Six-Sigma DMAIC Training

Six-Sigma DMAIC Training

Team C


Oct 08, 2018



Robert Sell

Six-Sigma DMAIC Training

DMAIC is a widely used data-driven quality strategy designed to improve processes. “It is an integral part of a Six Sigma initiative, but in general can be implemented as a standalone quality improvement procedure or as part of other process improvement initiatives such as lean” (ASQ, 2017). The acronym for DMAIC is broken down into five phases that make up the process: “Define the problem, improvement activity, opportunity for improvement, the project goals, and customer (internal and external) requirements. Measure process performance. Analyze the process to determine root causes of variation, poor performance (defects)” (ASQ, 2017). The purpose of this paper is to focus on the Define and Measure phases for McDonald’s.

Identify Customers Priorities

The first step in the DMAIC Lean Six Sigma process, define, is what is used to identify the problem or opportunity for process improvement. McDonald’s continues to be influential in the fast food industry. It encourages other businesses to focus on its customers. “Under the entrepreneurial spirit and harmony of system wide about McDonald’s plan to win enables them to execute the best ideas to the efficiency of large-scale and local talent. With the McDonald’s restaurant have been giving experience simple, easy and please the customer” (UK, 2017). Overall, the customer’s priorities were very basic: Fast service, low prices, and accurate orders.

Six Sigma Efforts Based Project

McDonald’s Six Sigma Project is to improve the wait time of customers when placing orders. For example, customers would like to place and receive their order, hot and fresh, within the standard order time. When customers place orders for hot and fresh food, prepared to their specifications, the employee must inform the customer that there will be an additional wait time for specific preparations. On several occasions refunds have been given due to the customer not willing to wait after receiving majority of their order and then waiting an additional period to receive specific preparations. The process can be improved to provide the customer with better service in a timely manner. This would mean that McDonald’s would strive to inform and reduce customer wait times for specific preparations.

McDonald’s will develop solutions, pilot test, and a Plan-Do-Study, which will establish a change, that will solve the problem by eliminating or reduce the wait time to provide the customer with food to his or her specifications. To problem solve the issue an improvement strategy can be established. These improvements may serve as a marketing strategy to entice customers (fresh, hot, as you like it, cooked to order, etc.).

Customer Needs & Feedback

“There is nothing arbitrary about the Six Sigma practice — and the business of McDonald’s. “When specifications are created at McDonald’s, it is because it is important to what the customer wants and requires. And the results prove that — everyday, 64 million people in 118 countries visit a McDonald’s” (UK, 2013) The demographics of McDonald’s customers are very large and diversified. McDonald’s customers are looking for a convenient, time efficient, and value priced meal that is consistently a good quality source of nourishment. McDonald provides these to their customers by maintaining product and service standardization, take care in placement of the restaurants, provide low prices, and speed of service. McDonald’s business objective is to provide its customers with food of high standard, quick service and value at an affordable price. The business objectives are viewpoints of operations that can be improved to better meet the customer experience. McDonald’s strives to constantly make improvements to better service their customers.

Productivity and Quality of Service

The operational processes are things that would be standard from restaurant to restaurant. The personal processes would be things that have a higher variance and the difference is primarily based on location and the individual employee.

Food preparation time is vital to creating a fast and enjoyable eating experience. The food preparation can fall into two categories pre-order preparation and cook time. Ordering time should be as low as possible without rushing the customer; there is the inside order time and the drive-through order time. Finally, the average wait time is the amount of time it takes to get your food after ordering. The measurement should come in two categories the drive though wait time and the inside wait time. These factors are more quantitative and can be easily tracked and calculated.

Personal productivity will be measured in vital ways to improve the function of the establishment, but the difference is that improvement will come through coaching and not process changes. The factors would include: 1) error made in preparation, 2) the friendliness of the staff, and 3) cleanliness of the establishment. These factors are a hybrid of qualitative and quantitative measurements.

Customer Service

Identify new and innovate ways to energize and differentiate the McDonald’s customer experience fostering increased customer loyalty while improving speed of service and convenience to customers.


Address and anticipate customer preferences by creating new healthy and creative menu options; further differentiate McDonald’s offerings while staying true to the brand, the menu best-sellers, and the ongoing need for speed, consistency, and high-quality standards in food preparation.


Find opportunities to introduce operating efficiencies and reduce costs; find creative ways to pass these savings onto the customer; improve the affordability and reach of McDonald’s offerings to deliver the greatest value to the widest customer base while growing profitability.

When using Six Sigma to address a production or service process, customer CTQ’s (or expectations) are the “y” or dependent variable(s) that are measured and compared to the expectation. The Six Sigma approach is aimed at identifying the causes are having an impact on the process resulting in variation.

Identifying Areas of Concern

According to (Oches, 2018), McDonald’s average customer lead time in 2013 was ranked 4th of seven fast food chains. From a sample 317 chains taken from 40 different states during the second quarter of 2013, the Drive Through Performance Study measured the average customer lead time for McDonald’s at three minutes and ten seconds. Though there are areas of concern other than customer lead time let us focus on this specific problem that may be resolved potentially in a various number of ways.

