Author: David Buscot
Date of Publication: 19/11/2022
Researcher William Edwards Deming is a leading specialist in corporate quality. He demonstrated that it is important to follow a virtuous circle to respond to problems. This also allows you to come up with new ideas in a controlled way. William Edwards Deming was then inspired by the work of Walter Andrew Shewhart to create a new method of problem solving. This method is called PDCA or Deming wheel. It is based on continual improvement. It solves problems by first identifying potential solutions. Then it goes through a phase of experimentation. Finally, the results are reviewed before the validation of the solution. The cycle can happen again and again endlessly. Thus, this allows a constant process improvement. So, this method is very flexible and that’s why it applies to all business functions.
Here are the different steps to follow for the PDCA loop:
Step 1: PLAN
This phase is very important. It represents the basis of your work. Specifically, it consists of planning your work and defining performance indicators. To do this, you will have to analyze and identify the existing problems. This will then make it possible to define the objectives and to set up a problem. The choice of solutions will be according to the resources made available. However, to successfully carry out this step, you should use certain tools.
Setting up the problem:
Find the causes of the problem:
The 5 whys
Look for the solutions:
The decision tree
The decision matrix
Step 2: DO
This step consists largely of experimentation. In fact, this involves implementing the chosen solution by testing it. However, this will be on a small scale. In this way, you avoid hampering the business in its day-to-day operations. In addition, it shouldn’t slip your mind that this method is based on an iterative approach. The most important thing is to draw the right conclusions. This will adjust the approach.
Step 3: CHECK
For this phase, there will be a question of evaluating the results obtained during the previous stage. Actually you should compare the results with the expected statements during the PLAN stage. This analysis will make it possible to understand the gap between the objectives set and the results obtained. Then, points for improvement can be put in place. This may lead to better results in the next series of tests.
Step 4: ACT
During this last step, you will have to choose the best change(s) to implement. Therefore, you should inform each person about these changes. This will allow them to take the necessary measures to implement them. Don’t forget that these changes will require a process update. The goal is to consider them as the new standard to be respected. Finally, it will now be a question of defining a method allowing performance monitoring. Thus, this will make it possible to find new areas for improvement.
In conclusion, this method is very useful to improve the efficiency of a process. In addition, it is very flexible and easy to understand. However, this method isn’t appropriate in an emergency. In fact, it is quite slow and can be laborious. Moreover, it requires a commitment from all the actors involved. Otherwise, the work might not yield good results in the long run.