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Using Plan Do Check Act

When you think of lean manufacturing it is likely that you think of a program that is used to reduce or to eliminate waste. Many companies often turn to lean tools like Kaizen or the 5 S Methodology but there are many other effective tools that you need to consider. One of the tools that is uses is called Plan Do Check Act or PDCA. With PDCA you are not focused on a one-time improvement, it is a continuous improvement of your products and services. When you have PDCA become an on-going thing, it will be able to give you more control over the products that are delivered to your customers as you are able to get rid of the mistakes before they start. Sometimes the mistakes start at the beginning of the product development phase and not in the manufacturing line like a lot of companies think. As you use PDCA in the right way, you will be able to see this and you can take the necessary steps to make a difference. Let's dive into PDCA a little deeper to give you a stronger understanding.

The planning phase is where you deal with product development and many different phases. You will need to focus on being able to set targets for your company to achieve such as targets for your marketing team or targets for the production team to be able to reach a certain output. When you are dealing with planning you need to have the right expectations on yourself and on your staff to make the goals into reality. One way to make sure you are on the right track is by setting some small goals, implementing them and testing them. If you can see small and simple results, you can then implement them on a larger scale.

The "DO" phase is where you take all the hard work from the planning phase and you actually implement it within the company. You will need to collect data and other things to properly chart your progress from the planning to the implementation of the plans. Monitor the changes to see what is actually working and where you may need to revamp the process and try again.

In this phase you will end up looking over your collected data and comparing it to the data that you planned for. You want to check to see what is on target and where you are struggling. When you can identify the weaknesses and the strengths you will be able to chart a new direction for your team so you can make easy adjustments. The check phase is also known as the charting phase by a lot of companies as you are making several charts to track and analyze the data you gather.

Finally you have the phase of ACT. This is where you make the changes from the check phase so you can have the right results. Having planned results is one thing when you are comparing them to the actual results. Look into the root causes of the results to see what you are doing right and where you need to make changes. Continue this process all the time so it will help you to create better products and services for your customers. The more you can focus on having the right changes, the easier it will be for you to become competitive in your industry.

The PDCA cycle is one of the most popular ways to focus on continuous improvements and not always just the things that are immediate. Looking at the short-term and long-term needs of the company will allow you to address them and fix them in the appropriate way.

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