PDCA Cycle  Plan Do Check Act  Continuous Improvement

PDCA Cycle | Continuous Improvement | Lean Tool

→ The full name is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle and it is one of the popular Problem Solving Method and Continuous Improvement Methodology.
→ It is often referred to as the Deming wheel or Deming 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.
→ PDCA is widely recognized as the basis of continually improving the Quality of Products, processes, and services and also it is a simple structured approach for solving quality-related problems. It 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.
➝ Plan-Do-Check-Act approach is the base for TQM, ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Standard, A3 thinking methodology, and IATF 16949:2016 Automotive QMS Standard.
→ This methodology relies on trial and error, however, it keeps on improving until it achieves excellence.
→ It is one of the most popular Lean Manufacturing Tool across the manufacturing industries.
Read this article for (1) What is the problem? (2) What is problem-solving? (3) Various Problem Solving Methods (4) Types of Solution.

Continuous Improvement Cycle Plan Do Check Act



Four Phases 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
Four Phases of PDCA Cycle

Phase 1: Plan Phase:

➝ There are four sub-phases are available in the planning phase which are explained below in sequence.
01. Select Improvement Opportunity
02. Analyze Current Situation
03. Identify Root Causes
04. Generate and Choose Solution

[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 and Effect Diagram (Fishbone Diagram or Ishikawa Diagram, or Why-Why analysis to dentify 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:

[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:

➝ The check phase has two sub-phases which are mentioned below.
06. Analyze the Results
07. Draw Conclusions



[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:

➝ The last phase is the act phase and it has two sub-phases as mentioned below.
08. Adopt, Adapt, or Abandon the Intervention
09. Monitor; Hold the gains

[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

Useful Tools for PDCA Cycle:

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

Useful tool for PDCA Cycle



Benefits:

➝ 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.

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