There are several ways to know if a process that needed improvement was successful in its improvement or not. One of them is through PDCA, which, in short, is a process management methodology widely used by organizations around the world. But do you really know what PDCA is?
Every company needs to implement, review and standardize a process that is working for its growth. At the same time, it is necessary to review stocks that may be lagging or at odds with the market at the moment.
Therefore, if you want to be even more competitive and optimize your company’s actions, be sure to check out how PDCA can be important for the success of your organization’s processes. Good reading!
What is PDCA?
PDCA stands for Plan (plan), Do (do), Check (check or verify) and Action or Act (act). It is a cycle, which is a management methodology focused on improving the processes that are carried out by a company. Through it, what needs to be improved is identified and, from there, a plan and verification control are carried out.
At the end of the process, a study must be carried out to identify what worked, what needs to be improved and what has to be eliminated to achieve even better answers. When positive results are obtained , a standard must be created to be used by everyone, as it will be attested that a certain procedure works.
What is this methodology for?
The PDCA cycle helps companies identify where they can or should change a certain activity, whether in the development of a product or a service. Imagine, for example, that in an automobile industry, an activity mechanism is not being very productive and that certain parts are taking a long time to be ready.
Recognizing the time loss that the company is having, it is possible that leaders, using the PDCA strategy, develop a plan to identify how they can change this process and how they will do it. After carrying out the plan and defining the method, comes the phase of implementing (doing) what was planned .
During the implementation, it is observed what are the pros and cons of this planning and, also, what can change or should be maintained. In the end, if the factory finds that the plan has worked, old standards will possibly be revised or replaced by new ones.
How did the PDCA cycle originate?
Despite seeming to be a new management method, the PDCA cycle appeared in the 20’s and started to be used from the 50’s. During this period, the industries realized that their results were obtained in the business development phase and many errors appeared. , as there was no structured planning .
It was from this that Edwards Deming, considered one of the main names in quality control, proposed the method to assist in problem solving and in the elaboration of continuous improvements that could generate positive results. Therefore, PDCA is also known as the Deming cycle.
What are the stages of PDCA?
Each phase of the strategy is crucial so that the effectiveness of the methodology can be attested at the end of the process. In addition, each step, when well structured, allows failures and successes to be identified. But one process must always be followed by the other. Find out what they are:
- Plan: is the identification of the problem, analysis of the process and assembly of the action plan;
- Do (Execute): time to put the action plan into practice with all the details that were previously structured;
- Check: here, the results obtained are analyzed ;
- Action: Finally, adjustments are put into practice, failures are rethought and the strategy is documented.
How does the PDCA cycle work?
Do you remember the example of the car industry that felt the need to change pre-established standards, but that were not advantageous? Know, however, that this methodology can be used by all segments.
The method is very effective when the right questions are asked at each stage of the cycle. In the first stage, questions must be asked: what needs to change? Why does this need to be changed? What results are we getting? What is the history of this problem? What will be the possible losses and gains?
During implementation, keep in mind questions such as: is this process really better than the other one? Are professionals getting more worn out or more satisfied with it? Is the form of execution clear to the performers ?
In the final phase, take stock: what went right and what went wrong? Which step was unnecessary, which could be done faster or less bureaucratically? How will I make this process a pattern to follow? All these issues must be considered for the effectiveness of the chosen methodology.
Who can apply this method?
To apply the PDCA, it is necessary to keep in mind that any process can and should be restructured when the objective is to bring improvements to the company. Therefore, any company that wanted to improve the ways of developing something internally, be it a product, a process or a service, can bet on this quality tool.
What are the advantages of applying this cycle?
As the name implies, the PDCA cycle must follow its progress so that it can generate competitive results and the company perceives advantages, such as:
- predict errors through the study of history and the elaboration of a good planning;
- set more achievable goals;
- evaluate the results to take corrective action;
- standardize a process internally;
- improve activities and thus increase the company’s productivity .
What is the difference between PDCA and PDSA?
Understand that, although many people confuse, these are two different tools. We can say that PDSA is the evolution of PDCA, which was the first to appear. The new cycle aims to contribute to what was already proposed by the old one, however, with a focus on small-scale study in order to promote new knowledge.
Therefore, his initials stand for Plan (to plan), Do (to do), Study (to study) , Act (to act). Did you realize how understanding what PDCA is can bring your company much closer to process optimization? Applying this tool can guarantee results you never imagined.