What is PDCA? How to build an effective PDCA cycle in business

PDCA là gì? Cách xây dựng chu trình PDCA hiệu quả trong doanh nghiệp

PDCA is considered an extremely effective management tool and is commonly used in many businesses. SO ? How to build a PDCA cycle? Readers, please educate yourself with the following article by Ms. Uptalent!

1- What is PDCA?
2- What is the application of PDCA?
3- Example of PDCA cycle in practice
4- Build an effective PDCA cycle
5- When to use PDCA in business?
6- What are the questions related to PDCA?
7. Conclusion

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1- What is PDCA?

PDCA is known as a continuous management cycle often used by companies in the management process to achieve specific goals and improve efficiency.

The 4 letters of PDCA stand for “Plan – Do – Check – Act” with the corresponding meaning being “Plan – Implement – ​​Check – Adjust”.

PDCA was introduced to the Japanese by Dr. Deming in the 1950s. Therefore, the Japanese often call it the Deming cycle or the Deming circle.

Initially, PDCA was used in quality management, but today it has become an important tool for companies applying management systems such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001,…

2- What is the application of PDCA?

PDCA is increasingly used in businesses due to the great benefits it brings. Businesses can apply PDCA to things like:

2.1- Process improvement

The PDCA operates in a closed, iterative cycle of planning, implementation, evaluation and adjustment. This allows companies to improve their operational processes as close as possible to reality and to overcome and correct errors.

Additionally, PDCA also helps companies break down projects and processes into small steps so that they can be managed and continuously improved.

2.2- Change management methods

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Applying PDCA requires companies to use the required metrics at every stage of planning, implementation, testing and adjustment. This is why the business management process is also evolving and becoming more fluid.

2.3- Quality management

One of the important applications of PDCA is quality management. Through PDCA’s continuous feedback mechanism, businesses can analyze, measure and identify the source of changes in customer requirements in order to take appropriate corrective action.

In fact, PDCA is a popular tool that helps companies implement comprehensive quality management. At the same time, it is also the basis of Six Sigma DMAIC.

2.4- Maintain control of the project

Understanding what PDCA is and applying it to project management allows companies to have better control over different aspects of a project. From there, businesses can find many different implementation options, understand cost and efficiency issues in order to find appropriate ways to improve.

2.5- Performance management

Most companies view performance reviews as a separate function. However, PDCA allows businesses to integrate performance management into daily operations, significantly improving productivity.

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What is PDCA?

2.6- Increase competitiveness

Businesses can apply PDCA to identify the source of change, negative impacts, how to eliminate or reduce fluctuations, and plan for risk prevention. On the other hand, they also use it to improve capabilities for demand management, supply management, operations management and organizational reconfiguration.

These actions and the PDCA’s ability to improve coordination between different processes can help improve business performance and competitiveness.

3- Example of PDCA cycle in practice

To better understand what PDCA is, you can consult the following examples:

3.1- PDCA in production

If a company wants to improve the quality of its products, it should do the following:


The first step companies should take is to develop a specific quality improvement plan. At the same time, they must also define quality requirements, standards and measurements.


The company carries out the implementation according to the established plan and starts manufacturing products according to the new quality standards.


Measure and evaluate the quality of the product to see whether or not it meets the defined requirements.


If the product meets the requirements, the company will continue to produce according to established standards. On the contrary, if the product does not meet the requirements, the company will have to make changes to achieve the required quality.

3.2- PDCA in learning

For example, you want to achieve a final score greater than 8.0. Then you need to do the following:


Set daily learning goals. Specifically, you need to determine the study time for each subject and reduce the play time.


Start spending more time preparing lessons, studying and reviewing lessons learned.


Evaluate the results obtained after one month of implementation. What is your score? Has it already increased? Why is your score not above 8.0?


Solve existing problems and create a plan to achieve your goals.

You will have to continually maintain this process until you achieve your set goal.

PDCA in learning

3.3- PDCA in life

For example, you want to travel to Da Nang later this year. You need around 8 million for this trip. You therefore apply the PDCA as follows:


You estimate that you need to save 2 million per month. To get this amount of money, you’ll need to find a part-time job and cut down on unnecessary spending on groceries and eating out.


