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Learning All About DMAIC vs. DMEDI

written by: N Nayab • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/19/2013

DMAIC and DMEDI are Six Sigma approaches aimed at reducing defects to 3.4 per million opportunities. The difference between DMAIC and DMEDI is that DMAIC is an analytical data-driven approach applied to improve existing processes whereas DMEDI is a creative approach used to develop new processes.

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    Eliminating Weaknesses, Improving Processes

    Difference between DMAIC and DMEDI DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) is an analytical, data-driven approach used to eliminate weaknesses or improve existing processes, products, and services to meet customer expectations. DMAIC focuses on incremental improvements such as reducing variation and defects. However small, there are differences between DMAIC and DMEDI.

    DMEDI (Define, Measure, Explore, Develop, and Implement), like DMAIC, is data and statistical driven, but instead of a purely analytical approach, this approach entails application of creativity in using data to design new robust processes, products and services. DMEDI aims at securing a quantum leap over existing processes, products, or services, and seeks a competitive advantage.

    While DMAIC steps find common use to improve existing processes to suit customer needs, DMEDI processes help in establishing new processes or changing processes after defining customer needs relative to a product or service. DMEDI might also find application in cases where:

    • Existing processes, products or services remain broken or dysfunctional to the extent that starting from scratch becomes the best option.
    • The gap between the desired objective and the current performance remains huge.
    • The situation demands a quantum leap in performance.
    • A process, product or service does not meet the desired customer expectations even after application of DMAIC.

    While DMEDI is a superior approach compared to DMAIC, the application of DMEDI requires longer lead-time and considerable resources compared to DMAIC. DMEDI also remains unsuited for Kaizen.

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    The “Define" and “Measure" Phases

    DMAIC and DMEDI share the first two phases: “Define" and “Measure."

    There is no difference in the “Define" phase of both DMAIC and DMEDI, with both approaches making explicit the business problems, desired results, and limitations in clear terms. The major difference between DMAIC and DMEDI relates to the “Measure" stage. The “measure" phase of DMAIC determines customer groups and customer requirements, and obtains data to measure performance.

    The “measure" phase of DMEDI places critical importance to define customers and their needs. While DMAIC works on the existing definitions of Critical Customer Requirements (CCR) and baseline outputs, DMAIC applies tools such as Voice of the Customer to determine CCR afresh.

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    The "Analyze" and "Explore" Phases

    Both the “analysis" phase of DMAIC and the “explore" phase of DMEDI entails analysis of business processes. The deliverables however differ. The DMAIC approach breaks down existing data to analyze root cause of a defect or problem whereas the DMEDI approach explores various options to provide a conceptual design of a new process that satisfies customer needs and specifications in the best way.

    DMAIC’s “analysis" stage is tangible whereas DMEDI’s “explore" stage is conceptual.

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    The "Improve" and "Develop" Phases

    DMAIC’s “improve" phase delivers the improved process by removing the defects or drawbacks from exiting processes, and it bases such improvement on data or mathematical proof.

    DMEDI’s “develop" stage, after exploring the various design options for the new process, product, or service, delivers the most optimal design based on customer preferences.

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    The "Control" and "Implementation" Phases

    Both DMAIC and DMEDI deliver comprehensive control plans and charts to monitor the activity of the new process.

    The DMAIC approach entails establishing control systems to prevent the improved process from relapsing to the previous defects or drawbacks, and seeks to check waste, cost, or time in a process.

    DMEDI’s "implement" stage entails putting the adopted business model through simulation tests to verify its efficacy in meeting customer needs and specifications, and seeks to prevent potential losses.

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    1. Jones, Steven, H. DMEDI or DMAIC? That is the Question
    2. Differences between the DMAIC and DMEDI in six sigma?
    Image created by the writer.