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Plan, Do, Check, Act - from an Industrial Automation Perspective

PDCA Management

P-D-C-A or Plan-Do-Check-Act, in here we call it "PDCA" is  an improvement performance method used in quality management system. It used four stage that continous, as stated on image below.


| Image from Wikipedia - "Diagram by Karn G. Bulsuk (http://www.bulsuk.com)" |


In Indutrial Automation, it works similiar to artificial intelligent system but it running in manual entry and calculation which means the human asset are responsible to set a goal in PDCA and trying to achieve the goal. After the goal achieved, then they continously improve it by added a new plan or goal that have a set of improvements and more efficient. Therefore they achieve the improvements score index and continuous flow of improvements means the increasing output and quality.


Let see what the four stage concept means:


| Image from Wikipedia - credit to "Christoph Roser at AllAboutLean.com" |


PLAN

HOW DO I DECIDE WHAT TO DO AND IN WHAT ORDER?

Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (the target or goals). By establishing output expectations, the completeness and accuracy of the specification is also a part of the targeted improvement. When possible start on a small scale to test possible effects. 

In automation: the plan are preparing all the requirements and tools needed either in projects or maintenance. The goal key (expected results) need to established first in this stage in order to know what condition to be allowed to move to a next cycle.


DO 

HOW DO I DO IT?

Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product. Collect data for charting and analysis for prepare the following "CHECK" and "ACT" steps. 


CHECK

HOW DO I KNOW IF WHAT I DID WORKED?

Study the actual results (measured and collected in "DO" above) and compare against the expected results (targets or goals from the "PLAN") to ascertain any differences. Look for deviation in implementation from the plan and also look for the appropriateness and completeness of the plan to enable the execution, i.e., "Do". Charting data can make this much easier to see trends over several PDCA cycles and in order to convert the collected data into information. Information is what you need for the next step "ACT". 

To get result in a check stage, you'll need an experiences and knowledges human asset. If your human asset are not ready, the the check stage only result in failure and you'll always running in the same cycle without able to move to a next cycle. 


ACT 

HOW DO I DECIDE WHAT TO DO NEXT?

If the CHECK shows that the PLAN that was implemented in DO is an improvement to the prior standard (baseline), then that becomes the new standard (baseline) for how the organization should ACT going forward (new standards are enACTed). If the CHECK shows that the PLAN that was implemented in DO is not an improvement, then the existing standard (baseline) will remain in place. In either case, if the CHECK showed something different than expected (whether better or worse), then there is some more learning to be done... and that will suggest potential future PDCA cycles. Note that some who teach PDCA assert that the ACT involves making adjustments or corrective actions... but generally it would be counter to PDCA thinking to propose and decide upon alternative changes without using a proper PLAN phase, or to make them the new standard (baseline) without going through DO and CHECK steps.

The Act stage are brainstorm to a check stage, to decide either repeat the cycle or move to next cycle. 


PDCA method are rely on human asset. Transfer knowledge between asset and between different level of management/structural level. The changes of human asset are critcal decision and transfer the PDCA data between previous asset to new asset are important key factor. The weakness of PDCA are in if the loss of improvement PDCA data or the loss of human asset without transferring knowledge of PDCA data. So when your company decide to use this method, then you will need to keep the PDCA data and human asset in "a good condition".




Disclaimer / Resources:
  1. Wikipedia - PDCA.
  2. Carnegie Mellon University - Software Engineering Institute | Plan, Do, Check, Act  by Julia H. Allen, November 2006.
  3. Bulsuk.com - Taking the First Step with the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Cycle - | Karl Bulsuk, February 2009.
  4. All Resources are "as it was" and not for commercial uses but for educational resources.


 - Thank You -