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Lean Manufacturing PDCA Deming

Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA)
The Deming Cycle

Lean Manufacturing Tools and Techniques


Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) is a continual improvement methodology championed by one of the founding fathers of quality management, Dr. W. Edwards Deming. PDCA is an approach that emphasizes, once improvements have been identified and implemented, we should then seek out additional ways of making further improvements and that this process should be continuous.


The first stage involves planning in the conventional sense, with perhaps more detail and effort than is typical. The idea here is that thorough planning precedes smoother and less troublesome doing. The planning stage also involves communicating your intentions to others involved, explaining and possibly training. Other considerations at the planning stage include understanding the problem down to its root cause, setting clear objectives for everyone, as well as fully understanding what the customer wants (who may be internal).


This stage is all about carrying out the action or improvement – your goal identified at the planning stage. As ‘do’ is all about implementation, it can be the stage people gravitate to first, often without sufficient planning, particularly if there is pressure to see quick results - so be careful. On the other hand plenty of planning should make the ‘doing’ relatively


This is the stage where individuals and the organizations can learn the most. As such, this is how they actually improve. Plan in time to review and ask questions. Examples include:

  • Did the implemented improvements actually have the desired benefits?
  • Were problems and issues actually resolved?
  • How are employees finding the arrangement?
  • Are your objectives being met?
  • If not why not? – keep asking ‘why?’ until you find the root cause.
  • Is there anything you would do differently next time?

This stage is all about the classic ‘lessons learned’. Don’t let poor planning and consequent time pressures let you or your team miss this precious opportunity to learn.


Act is all about standardizing the new best way of doing things. Even though it is the new standard and captures how things should now be done, it should be thought of as something that will be replaced by the latest ‘standard’ way of operating, the next time you move though the improvement cycle. Documenting and communicating the standard is an important part of this stage. Before moving on to the next improvement cycle, consideration should be given to trying to prevent recurrence of any issues and importantly, to holding any gains that have been made. Finally, improvements should be celebrated with praise and recognition.

Lean Manufacturing PDCA Deming

PDCA Problem Solving Technique & Tools by Operational Excellence Consulting from OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE CONSULTING

The remarkable Dr. W. Edwards Deming and his huge impact on Quality Management

PDCA - The Basics: Clear and Simple Explanation (courtesy of VelactionVideos)

Kaizen is a powerful, effective, yet straightforward and therefore inclusive Lean Manufacturing tool. A major contributor to Kaizen is featured below:

The Kaizen Institute - Website:

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Case study of the PDCA cycle 
One of the best case study of the PDCA cycle I found here:

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