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Lean Manufacturing 15.07.21

The PDCA method for an efficient managment

What is the Deming wheel?

The Deming wheel, otherwise known as PDCA, is a continuous improvement approach, or kaizen, used in Lean management and quality management.

It is a sequential method of project management and improvement which allows to execute a work in an efficient and rational way by improving the internal process of a company.

History of Deming wheel: It is William Edwards Deming (1900-1993), famous American statistician, who introduced, as early as 1950, the dynamics of continuous improvement with the “Deming PDCA cycle” in order to get the Japanese industry moving again.

Principle of the PDCA method

The PDCA method, for Plan Do Check Act, aims at repeating cycles of actions during the stage of a project or a production line to improve the performance of a company.
This method consists in the succession of four distinct steps:

1- Plan ahead
2- Do
3- Check
4- React

What are the four steps of the PDCA method?

Let’s take a closer look at the different steps of the PDCA method.

Step 1. Plan ahead

This first step consists of identifying the problem that we want to address by preparing the change or improvement.

It is then a matter of :

  • selecting the members of the project team
  • understanding the root causes of the problem
  • identifying the solution to be implemented.

Finally, the objectives are written and the action plan is created.

This first step is the most important because the entire cycle is based on it. It is important not to neglect it by wanting to move too quickly to action.

Step 2. Do

The second step consists of the implementation of the solution planned in the previous step.

This step consists of carrying out the comparative test or experiment while respecting the provisions defined in the first step.

Step 3. Check

This step consists of collecting, studying and interpreting the results. The following questions can then be asked:

  • What did we learn?
  • Are the results what we expected?
  • If not, why not?

Step 4: Take action

For this step, there are three possible situations:

  1. If the results are as desired, the change is adopted permanently and the procedure, specification, and operating procedure are updated accordingly.
  2. If the results are not the desired ones, the study can be abandoned and the work continues as before.
  3. The cycle can also be restarted from the first step by changing some initial conditions to get the desired results.

Conclusion

The PDCA method is widely used in companies because it can be adapted to many contexts, such as improving the management of information flows.

It allows to significantly improve the company’s performance over the cycles.

Experience plays a key role in this culture of continuous improvement by ensuring that each cycle is more virtuous than the previous one.

Written par Emma Guignard

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