Hi there! It has been getting hot these days.
Even though the change in temperature is severe, I am trying to keep on top of it. Likewise, I suppose I should try to keep up with the changes in my job. Accordingly, I would like to learn the terms related to business improvement little by little.
When I looked up terms related to business improvement I found many abbreviations such as « PDCA », « QCD », or « BCP », and I can hardly imagine what they mean. Today I have studied the term « PDCA » from among those.
According to what I have studied, “PDCA » is one of the basic ideas to promote business improvement. It is what has to be iterated to improve the business procedure, therefore, it is referred to as the « PDCA Cycle ».
PDCA is an abbreviation of 4 words
The letters « PDCA », which is the basic method for business improvement, come from the initials of 4 meaningful words.
- Plan: Create a business plan based on past performance and future forecasts
- Do: Do business in accordance with the plan.
- Check: Assess whether the work implementation is done according to the plan.
- Act (Action): Examine and improve the parts where implementation is not done according to the plan.
Citation: PDCA Cycle Wikipedia
Once you have gone through these 4 stages, you continuously start again from the « Plan » stage to step up to another level of each cycle as if to make a spiral. The flow is called « Spiral up the PDCA cycle » or « PDCA Cycle going around ».
PDCA is a key method for the growth of modern enterprises
I studied its history and learned that the idea of PDCA is said to have been introduced to Japan after World War II. It seemed like a modern method, but the proponent is not certain. The concept of PDCA cycle was introduced by Dr. Deming, who came to Japan in 1950, but its original method is said to come from Shewhart, and Kaoru Ishikawa is also believed to be the one who named the method PDCA. Conversely, it is said that neither Deming nor Shewhart actually mentioned it; yet this is also uncertain.
Let’s make your work more efficient by using the PDCA Cycle!
Now let’s take a look at an example of PDCA in operation: its specific way of processing blog posting work.
First, conduct « Plan »; setting a goal is the highest priority. Set an achievable goal and quantify it. Quantification helps to assess one round of the cycle more easily. For example, set a goal « to publish 3 blog posts weekly. » Then make a plan to achieve the goal. Set rules such as publishing blog posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, to write a draft 2 days in advance, to finish an article the day before, and to proofread it. In this way, you make preparations before moving on to the actual work.
Next, conduct « Do »; you actually carry out what you have planned. Create a draft of the article 2 days before posting, finish, proofread, and post the blog.
Then check whether you proceeded in accordance with the plan on the »Check » stage. First, you have to evaluate the basic points such as « if the drafting was done 2 days in advance or not », « if proofreading was done or not », and “if the date and time of publishing were kept or not”. Then write down what you noticed, such as « The number of views was larger than usual », « Despite being proofread, there were many typos which were not corrected until readers pointed them out ». In this way, you look back and reflect on it.
Finally, conduct « Act (Action) ». You make improvements by introducing a two-person system for checking typos, while you try to keep a higher number of views. Then you return to « Plan », the first stage. At this point, it is important for you to consider the next development based on the preceding reflection.
Citation： Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)
Business improvement has no limit
PDCA is the concept of proceeding with work by setting goals, planning, taking action, reviewing that action and considering improvements. Through the PDCA Cycle, you will identify the points which are inadequate and change them. By repeating this, the quality of work and its procedure will be gradually improved. The use of « PDCA » will give you more awareness in your work, and you will be able to see how you can improve your work day-to-day.