An Effective Way to Drive Improvement

Beau Groover
Tags: continuous improvement

When I think of planning, I always remember a quote that is attributed to Abraham Lincoln. "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe." The point is that if you spend adequate time preparing to do the job, the job itself will go much smoother/better/faster.

There is a process for driving improvement and alignment called the PDCA cycle. PDCA stands for plan, do, check and act. It is a great approach to any business challenge. In very simple terms:





Throughout the year, there should be information moving through the organization from senior management to the shop floor and vice versa. As business needs change, some of the metrics and measures might also need to change. As the improvements are made, the results need to be included in the information being shared. This creates a very clear and reliable source of alignment to again reinforce the need to keep all resources pointed in one direction.

A few summarizing thoughts about using PDCA:

  1. This clarity of purpose will drive the organization to improve those key metrics that are most important to the customer.
  2. The alignment of the effort drives synergy, teamwork and ownership.
  3. The communication helps break down walls and focus the organization on the right parts of the business.
  4. The combination of these items will most certainly yield high-impact results.