Six Sigma is a set of strategies that focuses on improving the quality of products and services. Integral to the initiative is the DMADV method — DMADV is an acronym for the five main steps that make up the strategy:
- Define your customers and their requirements.
- Measure the performance of your processes against your customers’ requirements.
- Analyze the causes of defects.
- Design or redesign your processes accordingly.
- Verify your designs to ensure they help you meet your customers’ requirements.
You can use the DMADV method when you need to develop a new product or improve an existing product that’s failing to meet quality standards.
The main advantage of the DMADV method compared to other approaches to quality control is that it’s customer-driven. The process aims to achieve maximum customer satisfaction while increasing your profits and minimizing your defect rates. Its objective is to reduce defects to no more than 3.4 defects per one million products, where anything not acceptable to your customers is considered a defect. It focuses on your entire production and planning process, rather than just the final product, and helps you establish areas for improvement before you encounter defects or shortcomings. It’s particularly valuable in the production of precision goods, such as medical devices, where quality is of the utmost importance.
One of the main disadvantages of the DMADV method is that its implementation takes precedence over innovation and creativity. In addition, its customer focus means you may need to favor more expensive internal quality-control measures that support the goal of achieving the Six Sigma-stipulated level of consumer satisfaction over cheaper measures that carry a slighter higher risk of defects. Training your employees in Six Sigma is also costly and time-consuming. Even without formal training leading to Six Sigma certification, a significant amount of training is necessary to help your employees understand the strategy and apply its principles to your processes.
You may find the DMADV method ideal for ensuring the quality of your products, or you may find it too costly or otherwise impractical to implement. As with any quality improvement strategy, you need to evaluate its pros and cons to determine whether it benefits your business.
Alternatively, you can hire a specialty consulting partner that provides on-demand strategic support and tactical project management expertise to assist you with Six Sigma DMADV Method implementation on your next product launch initiative.