You start working part-time and go out less to eat, drink and have coffee with friends.


A month later, you have only saved 1.5 million. The reason is that you still have to spend too much money on clothes.


Plan to cut back on clothing expenses and find additional work.

You will have to maintain the above steps continuously until you have achieved your set goal.

4- Build an effective PDCA cycle

As you learn what PDCA is, you will see that this model consists of 4 stages. You will therefore need to rely on these 4 steps to build an effective PDCA cycle. Specifically:

Step 1 – Plan

This is the first and most important step in creating the PDCA. If you plan precisely and comprehensively, it will be easier for you to carry out the next activities. On the other hand, a comprehensive plan also helps you make fewer adjustments and control things more effectively.

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This planning stage often includes the following small steps:

– Set goals and objectives.

– Describe the tasks to be carried out clearly and in detail.

– Determine the completion time and organize the implementation teams.

– Identify the data needed during implementation.

– Analyze each role, the person performing it, the expected results, how to perform it and the associated work instructions.

Step 2- Implement the plan

At this stage, you will begin to follow the plan outlined in step 1. You will need to use appropriate methods and tools to achieve the set goals.

More specifically, you must answer the following questions:

– What are the points to improve?

– Is it time to finish the plan?

– What must be done to carry out the plan?

PDCA at work

Step 3 – Test

The aim of the inspection stage is to detect defects, find their causes, prevent them and correct them.

Things to do include:

– Evaluate the results of the activities and solutions implemented.

– Analyze the level of success of the activities carried out, evaluate the results of achieving objectives and look for improvement options.

Step 4- Adjust

The goal of adjustment is to help the company’s management system operate more synchronously, overcome limitations and aim to complement established standards.

Things to do include:

– Correct detected errors.

– Plan preventive measures for problems that may arise.

– Repeat the steps above until the goal is achieved.

5- When to use PDCA in business?

PDCA is also known as an effective management cycle. Therefore, understanding what PDCA is as well as its applications can be useful to all businesses, regardless of their field or industry.

The flexibility of PDCA allows companies to apply it across departments, divisions and individual teams. In other words, there are no limitations when using PDCA.

Here are some common cases where businesses can use PDCA:

– Companies must develop new products and services.

– Companies want to optimize existing processes or products.

– The company must start a new process improvement project.

– Companies want to explore new innovation opportunities.

– Companies want to detect errors, redundant steps or gaps in operational processes and eliminate them.

Building the PDCA grid

6- What are the questions related to PDCA?

6.1- What is the difference between PDCA and PDSA?

PDCA stands for “Plan, Do, Check, Act” and PDSA stands for “Plan, Do, Study, Act”. The difference between the test lies in the third stage “Verification” and “Study”.

In the verification stage of the PDCA process, you will need to verify the results of the plan implementation and evaluate its effectiveness against the requirements.

With the PDSA study stage, you will need to perform in-depth analysis of the results based on changes at each stage to ensure long-term process improvement goals.

In fact, you can combine the above two processes to increase data accuracy and get the best corrections.

6.2- What is the difference between Kaizen and PDCA?

Kaizen and PDCA are both effective methods of quality management and process improvement. There are, however, some differences between them.

Specifically, Kaizen focuses on making small, regular improvements in all aspects. It also monitors, evaluates and makes necessary adjustments when receiving new proposals.

Meanwhile, PDCA is more specific. It starts with planning, implementing, checking and adjusting to perfect processes and projects.

Another difference between Kaizen and PDCA is that Kaizen is a process of continuous, non-stop improvement, but PDCA is carried out in a cyclical manner.

7. Conclusion

In short, PDCA is a necessary tool for any business or organization that wants to experience growth and success in the future. By applying this model in management, companies and organizations can ensure sustainable development and achieve their set objectives.

Hopefully the information shared by Ms. Uptalent above has helped you fully understand what PDCA is and how to apply it to your business. Good luck!

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