PDCA Cycle for Improvement of Construction Quality Process

Perfecting quality requires a lot of effort from the management team. It requires timely management of multiple resources that are transmitted via a large number of people in the same or different organizations. This generates demand for upholding the new market trends that ease these processes and aids in achieving predetermined goals to fulfill client’s expectations. Hence, quality management approaches play a vital role in defining the success rate of an organization. PDCA Cycle is one such approach adopted by the construction industry to achieve quality and significant client satisfaction.

PDCA Cycle was first developed by a management consultant Dr. William Edward Demings in the 1950’s. It is also popularly known as Deming’s cycle. This model helps in building a continuous loop for controlling & improving processes. It is a very basic model which makes it more accessible in the Indian construction industry that is in the revolutionary phase of project management systems.

This approach divides the processes into simple basic steps. It helps in improving processes in-country and eliminating repeating errors. This is stand-alone method but is also adopted in lean methodology as a valued tool. 

Principles of PDCA Cycle:

Plan

This is an input stage of the cycle. It identifies the problem, planning and strategizing a series of events to mitigate the risk. Points taken into consideration at this phase are :

  1. Which is a repeating error
  2. The root cause of a problem
  3. Solution strategy of required problem
  4. Resources required for a problem
  5. Budget required for planned strategy

The planning stage is further subdivided into 4 stages:

  1. Identification of repeating error: It is analyzing stages on basis of results obtained and general observation across the site. 
  2. Detailed Investigation: Retrieving information and deploying tools for investigating the problem such as basic reconnaissance survey or execution of activity in front of a subject expert.
  3. Finding Root Cause: Analyzing all the details extracted in the earlier phase and analyzing through management tools such as to cause and effect diagrams and what-ifs? tool.
  4. Summary of the plan: Strategize a plan for improvement. Plans need an implementation strategy that can be initiated in a small but significant stage. 

For example, In the planning stage all the quality processes are defined along with the authority matrix of work. This shall include who authorised to do which type of quality control and at what frequencies. It also includes checklists to be followed for the construction work.

Do: 

This is the execution phase. It requires the appointed person to execute the task as per the direction given. It requires precision as these small steps results will affect the overall performance of the task.  Simultaneous tasks executed along with implementation are quality control, minute detailing, and observation. This works as input for the next stage. Data collection is done to analyze it further. This is both the output and input phase.

Based on the planning done, execution and quality control is done. This report are store which can be later used for analysis purpose

Check: 

The input data from the previous stage is sorted, organized and analyzed here. Analytical tools are introduced to find any point of correction in a previously known impeccable plan. If not found, the strategy has a successful outcome and can be implemented on large scale. 

Comparison of achieved results to outlined expectations is a key feature of this stage. Comparison can be done in terms of quality achieved, Time taken, resources waste, a margin of error received and percentage of error eliminated. 

At regular intervals the quality data and the process followed are reviewed. Root cause analysis and trend reports are generated to identify the cause of the problem.

Act: 

It is a standardization of successful strategy. For a successful strategy, resources that are required for implementation are calculated. The process of acquiring and budgeting are the factors considered in the next step. That means if a strategy is successful in execution and delivers promised outcomes, but is very costly to execute. The decision depends on the client, whether or not he is ready to invest the sum of money for better delivery. If not the, the stage is used to authorize the dismissal for the same. 

Based on the root cause analysis and data available, decision making is done and necessary changes are made in the process. Also the training needs can be identified for the engineers and the contractors.

Different ways to Implement PDCA Cycle:

PDCA cycle is a standalone development technology that is versatile and can be applied to a wide range of problem-solving statements. PDCA Cycle can work as the key to enhance the quality management system but it has to be determined for which application it is being used. It is necessary to define this to draw the path of future processes and execution systems. 

Some of the following applications are mentioned below: 

  1. For evaluation of multiple viable solutions to a problem
  2. For the Development of improved design and better quality 
  3. Implementation of new change
  4. Improvement of Existing Procedure and introducing new technology
  5. Continual Improvement Strategy of a prestigious organization
  6. Analytical tool in lean methodology

Advantages of PDCA Cycle:

Advantages PDCA Cycle is as follows:

  1. Its value as a simple standard-setting tool cannot be undermined. It has the simplest model with basic steps that can be used to achieve the same results as other high-standard methodologies.
  2. It prevents the repetition of mistakes and also promotes continual improvement. This method defines the strategic goals and defines improvement in stages.
  3. Cost reduction due to elimination of wastage.
  4. Increase in collaboration between central and site teams.
  5. Increases reliability of strategy that is to be implemented in the field as it as achieved desirable success on a small scale basis.
  6. Increased potential of mitigating risk before it happens on a large scale.
  7. Increased efficiency and productivity promotes a healthier work environment and growth
  8. Decreases budget timeline by forecasting risk of failure in advance and has quick reaction time. 

Drawbacks of PDCA Cycle:

Drawbacks of the PDCA Cycle are as follows:

  1. Continuously changing the status of activities due to improvement processes can be confusing and may deliver wrong results.
  2. PDCA Cycle works best when conditions are ideal and the action starts with the planning stage. It doesn’t give instant solutions and contingencies.
  3. Over-analysis is a common occurrence in PDCA Cycle as the execution stage has no input criteria. 
  4. Slow improvement sometimes adversely affects the work environment. 

Conclusion:

There are always negative and positive sides to a thing. But there is always scope of improvement for reducing disadvantages. PDCA cycle can be adapted for a wide range of construction organizations i.e from small-scale companies to large-scale organizations. PDCA Cycle has a very basic model which makes it easily accessible. Thus one can Adopt the PDCA cycle for a wide variety of applications in the construction industry and can ensure quality control to be enhanced. 


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