As we all are aware the PDCA method is cyclical in nature. continued repetition of PDCA that brings you closer and closer to your objective/vision each time the cycle travels around. This concept makes the PDCA model a perfect model for strategic Implementations. We have now traveled through P-D and C leaving us with only A left in our cycle. If you remember we referred to PDCA as Prepare, Do, Continuous Improvement and Again.
The again stage may hint that the cycle starts again and inevitably it will, however it is very important that as you end your cycle you realize first that it is only the beginning. In the beginning of the deployment we had our vision (assumed in our case) and keeping in line with the concept of Hoshin Kanri we pointed our needle in the visions direction using reason and logic through analysis in the prepare phase. Additionally we established appropriate metrics in order to control and channel the organization's strengths while harnessing new opportunities and mitigating to the best of our ability any threats at hand. Eventually after "doing" we came to a point where progress needed to be checked in relation to benchmarks and scorecards. If you remember this third stage was our continuous improvement phase where we focused on the continued development of teams, training and moving forward. Now our cycle is ready to begin again.
Chart the course, are you on the right path?
At some point or another you probably caught yourself thinking, "are we headed in the right direction?" Uncertainty can begin to swelter and that lack of faith can affect the strategies positive effects on the organization. Although strategy is usually a 3-5 year journey (at the least) you should plan for regular check in's throughout the journey.
You can think of Lean as the vehicle to reaching your vision. The course you chart is the route or method that will get you there. In both situations you may need to fix, maintain or refuel the vehicle, course and even the people riding with you, essentially this can be compared to PDCA, cyclical in reaching its objective it must happen in order to keep moving forward.
Remember it takes time
Strategic implementations can be quick, however most of them require resources and focus on three elements: people, process and technology all of which can require significant investments. Along with time each tactical action may require a certain level of investment. The investment comes in the form of money, buy-in, time and often times with the change there is a need for repetition. Be aware that lean is not a light switch that can be turned on and off but rather it is a journey that requires significant planning and execution. The PDCA method provides a clearly laid out "system" for implementation. Although your metrics, plans and tactical objectives will no doubt be different than other organizations with time your lean strategy can be just as fruitful as any other.
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