PDCA Cycle

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

→ The PDCA Cycle is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle.
→ The PDCA cycle 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.


1) 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.


2) Problem Solving?

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



➨ Types of Solution?

    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.



3) What is the PDCA Cycle?

Plan Do Check Act Cycle

→ A framework for problem-solving, continuous improvement and change.
→ Widely recognized as the basis of continually improving the quality of processes, product, and services.
→ An easy to remember for logical sequence steps: Plan – Do – Check – Act
→ Provides a simple structured approach for solving quality-related problems.
→ PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle) 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

4) Four Phase of PDCA Cycle:

         Plan – A change aimed at improvement
         Do – Carry out the change
         Check – Study the results
         Act – Adopt, Adapt, or Abandon

Phase of PDCA Cycle

➤ The phase of the PDCA Cycle:

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

➤ Four Phase of the PDCA Cycle:

→ The four Phases of the PDCA Cycle is mentioned below in the image.

Four Phase of the 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 the PDCA Cycle

➥ [1] Select Improvement Opportunity:

    ➝ Generate 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 the objectives are clearly identified.
    ➝ The current situation is analyzed.
    ➝ Solution alternatives are identified, selected and scheduled


➥ [2] Analyze Current Situation:

    ➝ Define 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 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.

Continuous Improvement

➨ 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.

5) 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

6) 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.
    ➝ PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach is base for TQM, ISO standard, A3 thinking methodology



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See Also: Lean Manufacturing
➨ 5S Methodology - A Lean Manufacturing Tool
➨ Traditional thinking Vs Lean thinking? - Lean Manufacturing
➨ Kaizen (Continous Improvement) - A Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Tool
➨ The 8 Wastes in Lean Manufacturing - Lean Manufacturing
➨ PDCA Cycle - A Lean Manufacturing Tool
➨ 8D | Problem Solving Method