Information & current Best Practice.
Plan Do Check Act – PDCA“Plan Do Check Act” is an approach to product, process and project improvement based on a continuous cycle of planning an improvement activity, implementing the plan, checking that the plan has been effective and if effective, then moving onto the next project, if in-effective or only partially effective, then revisiting the plan and repeating the process. The power of the “Plan Do Check Act” cycle is its simplicity. The cycle is a continuous approach to improvement, which tends to be directed more towards continuous incremental improvement, rather than large breakthrough improvement. However, the approach lends itself to all forms of improvement.
In the “Plan Do Check Act” approach to improvement…
PlanThe “Plan” phase covers the initial activity of identifying a problem to be addressed, or project to be implemented. It includes clear end-objective definition, agreement and documentation. It requires that all involved in the improvement process understand the end objective, buy into the objective and are committed in terms of time to working through the improvement cycle. With the objective agreed and understood, then those involved move onto investigating the problem or task to be addressed. Facts are gathered, fact based analysis is performed, the root cause of the problem is identified, the tasks to be performed are agreed. A plan of action is agreed.
Clearly there are a range of activities involved in the plan phase, plus certain competence and skills sets are required. For example, there may need to be team members with an understanding of analytical problem solving tools and techniques. Project planning skills may be required. Depending on the end objective, technical or financial skills may be necessary.
DoThe “Do” phase is concerned with implementing the agreed plan. Depending on the plan itself, this may be a relatively short process, e.g. update an operating procedure and perform associated staff training, or may be a long term project, for example, investment in new process equipment, with associated qualification and validation, prototype output testing, implementation of calibration and maintenance programs, staff training, etc.. Clearly the complexity of the plan will determine the range of controls required, however, it is important that plan implementation is effectively monitored and any changes to plan are performed in accordance with effective organizational change controls.
CheckThe “Check” phase relates the results obtained after the plan has been implemented versus the plan stage end-objective(s). Has the plan effectively achieved the desired end results? This is a critically important step and also demonstrates the importance of setting clear end-objectives during the plan phase and effective plan implementation during the do phase. There should be no ambiguity here. Either the plan has achieved the desired end-objectives or there are gaps between the original objectives and actual results obtained post plan implementation.
ActThe “Act” phase looks at the output from the check phase. Have the desired end objectives been achieved? If yes, it is then important to confirm that the actions from the plan will remain permanently in place. This may be achieved via specification or operating procedure revisions, additional inspection points, planned process audits, etc.. However, if the desired end objectives have not been achieved, then there is a need to go back to an earlier phase, such as revisiting the original objectives, or reviewing the analysis on the problem or revising the implementation plan.
The Plan Do Check Act cycle is seen as a never ending process of improvement. Once the “Act” phase confirms that the original objectives have been permanently achieved, it is envisioned that the improvement team will move onto the next project.
Quality Management Tools & Techniques…
- Continuous improvement utilizing Analytical Techniques.
- 5 why’s analysis
- Process Flow Diagrams/Flowcharts/Process Mapping
- Check sheets /Check Lists
- Run charts
- Scatter Diagrams/Scatter Plot
- Cause and Effect/Fishbone/Ishikawa Diagrams
- Identifying sources & causes of variation
- Control/Shewart Charts/DPU Charts
- Cpk and Ppk Analysis
- Pareto Analysis
- Bottleneck Analysis
- Etc. Etc.
- Information & current Best Practice >>>