Most of the time, when we ask for a definition of Lean, the answer given is often a list of tools, which does not reflect the approach at all.

The knowledge and mastery of Lean tools is central but knowing how to provide a good diagnosis is crucial, the two work together and are inseparable.

We will discuss in this article the DMAIC method and its appropriate tools, the list of tools proposed is a non-exhaustive list it will allow you to find your way and adapt to your situation.

The DMAIC process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) combines the notion of diagnosis and the use of associated tools, it allows to order the activities based on collected data while using specific tools at each step of the method.

Step 1: Define

The tools used for this step will allow to :

– Define the scope and boundaries of the project and the project team

– Map the process in order to study it, identify the influencing factors, identify the different flows

– To make a synthesis on the customer needs, to formalize them

The tools :

Project charter : Document issued by the project sponsor containing the information necessary to carry out the project.

VOC – Voice of Customer : This is a tool for collecting information to identify customer needs.

SIPOC – Suppliers-Inputs-Process-Outputs-Customers : it will allow you to identify the perimeter on which to act.

VSM – Initial Value Stream Mapping : This tool allows the mapping of the process in its initial state.

Flow Diagram : Schematic representation of the activities of a process.

Step 2 : Measure

The Measure step is a data compilation step, the tools used will allow :

– Measuring customer satisfaction parameters and the process factors that influence them

– Collecting data

– Analyze the data

Tools for the Measure step

Process Analysis : It is a graphical tool that simplifies an operational process by eliminating all unnecessary steps. It is a data collection method based on field observation.

Capability : Capability is a method of measuring the ability of a machine, process or measuring device to achieve a required performance.

Pareto Diagram : This is an analysis tool that allows you to determine the importance of different phenomena.

Step 3 : Analyze

For this step the tools are used for :

– Getting the collected data and process analyses to speak for themselves

– Identify the root causes of malfunctions

– Determine the variables and their causes

Tools for the Analyze step

Brainstorming : This is a formalized technical method of creative and collective problem solving.

5M : It is a method of researching causes based on 5 themes: man, machine, medium, mission, management.

FMECA – Failure Mode Analysis of their Effects and Criticality : This method of predictive risk analysis is based on the identification, analysis and evaluation of potential failures of the system under study.

Benchmarking : This is an approach designed to compare one’s company, organization and processes with one’s partners and, in the best of cases, with one’s competitors.

Step 4 : Improve

This step Improve allows to move from theory to practice the implementation of the solution(s), the tools will allow :

– Confirm the assumptions made in the Analyze phase

– Implement improvement solutions

– Verify the effectiveness of the solution(s)

Tools for the Improve step

The standard: It is a tool to focus on adding value, without waste by using the best way known at a given time to perform a task.

Experimental designs : The objective of experimental design is to study the influence of the modification of different parameters on the same process.

VSM – Value Stream Mapping : This tool allows the mapping of the target process, highlighting the improvement areas to achieve it.

5W1H – Who ? What ? Where ? When ? Why ? How ? It is a questioning method based on the use of Who, What, Where, When, How and Why questions to identify a situation.

Step 4 : Control

The tools used in this step are used to :

– Communicate objectives

– Verify the good progress of the project

– Mastering change

Tools for the Control step

Visual management : It is a tool allowing the communication of information through the visual, it helps to dispel misunderstandings, to save time, and to highlight aberrations.

Performance Indicators : A tool to evaluate the achievement of these objectives.

The control cards : It is a tool that allows to ensure the follow-up and the piloting of a manufacturing process. The maps define control limits, located within customer tolerances, and play a warning role during production through the implementation of sampling and sample measurements.

There are several other tools that can be used according to your situation, the real added value is not to know a maximum of them but to know how to make the right diagnosis and to know how to select the tools that will allow you to reveal the bottlenecks, analyze the root causes and find solutions.

You will soon find more information about the DMAIC method and the tools used for your Lean deployment in our Lean Academy soon available on our TEEPTRAK website.