All businesses have their ups and downs. However, if the downs are too long, perhaps it is time to take action. For example: if your customer satisfaction has plummeted, it may be time to consider trying PDCA in your company.
PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check, and Act. It is an iterative model or method to carry out change within the company. In the name of the continuous improvement of people and processes, this model is an essential part of the lean manufacturing philosophy.
Walter Shewhart was the first man to propose this idea, which William Deeming later developed. This PDCA cycle is also known as lean management.
The PDCA Operatives include solutions testing, results analysis, and process improvements. For example, this is what you should do after receiving numerous complaints from your customers lately. The last thing you want is to lose them, which is detrimental to your business.
PDCA does not only improve the quality of your company's products and/or services- if you play this right, this method can also help your company to grow.
These are the four (4) phases of PDCA, which are also based on what it stands for:
Make plans for what needs to be done. Involve the whole team when you must, based on the project size. The safest way is to start small, with little steps along the way. With that approach, you may create a proper plan while ensuring you do not cause too many failures in the process.
Do not move to the next step before answering these essential questions:
You and your team may need to go through this step more than once. Keep the feedback loop open to ease the data collection process. From there, you may come up with a possible solution after spotting the core problem.
Once the plan is agreed upon, then it is time to get to work. Apply everything that has been considered in the planning process.
However, you should know that last-minute surprises or unexpected problems may occur at this stage. This is why you should start small with your plans. That way, you can control the environment better than one big, giant plan, which will be harder to apply when these surprises occur.
This stage is where you should keep everybody's hand on deck. Each must know and play their roles well in the team.
Need to clarify your plan and avoid any recurring mistakes? Let's go to the CHECK phase. That's the most crucial phase of all. With this, you can also apply continuous improvements more successfully.
Consider auditing your plan to see if it has worked. In this phase, you and your team can also observe problematic parts of the plan. You should aim to ensure they do not come up again in the future. If there is a glitch in the process, analyze and figure out the root cause of the problem.
The sooner you do this, the more problems you may avoid in the future.
After all three phases are done, then proceed with the plan. If all objectives are already met, you may adopt the whole plan. Now that you know how helpful this method is, you can start using this as a standardized plan at work. This means, that every time a company problem occurs, you can rely on PDCA.
Of course, you and your team must go through these four (4) phases all over again. No worries, after the first try, it gets easier. You and your team will get used to this method to solve problems in the company. One thing at a time, and it is all fine.
Thanks to Nimbly, it gets easier to apply for PDCA at work. Nimbly offers data transparency, making data collection, planning, and problem analysis easier. Reporting from the digitalized audits is also more efficient.