Do you know what PDCA means? The acronym originates from the English words “Plan, Do, Check and Act”. When it comes specifically to the management of quality processes in companies, PDCA is a valuable tool that contributes to the corporations maintain their focus on continuous improvements and quickly validate solutions capable of increasing the performance in the manufacture of products, delivery of services to the market, among other processes inherent to the company’s operations.
The knowledge accumulated in each of these stages feeds back this dynamic, generating short learning cycles to the teams. Thus, with each PDCA, which is then based on previous learning, teams become able to be more agile in anticipating, treating and resolving divergences, minimizing waste and increasing productivity. Combined with this, teams that apply PDCA get frequent insights to innovate!
PDCA and the Ishikawa Diagram
As part of the PDCA Check step, we can aggregate the use of the Ishikawa Diagram – which is also known as Diagram 6M, Cause and Effect Diagram, or Fishbone Diagram – to promote accurate analyses that identify and reveal the root cause of a problem.
In quality, for example, this problem can be a non-compliance, human failure, equipment failure, among other issues. The diagram was developed (1943) by Kaoru Ishikawa of the University of Tokyo, used to explain to a group of Kawasaki Steel Works engineers how several factors can be ordered and related. Even after decades, the Ishikawa diagram is still widely applied as an efficient graphical tool for step-by-step process mapping, especially in quality management.
Understand the categories (or spines) of the Ishikawa Diagram
As the graphic image of the Ishikawa Diagram above shows, you need to determine the factors for each of its six categories. Determined by 6Ms, which are:
- People. Here, it determines all those who are involved in the quality process and how they impact the problem in question. Here it is considered internal labor, third parties and suppliers.
- Method. In this category, you must list the procedures, rules, and requirements inherent in the process. It is also considered all quality documentation or manuals that may impact the problem in question, including validations, qualifications and calibrations.
- Machine. This spine brings the machines and systems that make up the process, from small, medium and large.
- Measurement. Includes data analysis, seeking to identify potential failures of the evaluated quality. In this case, the specifications of products or services performed according to the expectation of the target audience are considered.
- Material. Verification of raw materials used in production lines. It is also considered the resources or insums (products or services) that the process needs to be completed.
- Enviroement. In this case, it is the analysis of the environment involved in the process, considering infrastructure (space, building condition, server infrastructure, etc.), environmental management and utilities (water system, electrical, etc.).
With PDCA combined with the Ishikawa Diagram, the company can certainly simplify the management of quality processes, continuously ensuring greater control and approach to improvements in the performance of its activities and, consequently, add more value to products, services and, finally, for the entire organization.
Constant learning (through the application of PDCA) promotes the engagement of teams, who start to work in a more collaborative, agile and integrated way, taking the company to a new level in terms of competitiveness in its sector. This is because it gives visibility and participation to teams to plan, execute, verify that everything occurred as planned, or it was necessary to change (check) and act again on the new plan (Act).
Talk to Kivalita Consulting and learn more about this and other topics aimed at efficient quality management!
We at Kivalita Consulting are a Brazilian startup specialized in the development of quality management and technology validation for companies in the market of Life Science. We support organizations of various sizes in the Life Science segment – especially pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic and chemical industries, among others.
Contact us to learn more about the application of PDCA, the Ishikawa Diagram or other tools and methodologies aimed at the efficient management of your company’s quality processes to avoid rework, risks and losses to your business today!