, so the team can fill in the blanks later during the Measure Phase.
- Business Impact: What is the pain felt by the business or why should anyone care about solving this issue? Will solving the problem result in greater revenue or cost savings?
- Specific Area: What department or units are involved?
Define the goal by developing a “Goal Statement”
The Goal Statement should be a direct reflection of the Problem Statement. For example, if orders are 10% late, then the goal might be to cut that down to 5% late. This statement defines measurable, time-bound terms of exactly when the team and project will be considered successful.
Define process by developing maps of the process
The team begins with the a bird’s eye view of the process, also known as a high-level process map. The classic tool here is called a SIPOC meaning, Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers. This initial one-page document is used throughout the life of the project.
Once the high-level map is completed, the team can choose a key area of the process to conduct a deep dive. This is called Detailed Mapping. This can be done in lanes representing departments, or it can be done as a simple flow-chart.
Define your customer and their requirements
The focus of each project is the customer of the process. The customer is defined as the individuals or groups who receive the goods or services of the process. Customers can be external to the organization or an internal component of the organization.
During the Define Phase, the team must contact internal/external customers to better understand their requirements of the process, or the “Voice of the Customer.” After interviewing or surveying customers, the team must translate that information into measurable requirements that will give the team insight on how to improve the process or solve the problem.
Did you know we offer our customers a suite of complementary Lean Six Sigma services with DTG LSS Black Belt, Cam Shaheen?