PDCA - Plan-Do-Check-Act
#ContinuousImprovement #ProcessImprovement #ProjectManagement #IterativeProcess #QualityObjectives #ManagementReview #CorrectiveActions
Plan-Do-Check-Act (also known as “PDCA”) is a cyclic process that was conceptualized by Walter Shewhart and widely promoted by Edward Deming – two founders of most of the quality philosophies that are followed today.
This concept is a cycle for bringing about a change which, when implemented and repeated, would yield repeated improvements in any process.
A case study we all can recognize will be the process we go through when selecting a wireless carrier:
We Plan to have no issues like dropped calls, interruption in voice delivery or receiving etc.
The Do part occurs when we start utilizing the wireless service.
The Check part occurs when we assess the actual performance and realize that we have had a few interruptions to calls.
And the Act part occurs when we make our future course of action based on Check. For example, we could accept the number of interruptions in calls, or we could complain to the vendor to have the complaint corrected, or we could change the service provider.
Plan, Do, Check & Act is an iterative four-step managing technique utilized in industry for the continual improvement of processes.
Plan – This step includes the establishment of the objectives and processes essential to provide outcomes that are in line with needed output. Planning of the QMS starts with the initial documentation of the Quality Manual, control of documents and records, Quality Policy and Quality Objectives, plan to achieve policy & objectives, Additional planning on how to realize the product or service, including what resources are required and how they will be used, is the last step in the early planning.
Do – This step includes the execution of the plan, performance the process, and production the product. At this point, companies must gather process statistics for recording and examination in the next steps of Check And Act. Raw material or service needs must be specified. Designs development, the purchasing process, and raw materials must be verified against requirements. The process of creating the merchandise or service must be implemented. Defects must be incorporated in non-conformities and be dealt with. The procedure and the instrument to monitor and inspect the product and processes must be controlled. All undertakings of creating and delivering the product or service to clients are required to be completed in Do phase.
Check – Examine the real results of ‘Do’ step, and check it against the expected results of the plan phase. It is mandatory to check and measure not merely the product to make sure it fulfills requirements, but moreover to check and measure the processes as well. Analysis of data, internal audits, external audits & Management Review are mandatory in ISO 9001. All these extensive processes are part of ‘check’ phase in PDCA cycle.
Act – If the Check analysis reveals that the Plan that was applied in Do phase is a progressive improvement to the earlier results, then the present ‘Do’ should become the new standard for how the organization should Act going forward. If the Check analysis reveals that the Plan that was applied in Do phase is not an improvement, then the prior standard will remain. In both cases, i.e. improvement or no improvement, more learning is needed and that will inform next PDCA cycle. Corrective actions and action plans that resulted from output of management review meetings and internal audits are part of the Act phase in PDCA cycle.
When to use Plan-Do-Check-Act
PDCA cycle should be used in the following cases:
When opting for continuous improvement.
When initiating a new improvement project.
When making a new or modified design of a process, product, or service.
When defining a repetitive work process.
When preparing data collection and analysis so as to verify and prioritize problems or root causes,
When applying any change.