PDCA Cycle | What is PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Cycle?

PDCA Cycle | What is PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Cycle?

What is PDCA Cycle? | Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle

→ The PDCA Cycle is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle.
→ It is one of the popular Problem-solving Methodology.
→ It is often referred to as the Deming wheel or Daming cycle.
→ Shewhart and Deming are recognized as pioneers in the Quality Management movement.
→ Shewhart introduced the PDSA cycle, (Plan-Do-Study-Act)
→ He believed that data analysis is an essential part of any improvement effort and checking does not necessarily imply an in-depth study.
→ A framework for problem-solving, Continuous Improvement and change.
→ Widely recognized as the basis of continually improving the quality of processes, product, and services.
→ Provides a simple structured approach for solving Quality-related problems.
→ Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle may be necessary to solve the problem permanently and reach the ultimate goal state.
→ Used to verify the feasibility of a proposed idea whether it is an incremental or a breakthrough improvement.
→ PDCA Cycle relies on trial and error, however, it keeps on improving until it achieves excellence.
→ It is one of the Lean Manufacturing Tool.


Continuous Improvement by PDCA Cycle


➤ What is the Problem?

→ “A Problem is an undesirable event.” OR 
→ “Any Gap between what is expected and what is obtained”, can be called as a Problem.


 Problem Solving?

→ Any effort to reduce this gap between what is expected and what is obtained called “Problem Solving”.



 What are the different types of solutions?

→ [1] Correction: In a simple word "Correction is like first-aid," Correction is the instant action that is taken to correct the nonconformity or to reduce the impact of nonconformity.

→ [2] Corrective Action: "Corrective actions are steps that are taken to remove the causes of an existing nonconformity or undesirable situation or event."

→ [3] Prevention: "Prevention is to eliminate the causes of potential nonconformities or potential situations that are responsible for an undesirable situation or event.

→ [4] Preventive Action: "Preventive actions are steps that are taken to remove the causes of potential nonconformities or potential situations that are undesirable.



Four Phase of the PDCA Cycle:

  1. Plan – A change aimed at improvement
  2. Do – Carry out the change
  3. Check – Study the results
  4. Act – Adopt, Adapt, or Abandon
→ The Phases of the PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle) is mentioned below in the image.
→ This tool is very helpful in Lean Manufacturing implementation.
→ The four Phases is mentioned below in the image.

Four Phase of PDCA Cycle

➤ Phase 1: Plan Phase of the PDCA Cycle:

→ The Plan Phases of the PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle) is mentioned below in the image.

Plan Phase of PDCA Cycle

➥ [1] Select Improvement Opportunity:

➝ Generate a list and select
 Redefine team
 Write problem / opportunity / aim statement
 Describe the problem
 Management review
➝ The team selects the problem to be solved (to be improved)
 The problem and objectives are clearly identified.
 The current situation is analyzed.
 Solution alternatives are identified, selected and scheduled


➥ [2] Analyze Current Situation:

➝ Define the process/problem to be solved
➝ Identify the customer(s).
➝ Prepare Baseline data
➝ Check any Performance gaps are available?
➝ Look at benchmarks, standards, regulatory requirements
➝ Validate problem and statement
➝ Management review

➥ [3] Identify Root Causes:

➝ This is a very very important step
➝ Utilize the Cause & Effect Matrix, Why-Why analysis or Fishbone Diagram to identify the most likely cause(s). 
➝ Use Genchi Gembutsu Method
➝ Select root cause
➝ Management review 



➥ [4] Generate and Choose Solutions:

➝ Generate a list and select solutions
➝ Directly linked to root cause & supported by data
➝ Team brainstorming and shared decision making
➝ Be honest about barriers
➝ Choose the best solution based on criteria
➝ Define and map out a solution
➝ Develop solution(s) to remove the root cause(s) 
➝ Select the best solution(s) to remove the root cause(s) 
➝ Verify that effectiveness of the selected solutions 
➝ Verify that selected solutions do not cause any undesirable effects
➝ Set a Target that you want to achieve

