Turning Problem Into Improvement with PDCA
Dr. Agus Setiawan

PhD Holder and result-oriented Director with 25 years experience with involvement in all levels of Business Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Managing Project and Product Development. Aside of managing a company, he is also the best corporate trainer and public speaker in seminar and conference.

Turning Problem Into Improvement with PDCA

Improvement is the process of a thing moving from one state to a state considered to be better, usually through some action intended to bring about that better state. A continual improvement is a part of improvement where the process is included an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.

There is one tool that is useful in doing a continual improvement, that tool is PDCA. PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is an iterative, four-stage approach for continually improving processes, products or services, and for resolving problems. It provides a simple and effective approach for solving problems and managing change. Further, PDCA cycle consists of four components, namely.


In Planning, the team selects the problem to be solved (or the process to be improved) to deliver results in accordance with the expected objectives. You can analyze the current situation, identify solution alternatives, and select and schedule the most promising solution (or solutions).


The solution is then tested on a small scale basis in the Do phase. Do involves implementing the solution on a small scale, collecting data for later analysis, and measuring progress. Do ensures the solution is appropriately tested and benefits are validated before committing to full implementation.


Check involves analyzing the collected data and comparing the actual results against the planned objectives. It allows evaluating how well the solution worked and discussing whether further improvements are possible. It is also concerned with identifying the unexpected issues, their causes, and gathering and summarizing the key learnings.


A plan should be created for the full implementation after evaluating the costs and benefits for each alternative. Act involves acting on the feedback and lessons learned and implementing the solution fully. Act is also concerned with standardizing, documenting, sustaining the improved process, and integrating it into the organization’s system.


To sum up, the PDCA cycle can be repeatedly applied in a process of continuous improvement where there is no end to it. Each cycle will bring you closer to your goals and will extend your knowledge further which could lead to the organizational development and advancement.

Lodgaard E., Gamme I., Aasland K.E. (2013) Success Factors for PDCA as Continuous Improvement Method in Product Development. In: Emmanouilidis C., Taisch M., Kiritsis D. (eds) Advances in Production Management Systems. Competitive Manufacturing for Innovative Products and Services. APMS 2012. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, vol 397. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Using the PDCA Cycle to Support Continuous Improvement (Kaizen). (2021). Retrieved 3 November 2021, from

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