Improve Phase Quick Summary
The improve phase focuses on creating, evaluating, and implementing solutions that address your root causes. Many six sigma practitioners enjoy this phase the most because it allows them to use a myriad of tools to plan and test solutions as well as perform data analysis to compare before and after results. At the end of the day, we all enjoy seeing that our solutions have solved the problem!
Some process improvement tools that can be used in the improve phase:
- Brainstorming – classic tool to develop a robust list of potential solutions by generating a large number ideas in a controlled session
- Impact versus Effort Matrix – a 2 by 2 matrix that has impact on the vertical side and effort on the horizontal side; the team will evaluate each solution by asking how much impact and how much effort it takes to implement the solution with most teams favoring ideas that have the largest impact with the smallest amount of effort
- Pugh Matrix – a tool that can be used to evaluate solutions against “standard” or “datum” solution using various criteria identified
- PDCA (Plan Do Check Act Cycle) – A great methodology to use to create a pilot program to evaluate a potential solution.
- 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
- Design of Experiments (DOE) – experiments designed to understand the impact of various factors, their interactions, and determine the optimal performance settings to have the largest impact on improving the root causes
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.