The Importance of Your Electronic Manufacturer’s Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle
Companies may use the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA,) or Deming Cycle as part of their project management approach. But do you know what it is?
Plan-Do-Check-Act is actually a part of the AS9100 Quality assessment. It is a four–step model for carrying out change. The PDCA cycle is intended to be repeated again and again for continuous improvement. This is an important part of many companies’ methodology. Its success as a quality approach should not be overlooked in electronic manufacturing.
This first step of the PDSA Cycle is the plan. What are you going to do? You need to identify and understand your problem, and Account for any potential risks during this stage. Remember to base everything on hard facts rather than on speculation or assumption. Make sure all I’s dotted and T’s crossed.
This is where you carry out the plan. Once you’ve identified a potential solution, test it with a small-scale pilot project. Here is where you determine if your proposed changes achieve the desired outcome, with minimal disruption to the rest of your operation if they don’t. As you run the test project, gather data to show if it worked or not. You’ll use this in the next stage.
Remember that, in this situation, Do means “try” or “test.”
It does not “implement fully,” which happens at the Act stage.
When you get to this point, check your work and make sure it is quality. This is the stage where individuals and the organizations can learn the most. As such, this is how they actually improve. Plan in time to review and ask questions. Examples include:
- Did the implemented improvements produce the desired benefits?
- Were problems and issues actually resolved?
- How are employees finding the arrangement?
- Are your objectives being met?
- If not, why not? – Keep asking ‘why?’ until you find the root cause.
- Is there anything you would do differently next time?
The final step is to fully implement your solution. At this point you are finished if you are simple solving an isolated issue. However, you should repeat the cycle from Step One if you desire continuous improvement.
This final phase is alternatively considered the “Adjust phase.” If there is a need for correction, you take action to make the change and optimize your process going forward. The adjust phase allows you to monitor for ongoing problems, and then adjust them as they arise. You then can go back and start again and see if the adjustment works. This truly is an ongoing process that means continuously making modifications and reviewing until the desired result is achieved. It becomes a system of continuous improvement that we should all strive for.
The PDCA methodology is a continuous loop of planning, doing, checking or studying, and acting. This makes PDCA the ideal model for companies seeking continuous improvement. The repeated PDCA cycle drives forward process improvement irrespective of the goals and shuts the door on complacency.
The PDCA is also a great was to implement new projects or processes. The inbuilt plan, test, and feedback mechanism of PDCA allows fixing snags and improving things at the process implementation stage, without putting entire resources or reputation at stake. It will produce safe and reliable products, and meet or exceed customer and regulatory requirements to ensure satisfaction.
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Levison Enterprises believes in the Plan-Do-Act-Check Cycle, and our clients reap the benefits. Contact Levison Enterprises today and find out more about how we can work together to create your next project.