Let's start with our reminder of. . . “What is an improvement cycle?"
Make Continuous Improvement One Of Your Goals - As Soon As You Possibly Can (ID: 74077)
What Is An Improvement Cycle?
"Everything we do is a process, every process has a customer"
The Improvement Cycle is a highly disciplined and rigorous approach to problem solving using the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) methodology developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
The Improvement Cycle consists of seven steps, 3 in the Plan phase, 1 in the Do phase, 1 in the Check phase, and 2 in the Act phase.
The PDCA cycle needs to be used in a continuous manner, select your theme or project, assess the current situation, plan and implement your solutions, check the effects of your changes, standardise on your new improved process, and plan for future improvements – the cycle continues.
Although a certain amount of value and benefit may be derived from implementing part of the PDCA improvement process, a far greater benefit will be achieved by sticking to the process and following all 4 phases as best you can. this is especially important when involving internal and/or external team members.
Apart from getting the chance to read the main article (ID: 74077), I hope you have also read and understood the importance of the PLAN and DO phases
"Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The PLAN Phase (ID: 76694)"
“Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The DO Phase (ID: 78506)"
- If you missed them, please take the time to read them first, then come back.
Are you ready to check your results?
What is it that makes PDCA get its results?
For me the answer to that is twofold. . .
Ask yourself, will I know, for definite, what the root cause of my success or lack of success actually is?
If You (and your team) developed the plan of action, if you implemented that plan, if you gathered data over the agreed period of time against each of the measures that were set, then you are now ready to check what has happened and why it has happened.
After an agreed amount of time, check the data you have been gathering, what results did you achieve, are you getting the desired results?
N. B. Always check like with like, comparing your original data with new data gathered after you implemented the changes.
STEP 5 Study Your Results
- Are you following your plan? If not, why not?
- Are you gathering data against your performance measures?
- Are results being communicated effectively?
- Is each change being documented?
- Do you know exactly why you're getting what you're getting?
NOTE: Depending on the number of changes made and the number of countermeasures implemented, your results may well be mixed. Some successful, some not.
This is the basis of CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. Because the PDCA model is being followed we have a number of choices we can make now. For example. . .
If results are positive, if the problem or issue has been fixed, or the project/opportunity has been successful – go forward to
Phase 4, Step 6 - ACT
Please Note. . . Steps 6 and 7 of the Fourth Phase of PDCA, the ACT phase, will follow shortly in the next article.
If results are not as you expected, depending on what your data analysis and comparisons are telling you, you may need to return to
Phase 2, Step 4 - DO. “Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The DO Phase (ID: 78506)"
However, if your analysis reveals a serious shortfall in results, you may need to return to
Phase 1, Step 2 - PLAN. “Continuous Improvement - PDCA - The PLAN Phase (ID: 76694)"
TRUST THE DATA
"What we see depends mainly on what we look for. "
Sir John Lubbock
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