Improve your performance with PDCA or Deming cycle

Improve your performance with PDCA or Deming cycle

The PDCA is a system that is used within companies to ensure that processes are constantly evolving. This acronym name comes from abbreviating “Plan, Do, Check, Act”, which are the 4 basic steps. Since by following them you can increase productivity levels by solving all the problems that may arise.

It is also usually called the Deming cycle, since it is based on a concept devised by William Deming. He was a university professor and statistician who is considered the father of the “Quality Revolution” for his contribution to the development of Japan.

A bit more history

You will be surprised to know that although it is named after Deming, its creator was not this professor. He earned the title thanks to the dissemination of his work, but it was Walter Shewhart, the father of statistical control, who invented it. He first named the cycle in 1933 in his publications, and then worked with Deming. The latter considered him his mentor and guide, only after World War II broke out, their paths separated.

After the war, Deming returns from the United States and decides to arrive in Japan. Teaching academics and native businessmen the cycle, they delightedly began to apply it. This is why, upon establishing itself as a recognized method for companies, it takes its name from him. Currently valid as part of the implementation, maintenance and improvement structure of processes.

Stages of the PDCA

Companies must learn to configure management and continuous improvement plans. In order to achieve improvements in its competitiveness and quality of its processes, reducing costs, failures, optimizing productivity and eliminating risks. The cycle is made up of 4 stages that we already mentioned, now we will explain them to you in a simple way.

Plan or planning

This is the first stage of PDCA, it is where problems are analyzed to plan solutions in advance. This is the most influential phase of the four, methods such as work groups, surveys among workers and the search for new technologies are used. To develop an effective plan you must:

  • Find the problem you want to improve.

  • Set goals to achieve.

  • Define control indicators. 

  • Find methods and tools to carry out all of the above. 

Some of the most used tools are Gantt charts, for planning and tracking activities. The intuitive Poka-yoke design method, which is a mistake-proof design. The failure modal and effects analysis matrix, or FMEA according to its acronym. Or “brainstorming” that helps the participation of all the parties involved.

The Do or Doing Stage

In the second stage, the workers begin to perform each of the proposed assignments, following the parameters of the previous stage. A pilot test is usually carried out that includes introducing modifications to the initial plan if the result of the corrections has not been positive.

It is essential that records be kept of everything that has been achieved and what results were obtained from the planning. It is not easy to start implementing new organization and execution methods. So training staff in PDCA is essential so that no stage is faltered. 

Check or Verify

A certain amount of time must pass from the previous step to enter stage three. Then, the results are evaluated to see to what extent it was fulfilled. Using the Pareto Diagram, checklists and KPIs, while reviewing objectives. Critical causes such as the quality of service or the way of operating must be controlled.

Act or the acting stage 

Finally, the results begin to be analyzed, leaving the testing period behind. Making decisions based on all the learning that was obtained in the previous stages. If all objectives have been met, this plan will be definitively implemented. If the opposite happens, corrections will be made until a new cycle starts. This is why it was called a cycle, since it always returns to the beginning after encountering new problems.

Purposes of the Deming cycle 

There are various purposes of the Deming cycle, because it is quite complete when it comes to improving processes. This divides what would be a complicated process into smaller steps, which can fail due to disorganization. It is highly efficient when you want to start Six Sigma or total quality management. Since these are generally projects undertaken for quality control and improvement.

Another purpose is to avoid wasting resources, since ineffective solutions usually have extra expenses. The model can also be applied to different business environments, such as project or product development. It can also be used in the product life cycle, supply chain management, transport company management, etc.

Why is it important for your business to use this method?

No matter how advanced and renowned a company or brand is, there are always opportunities to improve it even further. The key to continuing this is commitment from leadership. The Deming cycle is not an isolated event, it is a method that starts over and over again, adapting.

Likewise, it allows the logistics area to constantly define new and improved alternatives that adapt to changes, as well as the passage of time. Managing to continually pose challenges that allow obsolete practices to be gradually renewed. Because there is nothing worse than a company with potential but that does not know how to renew and evolve. Take advantage of this methodological advantage as you organize yourself, implement PDCA and see the various benefits it brings to your taxi company.

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