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Lean problem solving methodlogy (PDCA)

Problem exists in all processes. (No problem is problem) We always face with problems which prevent production flow and increase poor quality cost. Although we got used to live with this problem, we could not remove them because of that we do not know methods in order to remove them.

Wrong products which need to be processed and wastes that are between processes can be accepted if they do not affect the customer delivery. We accept the result as it is a destiny of production.

Well, when one product can be well-done and qualified, why are other products bad?

The answer is easy: we cannot keep process variables under control consistently and solve problems.

One of main excuses about failure with solving problem is lack of human resources. However, these two main principles are required to know about lean.

1- We will have more problems than our resources at any time. Otherwise, we have waste of resources. (Muda)

2- Each worker should be in improving activities besides routine work. ( work in lean= routine work+ improving activities)

Then, we should examine how we can be equal to problems with available resources. We have a lot of problems and all of them are required to solve.

Well, which problem will we start to solve?

- One which has easy solution

- One which is our favorite or

- One which is the most important

The best answer is to start with the most important one. However, how will we decide which problem is the most important one?

- Quality problems?

- Performance problems? or

- Cost problems?

Before the answer, let’s examine the rule of 1-10-100. These are costs which is a result of quality problem;

-  Cost of being noticed before the first process…1$

-  Cost of being noticed after the last process…10$

-  Cost of being noticed by customer…100$

-  Cost of being given bad reference by customer… ??? $

We can see how quality is important clearly. Also, quality problems cause performance wastes and performance wastes affect costs negatively. In other words, unless quality problems are solved, increasing of production performance cannot be provided and unless increasing of production is provided, reduction of costs cannot be achieved.

That is why, we should start to solve with quality problems and then performance and cost problems.

In order to identify, analyze and interpreting the problem, a lot of methods are used but the most effective one is PDCA in lean.

PDCA Cycle

PDCA: Plan, Do, Check, Act

Plan is the first and most critical step to solve problem. It is a step of identifying the problem in the sense of its effects, root cause analysis, resource requirements and methods of solution and targeted results.

Primarily, it is required that maximum data is collected by understanding the process. Thus, it is used with value chain maps, flow chart, brainstorming, relationship analysis, observation and examination processes.

After process and problem were understood clearly, probability of improving should be separated according to precedence and root cause analysis should be done. In this process, it is benefited from pareto analysis, cause and effect chart, 5W, histogram, control panel and brainstorming methods.

Steps related to solution are published as an action plan with Gant schema.

Studies which are done until this process are called as A3 analysis because of usage of A3 sized papers. There are definition of problem, improving plan and targets on A3.

Do is a step of applying plan. It is a fact that all companies make wonderful plans but they do not apply them. Without action –in other words KAIZEN- change of results is impossible. That is why, this process should be done as focusing on action in Gemba. All plans should be made real.

Check is comparison of Kaizen results according to expectations. It is a check of how it is done. If results meet the expectation – targets are achieved-, it is proceeded to the next step ‘act’. However, if targets are not achieved, process should be repeated by starting with ‘do step’.

Act is the last step of process. First three steps are analyzed by reviewing and permanence of solution is provided.

PDCA is a method which can be applied in all job steps. We can define a PDCA cycle for each action. Above, effects of PDCA cycle on targeted cost are shown. As can be seen in the figure, PDCA cycle should be finished in order to get an ideal effect or maintain continuity. Otherwise, results will revert.

PDCA ve Maliyete etkisi

PDCA is one of primary issues about lean transformation. It should be understood and applied clearly.  Four steps should be followed respectively in order to be in the dimension of standard after solving of problems.


'4 Responses to “Lean problem solving methodlogy (PDCA)”'
  1. steven bennett diyor ki:

    PDCA is a daily function of which all members of staff should be included – I believe a truly lean company has all levels of staff trained to a point where they appreciate PDCA, Kaizen and forward thinking – QCC is a way to guide staff in the fundamentals of PDCA.

    I do this on a daily basis with the original TPS company and i believe that without understanding from staff PDCA, Kaizen will not work. As such we embed this knowledge and understanding so it will work and then benefit from the activity.

    good blog pland do check action is always a good conversation starter =)

  2. Shirley Klink diyor ki:

    We’re a group of volunteers and beginning a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with invaluable information to work on. You’ve got completed a formidable job and our entire group shall be grateful to you.

  3. De Cooman diyor ki:

    Thank you for this clear and to-the point Lean Problem Solving Methodology.
    It’s helping to give priorities and to create flow in solving problems.

    If you have more references to this matter ( websites, lectures, books, ..) , please react…

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