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The Kaizen Project PDCA, or PDSA, Cycle of Lean

Part of the Lean For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The term Kaizen is derived from two Japanese characters; kai, meaning “change” and zen meaning “continuous improvement.” Eliminating waste in the value stream is the goal of Kaizen. The PDCA (or PDSA) Cycle is the Lean working structure –the system for executing Kaizen. The acronym stands for:

  1. Plan.

    Create a plan for change, identifying specifically what you want to change. Define the steps you need to make the change, and predict the results of the change.

  2. Do.

    Carry out the plan in a trial or test environment, on a small scale, under controlled conditions.

  3. Check (or study).

    Examine the results of your trial. Verify that you’ve improved the process. If you have, consider implementing it on a broader scale. If you haven’t improved the process, go back and try again.

  4. Act.

    Implement the changes you’ve verified on a broader scale. Update the standard operating procedures.

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