What is it: PDCA ("Plan-Do-Check-Act") is an iterative four step problem solving process typically used in quality control. It is also known as the Deming Cycle, Shewhart cycle and Deming Wheel. PDCA is an iterative way of feeding management information based on measurements and targets into an ongoing cycle of continuous improvement by completing the ‘feedback loop’. Benefits of the PDCA cycle include:
Why use it: PDCA is a methodology that is used to analyze and measure, to identify sources of variations that cause products to deviate from customer requirements. By using PDCA business processes or production processes are placed in a continuous feedback loop so that managers can identify and change the parts of the process that needs improvements.
Where to use it: PDCA is usually used in industrial production processes for continuous improvement or problem solving, however PDCA has also revolved to include the business strategy and strategic descisions in modern post-industrial companies.
When to use it: To correct deviations in the process that affects the customers requirments or expectations.
How to use it: The Plan Do Check Act Model follows the four main steps below:
PDCA should be repeatedly implemented in spirals of increasing knowledge of the system that converge on the ultimate goal, each cycle closer than the previous. This approach is based on the belief that our knowledge and skills are limited, but improving. Especially at the start of a project, key information may not be known; the PDCA provides feedback to justify our guesses (hypotheses) and increase our knowledge.
A visual representation of the PDCA process model is shown below, click on any of the 4 quadrants to illustrate how the "Fast Response PDCA Template" has been designed and tested with the PDCA methodology.
PDCA Process Model "click on circle" for more information