PDCA, PDSA, DMAIC, IDEA, classical approach are all different problem solving methodologies. Their use can fix and resolve many problems and compete a variety of projects. The PDCA cycle it’s a graphical and logical representation of how most individuals already solve problems. It helps to think that every activity and job is part of a process, that each stage has a customer and that the improvement cycle will send a superior product or service to the final customer. PLAN: establish a plan to achieve a goal DO: enact the plan CHECK: measure and analyse the results ACT: implement necessary reforms if results are not as expected
The PDSA or Plan-Do-Study-Act continuous improvment spiral is a team oriented problem solving technique. The team focus objective is to improve the input and the output of any stage. As the PDCA, the PDSA - by Edwards Deming - are very useful techniques in product/process improvement projects. PLAN: what change could be desirable? DO: carry out the change or test preferably on small scale. STUDY: observe the changes of what has been done. ACT: study the results; what lessons was learned? What can be predicted from what was learned? Results may indicate that at least for now, no change at all is needed. Repeat step 1 with the new knowledge accumulated. Repeat step 2 and onward.
Classical approach with the main team problem solving steps IDENTIFY business or customer problem and select one using one of more of these tools: brainstorming, check sheets, PDCA, customer feedback, pareto charts, process flow. DEFINE the problem and reduce it to smaller units so as to solve them one by one using these tools: fishbone diagrams, chech sheets, VSM, systematic troubleshooting, Pareto and process flow diagrams. INVESTIGAGE the problem collecting all sort of data and facts. ANALYZE the problem to find all the possible causes and prioritize them: brainstorming, check sheets, fishbone diagrams, Pareto and process flow diagrams, systematic troubleshooting, DOE, hypothesis testing. SOLVE the problem by chosing from the solutions available those with the greatest organizational benefit: obtain approval and support from the management and start with implementing the solution. CONFIRM the results making sure that problems stay fixed, collecting and keeping record of the implemented solution.
The IDEA problem solving loop is similar in nature to the PDCA and DMAIC process cycles. The process of IDEA consists of basic step-by-step questions to guide the problem solving team toward new and innovative solutions. The IDEA report is formatted so that the four steps are concisely and clearly displayed on one page. INVESTIGATE: provide a problem statment, background information, determine the cause of the problem. DESIGN: envision the idealized future state, suggest several solutions, indicate the potentially best solution. EXECUTE: detail key goals of the project, outline the implementation steps, indicate expected project impact. ADJUST: Reflect on the project outcome and results.
The Six Sigma methodology has two components: the strategy and the tactic. The strategic component is the Business Process Management (BPM) and one of the tactic components is DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control. To apply the continuous improvment to already existing processes Six Sigma has a “work horse tool”: the DMAIC. Each step of the DMAIC process is required to ensure the best possible results from Lean Six Sigma projects. When new products or new processes must be created within a Six Sigma project, another tool is used, the DMADV: Define, Measure, Analyse, Design, Verify. DEFINE the customer, the CTQ - Critical to Quality issues, the business involved. MEASURE the performance of the business process involved. ANALYSE the data collected and processes to identify the root cause of defects and opportunities for improvement. IMPROVE the target process by design solutions to fix and to prevent problems. CONTROL the improvements to keep the process on the new course.
According to a definition given by Joseph Moses Juran on 1999, a business process is the locigal organization of people, materials, energy, equipment and information into work activities designed to produce a required end result (product or service). Efforts to improve local process components are replaced by systematic methods to understand, control and improve overall business result. These methods have evolved to address specific business objectives. The SIPOC diagram is the Six Sigma “work horse tool” and is the foundation technique for Lean Six Sigma improvement. SUPPLIER: the person or the organization which provides resources to the process (info, materials, service) INPUT: the info, the materials, the service provided PROCESS: the set of action steps which is transforming the input into output adding customer value OUTPUT: the result of the process (product or service) CUSTOMER: the person, the process, the organization that receives the output The SIPOC model is widely used in Lean Six Sigma helping to better figure out the business from an overall process perspective. Among its major benefits: 1. To display cross functional activities in simple diagrams 2. To provide a framework applicable to all processes of any size 3. To keep the big picture of the business prospective 4. To provide methods for adding details when needed 5. The use of the SIPOC model largely enhances monitoring, controlling, understanding and improving business processes.