➤ Phase 2: Do Phase of PDCA Cycle:

➝ The 2nd Phase of PDCA Cycle is Do Phase, which is mentioned below:

Do Phase of PDCA Cycle

➥ [5] Map Out and Implement a Trial Run:

➝ Map out a trial run
➝ Communication and education/training are key factors
➝ Be specific
➝ Implement a trial run
➝ Ensure all the countermeasures are completed
➝ It involves collecting data for later analysis.
➝ It ensures the solution is appropriately tested.

➤ Phase 3: Check Phase of PDCA Cycle:

➝ The 3rd Phase of PDCA Cycle is Check Phase, which is mentioned below:

Check Phase of PDCA Cycle

➥ [6] Analyze the Results:

➝ Evaluate results based on collected data
➝ Team-based analysis
➝ Objective and subjective data
➝ Revisit the process as it was mapped out
➝ Be honest!
➝ Evaluate both Results and Process
➝ Involves analyzing the collected data and comparing the actual results against the planned objectives.
➝ Allows discussing whether further improvements are possible.
➝ You may have to repeat the Do and Check a number of times until you get the optimum results.

➥ [7] Draw Conclusions:

➝ Team-based discussion.
➝ Was the root cause eliminated?
➝ What worked?
➝ Did the desired change occur?
➝ What didn’t work?
➝ What could be improved/changed?
➝ Implement the best solution(s) to remove the root cause(s)
➝ What did we learn?
➝ Implement the best solution(s) to address the escape point(s) 
➝ Validate the effectiveness of the implemented solutions by Customer's perspective 
➝ Monitor the effectiveness of the implemented solutions and assure that they do not cause any undesirable effects 
➝ Remove Interim Containment Actions



➤ Phase 4: Act Phase of PDCA Cycle:

➝ The 4th Phase of PDCA Cycle is Act Phase, which is mentioned below:
ACT Phase of PDCA Cycle

➥ [8] Adopt, Adapt, or Abandon the Intervention :

➝ Team-based discussion and beyond
➝ Test again on a larger scale?
➝ Communication, education, and training
➝ Revise plan and repeat trial
➝ Communication, education, and training
➝ Revisit root cause analysis and/or list of solutions
➝ Need additional/new members on the team?
➝ Involves acting on the feedback and lessons learned and implementing the solution
➝ It is also concerned with: Standardizing, Documenting, Sustaining the improved process.
➝ Integrating it into the organization’s system.



➥ [9] Monitor; Hold the gains:

➝ Standardize the change
➝ Change to department policy?
➝ Continue to monitor improvement
➝ Same data collection tools and process
➝ Continue reporting to staff and management
➝ Move to new improvement opportunity
➝ Standardize Success and Learn from Failures

➦ You may identify the next target and start again at the planning phase.
➦ The PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle) can be repeatedly applied in a process of Continuous Improvement where there is no end to it.
➦ Each cycle will bring you closer to your goals and will extend your knowledge further.
➦ Example:
➝ The PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle) can be used in many different situations:   
 A common example often used is when a design team is planning for new product development.

➤ Useful Tools for PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle):

There are several useful tools of the PDCA Cycle is mentioned below.

Useful Tools for PDCA Cycle

Benefits of the PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle):

➝ PDCA approach encourages the way of problem-solving and implementing solutions.
➝ PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach ensures that you plan, test and include feedback before you start full-scale implementation.
➝ Repeating the PDCA cycle frequently will help to implement Kaizen and other continuous improvement initiatives.
➝ PDCA approach brings you closer to your goals as knowledge is increased: from solving problems, from failures, from the feedback received.
➝ This approach Improves the critical thinking skills of your team
➝ It also Helps to reach towards a more integrated system.
➝ Plan-Do-Check-Act approach is base for TQM, ISO standardA3 thinking methodology