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Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle - What you need to know

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 28/09/2017


Innovation is key to success - every entrepreneur knows it. Nevertheless, some of them seem to forget this golden rule on the path to business success. Product improvement and always striving for a higher quality and a better process efficiency should always stay at the core of every entrepreneur's philosophy.

An easy way to keep continuous improvement central for your company is to implement a continuous improvement cycle which will repeat itself and bring constant progress and innovation to your processes and products. One of the most used cycles is the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle, broadly through departments and industries.

We will today learn more about the PDCA Cycle and how to easily implement it in your company.

What is the PDCA Cycle

The PDCA Cycle, also known as the Deming Wheel or the Shewhart cycle, was developed in the 1950s by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, inspired by the work on the scientific method of Francis Bacon and the theories of Walter A. Shewhart. By repeating this four stage model, companies and organizations can easily and continuously improve the quality and the effectiveness of their processes.

The PDCA Cycle is used by several of the most important quality certification such as the ISO 9001 or the ISO 50001.

When to use a PDCA Cycle

The PDCA cycle is originally a quality management tool to continuously improve process efficiency and reduce their costs. Nevertheless, this model of continuous improvement can be adapted to different kind of situations:

  • Improvement of an existing procedure
  • Implementation of a new tool
  • Definition of a repetitive task
  • Collection of data

How to implement a PDCA Cycle

The procedure is made up of four stages that must be repeated when the cycle is over. The four steps are:

  • Plan
    Determine a goal you would like to achieve and establish a plan to reach this goal. Don’t forget to set measurable targets in order to easily analyze them later in the process.
  • Do
    Execute your plan and implement the new change and/or product while collecting the data necessary for the following steps
  • Check (or Study)
    Study the results of the executed plan and compare them with the previous situation and the expected outcome.
  • Act
    Document the procedure and apply what you have learned from the procedure:
    • If the results are negative, propose and adapt the planned improvement and restart the cycle.
    • If the results are positive, broadly implement the improvement made in the process and prepare another cycle of improvement to further develop the quality and efficiency of your process.

Do you want to implement and easily track your evolution with the PDCA cycle? Do you need an easy-to-use online platform to efficiently communicate with your business partners and administrate your documents? 

Learn more about ecratum SRM platform and register now to an online demonstration to discover more about our supplier documents modules and automation mechanisms.

Click HERE to register for a free online-demonstration

Tags: tips