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PDCA - Plan Do Check Act

Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) was the topic for our first LPAS learning session of 2020. President Stewart Bellamy led participants through the evolution of PDCA and then gave them the opportunity to study a process, in real time, using PDCA cycles. Evolution of PDCA PDCA was initially developed to maintain or re-establish predetermined standards for quality or productivity. In the early 1960's Toyota adjust the PDCA methodology to help them raise levels of quality and productivity. How did they go about doing this?

  1. Develop a systematic approach at the planning stage

  2. Establish concrete improvement targets

  3. Confirm target attainment

  4. Evaluation the overall approach and share the knowledge

  5. PDCA becomes "the" Kaizen methodology

Some may ask whether Plan is really the right place to start in the cycle. One can easily argue that the cycle needs to start with Check with the need to surface facts to better understand the current state. Whatever stage you think it might be, it is important that you first identify the problem or opportunity that you want to work on. For some real "hands on" experience running a number of PDCA cycles the participants were placed into a process where they were responsible for processing paper clips. After the first production run, the team was asked to note their observations. A target based on increasing customer demand was set and the team asked how they were going to reach it. Based on their observations they started their first PDCA cycle.


  • Review the present situation

  • Understand the process

  • Identify potential causes

  • Set specific improvement targets

  • Develop potential countermeasures

  • Confirm consensus


  • Implement the plan

  • Ensuring countermeasures are implemented in sequence

  • Record the results

  • Move to the next countermeasure

  • Compare the results

Based on Plan and Do the team re-ran the proce