Improve #7: Plan-Do-Check-Act

Updated: Mar 6

Complacency and Stagnancy prevent us from growth and development, but the attitude of improvement does the opposite. The attitude of improvement help us get better.

We have learned how a country in chaos became the standard of manufacturing quality. After the post-war, Japan committed to quality improvement to the point of producing cars like Toyota or Honda which remain as most reliable and durable cars in the world. Whether you want cars, electronics, construction equipment, motorcycles and even musical instruments, Japanese brands like Komatsu, Yamaha, Mitsubishi are names that people remember and respect because their commitment to quality.

This is what happens when Quality Improvement becomes part of our life. Whether our line of work is a product or a service, like engineering, Quality Improvement is what will make the difference.


Plan-Do-Check-Act is not just the catchy name of our blog today. It is actually the foundation of the Quality Improvement philosophy. The Plan-Do-Check-Act or PDCA cycle is a repetition method for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. It is also known as the Deming cycle too.

Do you want to know more? Let’s briefly review the four phases of the Deming Cycle:


PLAN

With a change in mind, we establish the objectives and processes required to deliver the desired results.

DO

We execute our plan. Small changes are usually tested, and data is gathered to see how effective the change is.

CHECK

During the check phase, the data and results gathered from the do phase are evaluated. Data are compared to the expected outcomes to see any similarities and differences.

ACT

This phase is also called the "Adjust" phase. This phase is where a process or product is improved. Records from the "do" and "check" phases help identify issues with the process.

The whole idea is that this 4-step method repeats over and over again until there is enough data that shows Improvement.

A car manufacturer used the Deming cycle to find the best way of assembling an engine.


Have you found yourself making the same mistake again and again? Then, it’s time for the PDCA cycle.

So, Plan the change, Do or execute the change, Check and gather data about your results, and Act or adjust to a better way, and above all... TRY AGAIN!


Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship. Quality also marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved.

-Will A. Foster


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