Today, Consultant Proficiency Resources consider one element of Total Quality Management: the PDCA Cycle. The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle is a four-step problem-solving iterative methodology applied to improve business processes initially developed by physicist Walter A. Shewhart during the 1920s and popularized by Dr. Edwards Deming in the 1950s. Deming was credited with understanding how the PDCA Cycle can be applied for organizational improvement.
The PDCA Cycle differentiates a company from its competitors. The four components of the PDCA Cycle are outlined below. 1-Plan A well-defined project plan provides a framework for operations. It should reflect the organization’s mission, vision, and values. It also maps the organization's milestones and provides recommendations on attaining them. 2-Do This is the step where the plan is set in motion. The plan was made for a reason, so players need to execute and process it as outlined. This stage can be broken down into three sub-segments, including training of all personnel involved in the project, the actual process of doing the work, and recording insights, or data, for future evaluation. 3-Check Typically, there should be two checks throughout the project. First, checks alongside implementation ensure the project's objectives are being met. Second, a more comprehensive review of the project carried out upon completion addresses the successes and failures so that future adjustments can be made. 4-Act The final step is to take corrective action once past mistakes have been identified and resolved. The PDCA Cycle is repeated and can be redefined to improve results under new policies. As a business leader, The PDCA Cycle is a principle that can be instituted to improve operations. The benefits of the PDCA Cycle can be deployed to enhance internal and external processes to minimize errors, maximize outcomes, and repeat until it becomes a standard policy. While larger companies such as Nike, Toyota, and the Mayo Clinic have had gains by applying PDCA, CPR recommends this tool for smaller businesses. The concept changes the culture of a business so that all stakeholders have input and can act as problem-solvers and critical thinkers.