The Continuous Improvement Cycle
By Carolina Lozada
Click aqui para español- > El ciclo de mejora continua
What is the continuous improvement cycle? Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.
This strategy became relevant in the 1950s with the growth of consumerism and the large-scale expansion of the middle class. Its applications are innumerable and can be used to address questions of productivity to bring about effective changes.
Among the most widely used tools for continuous improvement is a four-step quality model—the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle.
Sounds simple, right? Even though we have always known these actions, we usually do not think of them as a strategy.
That’s why I want to ask: when you plan something, do you write down your plan? Do you follow up when you finish your plan? It is by doing this that you can find the difference in acting and obtaining success.
There will always be actions that, although they have been planned, will not work out as expected. Some of them will take you closer to what you want to achieve, and others, unfortunately, will delay you. The success of this strategy is to identify the results of your actions.
We constantly “do” tasks and actions, but we rarely stop for a moment to check the results. Checking will allow you to identify what to do “more of” and what “stop” doing. With these lessons you will be increasingly efficient in your daily life to move into the next “act.”
When we have an ambitious plan, the recommendation is to divide the “plan” into several stages and to check and improve along the way.
“There are no difficult or impossible things; it is the organized approach that allows us to see beyond obstacles, recalculate our direction, and achieve our goals. Do it now.”