The environment in which companies operate today has become increasingly competitive and demanding. As a result, organizations have found themselves forced to implement actions that allow them to constantly improve in order to stand out and offer the best possible service. In this context and especially focused on the process of Continuous Improvement of companies; the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is born.
The PDCA, also called Deming Cycle; is nothing more than a strategy focused on helping companies to achieve a true culture of excellence, where all the processes that companies execute provide maximum benefit. Read on and find out all the advantages that this cycle can bring to your organization.
Why Continuous Improvement?
Continuous improvement is a vital service to ensure the sustainability of management systems and the improvement of the performance of any business. We understand the need for Continuous Improvement within a company much better if we think of the organization as a dynamic entity, which is in constant movement and therefore in permanent change.
In this case, due to this progressive transformation, the only alternative to guarantee the success of the business is to turn these changes into a process of evolution, in which the organization reinvents itself each time it is necessary. Since this approach is so important, what can companies do to adopt it effectively?
The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act): The ideal strategy to achieve Continuous Improvement.
Before defining the PDCA, it is interesting to take a look at some details about its history: The PDCA was presented to the world by the statistics expert, William Edwards Deming. Deming first showed this continuous improvement model to the Keidanren Steering Committee in July 1950; who since then, started calling PDCA, the Deming Cycle. Although the creation of the cycle is actually attributed to the mathematician Shewhart.
PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is a methodology that values and seeks to create; a culture of excellence within the company. It is a type of interactive management method; used for both control and continuous improvement of products, services and processes in general. The method consists of 4 steps (hence its name) that companies must follow one behind to create a cycle of efficiency.
Why is it so effective?
What makes PDCA powerful is its systematic and cyclical approach. Systematic, because the four steps are applied one after the other, always in the same order, without skipping or overlooking any of them. Cyclical, because the constant relaunching of the PDCA makes it possible to improve continuously.
As we have already said, this methodology consists of 4 steps:
Let’s take a closer look at each of the stages in order to understand them better:
This initial stage requires an analysis in which the company establish its needs and define its objectives . This analysis is followed by the planning and implementation of processes and activities necessary to ensure the satisfaction of customers and other stakeholders of the company, as well as to ensure the quality of products and services.
In this context, it is necessary to:
- Identify and formalize existing issues.
- Estimate costs.
- Sensitize and mobilize the members of the organization.
- Define key performance indicators to measure the results obtained.
This is the stage in which all the plans established in the previous phase are executed. Data collection should also be done at this stage, although this information is only used in later stages. Ideally, the organization should establish a quality manager who will ensure that stakeholders understand and implement the action plan according to planned procedures.
At this stage, test results should be studied to see if solutions can be generalized. This is the critical phase for the Continuous Improvement approach, because it is in this same phase where the difficulty (or simplicity) of a given procedure can be evaluated. Normally, if organizations practice well this step is it can help them to better control and establish their forecasts. In addition, regardless of whether the results are satisfactory or not, the organization always has the opportunity to capitalize on the knowledge obtained to add it to its knowledge base.
This stage consists of correcting the fissures, after having identified all the areas that can be improved. This will lead to the realisation of a new project and therefore to new planning. In this way a new cycle will begin. It is here where organizations can truly begin to achieve the culture of excellence, through the empowerment of processes, tools and resources in general.
The PCDA and ITSM
The PDCA is a methodology applicable to any area or process of the company. In the case of ITSM, there are some reference frameworks that include the PCDA as a primary part for optimizing the delivery of services of organizations. Among them we have ITIL and ISO 9000. Some of the advantages that PDCA can provide for IT Service Management are:
- Establishing stronger ITSM governance.
- Enhancement of ITSM to improve its alignment with the business.
- Creation of a clear line of vision to better define expectations for plans and projects.
- Greater customer satisfaction.
- Promotion of a true culture of excellence.
Although the steps proposed by the PDCA seem simple, the truth is that the success of this methodology lies in the promotion of engagement and fluid communication between all stakeholders. Remember that no plan or project can be completely succesful without the help of the right tools. So try to acquire one that truly meets the needs of your business. If you don’t know where to start looking, we recommend taking a look at ServiceNow‘s ITSM solution. A powerful software aligned with the best practices of ITIL, which will allow you to effectively improve the workflows of your IT team.
If you want more information about ServiceNow or any other ITSM or ITsec solution, don’t hesitate to contact us. At GB Advisors our main motivation is helping our clients achieve a culture of excellence hand in hand with the best tools in the area of IT Service Management and ITsec.