Problem Statement

Customer lead time at McDonald’s was ranked fourth of seven fast food chains which led to a decrease in profit, loss of customers, and decreased customer service. During a four month study in 2013 in the months of April through July, the customer lead time was nine seconds over the sample average and almost a full minute longer for McDonald’s compared to the leader in Customer Lead Time; Wendy’s (Oches, 2018).

Critical-to-Quality Characteristics

The ultimate determination of how well a fast food restaurant is going to do is based on the customer and their preferences. The primary critical-to-quality characteristics sought after are: orders delivered correctly, competitive customer lead time, and positive service attendant demeanor. In order for McDonald’s to do well it’s management must focus on the customer at all costs and be competitive in the process. Specifically, McDonald’s should focus on two items: reducing it’s customer lead time from 3 minutes 10 seconds to between 2 minutes 13 seconds and 3 minutes, as well as delivering orders between 87.2 percent and 91.6 percent accuracy as determined by the Drive Through Performance Study (Oches, 2018). A third item of interest that needs focus is increasing the frequency of positive service attendant demeanor.

In order to reduce customer lead time the focus can be narrowed to three drivers: decreasing process steps, increasing process rhythm, and reducing the effects of process bottlenecks. The decrease in process steps can be further understood by focusing on the CTQ metrics such as notating the full production process then eliminating steps that can be consolidated. Increasing the process rhythm can be achieved by increasing the training of employees in order to make the new process second nature. Setting up a metric such as timing is important measuring when the order was taken and when the order is ready to be taken to the customer. Finally, reducing bottlenecks in the production process will quickly reduce the customer lead time. Simply determining the bottlenecks in the production process by considering the capacity of the weakest points and eliminating them.


Process & Performance

The primary measurements will be based on industry standards, according to a study by Quick Service Restaurant and entrepreneurial magazine, for the franchised restaurant: Ordering time – 2 minutes, 10 seconds, Drive through perpetration time – 3 minutes, 9 seconds, Inside preparation time – 3 minutes, 15 seconds.

The measurements for these critical processes can easily be tracked through the ordering terminals and the order processing screens in the preparation area. Comparing the location’s performance with the industry average times will give a good indication on which processes need to be improved. These are average times to include slow and prime hours. The numbers are derived with a comparison to all key competitors, including but not limited to Wendy’s, Burger King, In-and-Out Burger, Carl’s Jr., and others.

Key Processes That Influence CQT

Six sigma revolves around various mythologies which systemize the internal processes in a way that has structure and meets important standards. One of the methodologies used in Six Sigma is DMAIC otherwise known as design, measure, analyze, improve and control. In this standardized process, both the measure and analyze will play a huge role in identifying key internal processes influencing Critical to Quality (CTQ) characteristics. According to Sokovic, Pavletic & Pipan (2010), CTQs are used as a form of problem prevention by setting a standard of required output to satisfy the customer’s needs. The CTQ would be the measurements of the internal processes. For example, the processes may be a floor planning manning template. The CTQ would set the number of employees to work each station (i.e. register, grill, shift managers, etc.) during various hours (peak an non peak hours). Another internal process would be food turn-around times. This would be controlled by an internal process of food being staged to be dropped in the deep fryer and when to drop it, having materials where they need to be and etc. The internal processes directly impact CTQ by setting processes in place to improve the quality of the product and service. The processes mentioned below impact the CTQ of customers receiving their food in a timely manner. There may also be processes in place for quality of food and etc.

Essentially all measurements of CTQ and internal processes must be measured in a way that reflects the needs of the customer. For example, for drive thru times the customer would want their wait time to be as short as possible. The measurement should continually be measured to reduce the times and not exceed a maximum. A defect occurs when the measurement exceeds the CTQ. For example, if drive through times were measured not to exceed 1 minute and 20 seconds. The defect measurement would be the length of time the car had waited beyond the 1 minute and 20 seconds. The defect can also be measured as how many cars were in the window longer than the wait time of 1 minute and 20 seconds. For other CTQ such as customer service, the defect would be how many complaints were filed and the quality of food would involve measurements of inventory and how long products sit on the shelf


We have shown the first two stages of Six Sigma, including the design and measure stages, and how McDonald’s benefits from the different stages that are involved. Being able to improve quality customer service starts first by determining the problems, if any, and causes, and then how McDonald’s can fix them. With McDonald’s we focused on customer service, wait times, and accuracy of food service. There are methods that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency for our customers and that is where Six Sigma comes into play.

In conclusion if McDonald’s implements a Reduce Wait Time Six Sigma Project into their facilities it could reduce the number of complaints per customer, employee and location. Team B review of the DMAIC Process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) and analyst of the Critical-to-Quality (CTQ) Process deemed success. The results reflect that a huge role in identifying key internal processes influencing the number of employees to work each station during various hours would significantly reduce wait times.


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