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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Basics of Lean and Six Sigma for the Laboratory. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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DMAIC: Improve Phase

The team now understands the root causes of the problem. The next phase, "Improve," is about creating and implementing solutions to eliminate root causes. Some of the previously discussed concepts are used during this phase, including brainstorming of potential solutions, FMEA to evaluate risk, and DOE to test out potential solutions.
One problem with brainstorming solutions is coming away with too many solutions. To help the team identify workable solutions, a matrix similar to the one used in project selection can be used. Solutions can be identified by their complexity and impact. The team should ideally aim to implement solutions that are easy with high impact.
Once solutions are identified and agreed upon by the team, the solutions should be tested out on a small scale, if possible, prior to full implementation to reduce the possibility of failure. An implementation plan should be created. The implementation plan should include a procedure for the process, timeline for implementation, and a summary of the project.