PDCA or the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a four-step model meant to be constantly repeated with the goal of continuous improvement of processes. Implementing the PDCA cycle helps teams avoid recurring mistakes and achieve better results. In this article, we want to go over the four steps of the PDCA cycle and how it can help you drive continuous improvement while increasing productivity and efficiency.
Step 1: Plan
A proper plan helps you focus on solving the problem and what information you need to address the challenge you are facing. You’ll need to be able to ask questions like what’s the background and current state of this problem, and what you want to achieve as a goal of the project. In addition, a good plan will also analyze what’s really happening, ideally with some data-driven insights.
Step 2: Do
Now that you’ve planned, it’s time to think about what you can do to address the painpoints and gaps you’ve uncovered. Many think of this section as your counter-measures - those efforts that can be taken to turn the measure around. It’s really important at this phase to make sure you connect these solutions back to what’s really causing the problem and focus on quick wins to keep up the momentum. Ensure that everyone knows their tasks and roles in completing the plan and try to apply some standardization to the process to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Step 3: Check
The check phase is where you carefully inspect your plan’s execution and determine if your initial plan actually worked. Checking also involves having your team identify other problematic aspects of the current process and eliminating the possibility of them happening in the future.
Step 4: Act
After developing, applying, and checking your plan, it’s finally time to scale up what worked or consider additional improvements. If your objectives were met with an initial pilot, then you can proceed with deploying all of your key solutions. If you really think you need additional improvements, consider those now and start another PDCA cycle.
PDCA serves as a simple but very effective tool to encourage continuous improvement and facilitate productivity and efficiency. Here at Adonis, we are committed to helping your business learn and grow by implementing PDCA and trying things with a retrospective approach to learn and pivot quickly.
5S is part of the Toyota Production System. 5S is meant to reduce waste and increase productivity by organizing spaces, keeping a clean work environment, and using visual cues to improve results. In this article, we will cover the five pillars of 5S and their benefits.
1. Sort (Seiri)
The first step of 5S aims to eliminate unnecessary items from the workplace that take up space. Sorting rids the workplace of broken tools and excess materials and is usually done visually by tagging unneeded items and removing them to reclaim floor space.
2. Set in Order (Seiton)
With the sorting out of the way, it’s time to focus on creating effective storage methods. Creating efficient storage methods allows employees to pick out needed items more easily - whether that’s a tool for maintenance or in an office space, to find needed information in a timely manner.
3. Shine (Seiso)
Once strategies for organization and storage are established, the next step is to make sure to clean the work environment. A clean work environment has the benefit of allowing employees to better identify issues with equipment or identify the most recent copy of a document in digital format.
4. Standardize (Seiketsu)
After completing the first three pillars, it’s important to create consistency in the workplace by implementing best practices. Some tools that can help standardize the workplace are checklists, start-up procedures, and visual cues such as placards.
5. Sustain (Shitsuke)
The last, and often considered the most difficult, pillar of 5S is maintaining all of the pillars you have already established. It can be helpful to create newsletters, manuals, signs, and performance reviews to sustain the practices put in place.
5S is a method for increasing productivity in the workplace and reducing waste by implementing its five pillars. Here at Adonis, we offer Lean/Sigma Coaching that will equip you with a deeper understanding of how to implement 5S through the Lean & Six Sigma toolkit.