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.
Identifying and prioritizing projects are two of the most important components of running a successful organization. A focused, detailed plan of action will help you identify and prioritize the right projects to stay on track to achieve your goals. In this article, we will give some tips for identifying and prioritizing projects.
Solicit Input from the People Doing the Work
While it’s tempting to assign one person to go identify projects, it’s really better to get the input of the entire team. Workers on the frontline often know where the bottlenecks and pain points exist - thus, look to them for input when identifying potential projects.
Sync up to a Priority
One of the most important ingredients for success in being in step with your organization’s top priorities so that the project gets the attention it deserves to be successful. If you select a project that is not aligned with your organization’s priorities, it may easily be overlooked in favor of those efforts that align with your top priorities.
Always Keep the End Goal in Mind
Knowing what result you want out of the project before you start prioritizing project ideas will allow your team to think about what will help you achieve the end goal. Investing in projects that don’t directly contribute to your goal will end up wasting time, money, and resources.
Planning and scheduling for a Lean Six Sigma Project requires a keen attention to detail and a dedication to Six Sigma principles. Here at Adonis, we provide project management services and Lean Six Sigma training that will ensure that you and your employees are meeting your project goals.
As a project manager, one of the most important aspects of your job is to engage with stakeholders; in order to do that, you must conduct a stakeholder analysis. Stakeholders are anyone who has interest in a project or venture that your business is undertaking. In this article, we will go over three critical components of stakeholder analysis and engagement
The goal of stakeholder analysis is to prioritize and identify certain stakeholders before the project begins. Stakeholder mapping involves listing all stakeholders involved in the project, identifying the roles and expectations of those shareholders, and prioritizing them by their importance to the project. Once you have them identified, figure out where they are today and where you want them to be by the end of your project.
Create a Stakeholder Engagement Plan
Once you know who they are, an engagement plan are the tactics to get them to where you want them to be. It’s one of the most important tools in your project plan. It pulls together information about your stakeholders and records all of your intended means of communications concerning strategy, actions and outcomes. This plan serves an important role in establishing engagement and aligning messages to your stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement plans help make sure to use the right means of communication for the right audience given the type of message you need to share.
Execute the Engagement Plan
Communication is a key component in building trust between you and stakeholders. The stakeholder engagement plan is not just a check-the-box exercise - it must be utilized regularly as part of your project. Make sure to schedule communication frequently throughout the duration of your project by giving stakeholders project updates or showing how stakeholder feedback is being considered or implemented.
There are several different techniques that can be used to map and analyze stakeholders. Some of them may work better depending on the duration of the project and the number of stakeholders involved. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your project, Adonis is equipped to provide you with project management services that will help you and your team create value.
Most everyone has heard the old adage that you can’t really understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. This is so very true when it comes to working with people to influence change and to create better outcomes for your customers - both internal & external. A key aspect to keep in mind is that what you might envision as a successful outcome is not necessarily what your customer envisions. In this article, we will explore how you can gain better insights to more holistically understand your customer’s experience.
In order to know what is working well and where there are opportunities for improvement, it’s really essential to collect feedback. Without clarity on what’s important to your customer, you could try to solve a variety of challenges that really don’t matter much in the grand scheme while overlooking the top concern your customer might have about you, your team, your product, or your service.
In Lean, we always talk about “going to gemba” - gemba being a Japanese term for “the real place” - or where work gets done. This is an incredibly important concept and essential to seeing opportunities for improvement. The US show “Undercover Boss” exemplifies the concept of observation quite well as it affords company owners to experience what it is like to be a customer or employee of their own company. What better way could there be than to go and experience firsthand how your team interacts with their customers?
Use an Empathy Map
This is a useful tool for helping analyze the experience for your customers as it pushes you to look at the engagement from 4 lenses: What do they SAY, what do they DO, what do they THINK, and what do they FEEL. By empathizing with your customer through this analysis, it truly improves the relationship as it helps us focus on what matters most to them.
By listening to your customer, observing their experiences, and empathizing with them, you’ll start to embark on a journey of continuous improvement that will result in more positive outcomes built on solid relationships. Here at Adonis, we do our best to live by this philosophy as we aim to continuously improve in all of our customer interactions and we’re happy to share this perspective with you.
Supply chain optimization is all about getting the product into the customer’s hands when they want it while spending as little money as possible. Since supply chains involve so many organizations and processes to get the product to the customer, it can be easy to overlook possible ways to optimize and save money. In this article, we will provide you with three ways you can save money through supply chain optimization.
Identify Reorder Points
If you want to save money, it’s better to create a specific marker for when supplies need to be replenished. Ordering more than you need in advance with the expectation that you will eventually use the ordered supplies is not cost efficient. Determine reorder points so that you can save money and optimize your resources.
Utilize data analysis
Identify physical and information flows in your supply chain and use data analysis to help eliminate unnecessary steps in the production process. Data analysis can reveal the inner workings of your supply chain and determine which areas need to be improved to increase revenue and avoid errors and prevent waste.
The Lean Six Sigma approach to optimizing the supply chain relies on quick responses to changes in supply and demand during times of crisis and business cycles. As a business, you need to ensure that you are being flexible with your supply chain so that you can respond to the satisfaction of your customers.
Supply chain optimization is a critical aspect in reducing costs and increasing revenue, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. By providing Lean/ Six Sigma Coaching and performance insights and analytics, our expert consultants here at Adonis can help you grow and optimize your supply chain to its fullest.