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Using the PDCA cycle in the real world
It is widely known that the underlying concept behind the ISO 9001 Quality Management standard is the PDCA cycle. You didn’t know that? Oh well, perhaps it‟s not that widely known then – but at least now you do know. The what cycle?. Hmm... perhaps we had better start from the beginning.
ISO 9001 and the Process approach
The ISO 9001 standard suggests that a process approach is taken to quality management systems, and is based on 8 Quality principles. They are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Customer focus Leadership Involvement of people Process approach System approach to management Continual improvement Factual approach to decision making Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
But perhaps the key concept underpinning the standard is the PDCA cycle. As mentioned above, ISO 9001 promotes a Process Approach to quality management, and the PDCA cycle can be applied to all processes.
Using the PDCA cycle in the real world.
Overview of the PDCA cycle
It is a 4-step methodology for business process improvement. The stages are: Plan Do Check Act Establish objectives and how they will be achieved Put the plan into effect Verify that the process achieved the desired results Analyse any differences and their causes. Take action to improve things.
The PDCA cycle was popularised by Dr. W. Edwards Deming – one of the leading quality management gurus. It is sometimes referred to as the PDSA cycle – with the Check stage being replaced by Study. The ISO 9001 standard refers to PDCA, so we will run with that choice within this article. Let‟s take a look at what activities and documents might relate to applying the PDCA cycle in the overall context of your quality management system. PLAN Planning your system could involve: Setting up an Organisation chart Preparing Job descriptions or Role Statements A List of authorities – concisely indicating who can do what Establishing and regularly reviewing a register of relevant standards / legislation – perhaps subscribing to a notification scheme Considering how those requirements affect your organisation Establishing an overall Quality policy – and perhaps some DO Implementing the system could include: Ensuring that work is performed by adequately trained and competent people Supervision where necessary A system of keeping training records Reminders about training that needs a refresher course Performing work in accordance with plans, contracts, and procedures Ensuring that procedures and other documents are available where needed Ensure that work is performed in a suitable environment – physical and otherwise Access to suitable equipment Page 2
Using the PDCA cycle in the real world.
subsidiary policies such as referring to privacy, confidentiality, customer complaints, Various HR policies Communicating those policies to workers and other interested parties e.g. In manuals, on intranet, on display in reception or main office, in management system software, published on web site Setting measurable objectives for the organisation and business units Setting Targets or KPIs for individuals and planning their development Establishing forms of contract – price lists, rates/fee structures, terms and conditions Establishing plans for how quality will be assured for specific projects or projects
and tools Necessary infrastructure is in place – may include information technology resources Maintaining control of subcontracted services and purchased items Maintaining records of activities
ACT If a check has found discrepancies between the plan and what was done, we now need to analyse the cause(s) and act to improve the situation. In the...
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