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DMAIC: The Analyze Phase – Figure out “What’s Wrong and Why?” (Lean Six Sigma)

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DMAIC: The Analyze Phase - Figure ou...

(Duration: 4:53)

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The Analyze Phase’s 3 Steps, always deal with root causes

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black Belt.

Today, I would like to talk about the 3rd phase of DMAIC, the Analyze Phase.  The Analyze Phase’s theme is to answer a question: “What’s wrong and why?”  You can solve this question with these 3 steps:

1) Find and clarify the most critical problems in your target process.

2) Search for and clarify their root causes.

3) Make a problem statement and add solution notes.  This will be preparation for the next phase, which is the Improve Phase.

We encounter many problems at work every day and spend a lot of time and effort to solve these problems.  Metaphorically speaking, it’s like you’re putting out a fire on the surface while its root fire is still burning. It will never be extinguished that way.

You should first find the root fire and the cause of the fire, then prevent the cause. It’s a fundamental solution.  In Lean Sigma, we always deal with root causes not surface problems. It’s very important to be able to distinguish a root cause from a surface problem.

The substance of fundamental problems are the 3 M’s: Mura, Muri and Muda.

The Toyota Production System clarifies very simply and accurately that the substance of fundamental problems are the 3 M’s: ‘Mura’ , ‘Muri’ and ‘Muda’, which are ‘Unevenness’, ‘Overburden’ and ‘Waste’.

Isn’t it great news for managers that if you solve the 3 M’s among numerous problems, you can resolve most of their problems? In fact it’s true.

Among ‘Unevenness’, ‘Overburden’ and ‘Waste, Waste is the highest priority. Since its occurrence is the most frequent and it’s easiest to solve it, you should focus on that first. Toyota has a slogan for it: “Thorough Elimination of Waste”.

Furthermore, Toyota has clarified the essence of waste as ‘the 7 Wastes’. Actually Lean Sigma added an 8th waste: ‘Employees’ Unused Creativity’, so we call it ‘the 8 Wastes’. An earlier video explains that in detail, so click the link below and watch the video later.

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1) Find and clarify the most critical problems (the biggest wastes)

Next, how can we do it practically?  You can do that on a Value Stream Map. After making a Value Stream Map for your current target process, conduct the Value-added/Non-value-added Analysis and the 8-Waste Analysis.

During the analyses, always keep your CTQ, Critical To Quality, in mind which you decided in the Measure Phase. I’ll show you this exercise using an Excel template in the next video.

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Also when you have enough data and your data analysis shows high-level variations from your target process, especially if it’s CTQ, that’s a sign of a Vital-Few problem.

2) Search for and clarify their root causes

After identifying your Vital-Few problems, you’ll search for their root causes. In order to do that, gather your target process’s supervisors and conduct an Ishikawa Diagram analysis. During the analysis, you should use Toyota’s famous 5-Why Analysis.

Ask yourself or the team “Why did the problems happen?”, and after every answer, ask them again. Do this at least five times. Connect each answer logically and fill out the fish-bone shaped Ishikawa diagram. This forces you to think on a deeper level and find the root cause.

3) Make a problem statement and add solution notes

Lastly, make a problem statement in order to later discuss solutions and a preventive plan. It’s a good practice to add memos about solutions to this.

The Toyota Production System suggests many solution methods that can be utilized for service operation improvement. I’ll talk about those too in the future.

We discussed DMAIC’s Analyze Phase today. Thank you very much for viewing. Please click the ‘Subscribe’ button. Also click and watch my other related videos. Thanks.