Q-Tip # 2: FOCUS on FOCUS PDCA
From: Odongo, Concetta
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:24 PM
Subject: Q-Tip # 2: FOCUS on FOCUS PDCA
Brought to you by the Quality Month Team 2010 -
Many of you are scheduled to participate in FOCUS PDCA training in November. You may be wondering what FOCUS PDCA is all about. FOCUS PDCA is a very simple model used to understand and implement process improvement projects. FOCUS PDCA is also a cyclic improvement/problem resolution tool.
Bell Laboratories scientist Walter Shewhart, the statistician who also developed statistical process control, developed the “Shewhart Cycle” Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) concept in the 1930’s.
In the 1950’s Dr. W. Edwards Deming, friend and student of Shewhart popularized PDCA. PDCA became associated with him and became known as the “Deming Wheel” even though he always referred it as the “Shewhart Cycle.” Later in Deming’s career, he modified PDCA to Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) to describe more precisely his recommendations.
Dr. Deming, an educator, statistician, and engineer, earned his BS degree in electrical engineering at the University of Wyoming, his MS degree from the University of Colorado, and his Ph. D. from Yale University. Both graduate degrees were in Mathematics and Mathematical Physics.
After WWII Deming was invited to teach his concepts of quality to Japanese top management. He subsequently trained hundreds of engineers, managers, and scholars in the concepts of quality. A number of Japanese manufacturers applied his techniques widely and experienced unheard-of levels of quality and productivity. The improved quality combined with the lowered cost created new international demand for Japanese products.
FOCUS PDCA is a derivative of the Shewart PDCA model. FOCUS is an acronym for Find, Organize, Clarify, Understand, and Select. FOCUS sets the stage for PDCA. FOCUS PDCA is then a nine-step process with five FOCUS steps, and four PDCA steps. Using the FOCUS method with PDCA can help you achieve higher quality results in less time.
The FOCUS steps are:
1. Find an opportunity or process for improvement. Answer the question: What is wrong?
2. Organize a team that understands the opportunity for improvement and related systems or processes. Answer the question: Who knows about this?
3. Clarify the current opportunity or process with an Ishikawa ("fishbone") diagrams or other means. Answer the question: What is involved?
4. Understand requirements of the process or the root causes of the inappropriate activity or results. Answer the question: What is required or why isn't it working?
5. Select the process improvements. Answer the question: Where should the change occur?
PDCA is an acronym for Plan-Do-Check-Act. The steps in PDCA are:
6. Plan. In this step, the team or work group plans the improvement and plans the data collection necessary to do the “Check” step.
7. Do. In this step, the team or work group implements the planned improvement and takes periodic measurements to insure the planned improvement is in fact improving the process.
8. Check. After the improvement has been fully implemented, the “check” step includes formal and informal assessments taking place continually to ensure the improvement is producing the desired results or identifies additional improvements that can be made.
9. Act. The “act” step has the goal of standardizing the change. The team or work group shares best practices in formal and informal settings.
FOCUS PDCA is a method used to improve processes and document the improvement. It is widely accepted as a systematic methodology to meet Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria. It may be used by individuals, teams, or work groups to address opportunities for improvement.