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PDCA cycle in problem solving

Lean manufacturing is based on continuous improvement techniques. Every improvement in the system will have the same routine of tasks to be carried out in a lean environment. This is called the PDCA cycle of improvement. Though it is a simple enough technique to be used in any place in your organization, effectiveness of this technique is amazing.

Abbreviation PDCA stands for Plan – Do – Check – Act. We will have a look at every major points of this cycle to understand it better.
PDCA cycle of lean problem solving

When we identify a problem we will have to find out the causes for that particular problem. Identifying these causes will be facilitated by the tools like cause and effect diagrams. Then we must plan the way in which we are going to solve the problem. This is done with the participation of employees and management. This is the planning phase of the PDCA cycle.

Then this plan will be executed. The improvement plan will be properly communicated to the workers and other parties. They will work according to the plan laid down by them. They will also try to achieve the goals set in the plan. This is the Implementation phase or the Do phase in PDCA cycle.

When people try to achieve their objectives set by the plan, if they face any difficulties or if the plan is not working properly those differences will be identified in the Checking phase of the cycle. This will be done over and over again.

Then the results will be monitored and the changes will be done to make sure the project is inline with the plan. If it is impossible to achieve the objectives of the plan, even the plan can be altered slightly to facilitate the smooth operation and problem solving. When the necessary results are achieved, they will be documented and standards will be set in order to prevent that problem coming up again.

Continuous operation of PDCA cycle is very important in creating a lean organization. This technique will be used to attack the inefficiencies or the wastes of the organization in its lean journey.

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