The process improvement phases of Six Sigma are Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.  This blog post is a quick overview of the Measure phase.

Measure Phase Quick Summary:

In the Measure Phase, the measurement system is validated, the baseline performance of the process is determined, and the key process inputs and outputs are identified. In some cases, a measurement system will need to be put in place if data has never been collected. One of the important aspects of the measure phase is to determine “what to measure”. Although various process improvement tools are available to help determine what variables to measure, the data collection plan should be one of the first steps.

Data Collection Plan Questions:

The Data Collection Plan is typically in excel format and identifies the how, what, who, why, when, and where of the data that is to be collected.

    • How is the data being collected? How much data is being collected? Is it automated or manual?
    • What data is being collected? What is your sampling plan? Have you identified the key input and outputs that drive the process improvements?
    • Who will collect and analyze the data?
    • Why are you collecting this data? Are you collecting the data to measure efficiency, effectiveness, or predictability?
    • When and what frequency are you collecting the data? Are you collecting the data hourly, daily, weekly, and/or monthly?
    • Where are your collecting the data? Is the data being collected in an existing technology system, excel spreadsheet, or other tool?

Some Additional Measure Phase Process Improvement Tools:

    • Process Mapping – visual tool to help document the process (include key inputs and key outputs)
    • Capability Analysis – analysis that determines how well a process performs relative to the product specifications
    • Cause & Effect (Fishbone) Analysis – a visual tool to help determine the true root causes of a problem versus symptoms by bucketing them into cause categories
    • Process FMEA (Failure Modes & Effects Analysis) – a multi-phase tool that assesses process risk by evaluating potential failure modes and recommended actions to mitigate the risk

Branner Consulting, LLC can help you at any stage along your journey from process documentation to implementing process improvement projects. We also provide coaching and training in Six Sigma and Lean methodologies.