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【Case Study】How to rotate the PDCA cycle with data analyses【Mentoring program】

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【Case Study】How to rotate the PDCA c...

The purpose of data analysis is to effectively rotate the PDCA Cycle in the target process and prompt operators’ next specific actions after viewing the analysis.

(Duration: 6:16)

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How can we rotate the PDCA Cycle with data analysis?

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black Belt.

In the last video, we wrote out the functions requested for the operation system in the Mentoring Program.  This is the one we wrote:

5 How Analysis Complete

There are six requested categories of functions.  Today I’ll show you how we’ll achieve each category.

The basics of data analysis: Make It Actionable

Since this operation system aims to use existing data effectively, let’s review the basics of data analysis first.  The purpose of data analysis is:

  1. To effectively rotate the PDCA Cycle in the target process.
  2. To prompt operators’ next specific actions after viewing the analysis.  We call this “Actionable”.

My client told me this later:  “I’ve become able to find issues while they are small with my PDCA Cycle and developed a process to make an action plan every month.”

Therefore, a goal in this project is to ensure that we’ll make all screens actionable.

With this in mind, let’s discuss about what kind of screen each requested category will have.

1) “Dashboard”

The first category is the “Dashboard”. It’s a screen that lists major KPIs for your target operation, just like a car dashboard.  By the way ‘scorecard’ is another word similar to dashboard.  The purpose of both are similar as well, but the scorecard usually has numeric goals and their actual results side by side and highlights their progress ratios.


This is the dashboard screen we made for this project.  It shows data which we can understand at a glance the company’s condition from and which area we have issues with.  This chart shows comparisons between the current results and last year’s, and the previous month’s.  This is because they are especially important for the company.

Comparison CY vs PY Chart

They update and examine this screen every month, then write any notes about it in the section below.  Another important thing is to review the previous month‘s action plan and think back on your activities in that month.  While considering all of that information, write an action plan for the new month below.  Indeed, this screen becomes an engine of the PDCA Cycle for my client.

Review Section

2) “Goal Setting”

The second category is “Goal Setting”.  This is included in the dashboard.  Their goal is set as 20% up from last year.

3) Report to Outside”

The third one is “Report to Outside”. This is for submitting to retail stores that sell my client’s products.  “Actionable” is important for this also.  We should design it based on what kind of action you expect from the stores after they see this report.

Monthly Sales Chart

This time, the purpose is to have the persons who saw this report understand at a glance how well products were sold.  Therefore, it’s just a simple line chart. This will be a strong weapon for the sales team.

4) “Demo-Tasting Sales Management”

The fourth category is “Demo-Tasting Sales Management”.  This company regularly conducts demo-tasting sales at retail stores.  This table shows the timing when inventory of the products in each store are about to run out in light-blue highlight, and that indicates the time when the demo-tasting sales should occur.

5) “Customer Ranking”

The fifth category is “Customer Ranking”. Prioritize and rank your customers not only by sales, but also by many ways in which they contribute your company.  We did it on this screen. Since all companies have limited resources, you can allocate your resources effectively by considering this list.  Also, since you can find your company’s ideal customer demographic from this list, you can see which similar customers also have high potential to grow.

6) “Accounts Receivable”

The last category is “Accounts Receivable”.  The later the discovery of customers’ payment issues, the more difficult it will be to solve them.  We wanted to make a screen that helps us find those issues at an early stage, but unfortunately we didn’t have all the necessary data at that time, so we removed this category from our scope for this project.

As you can see, at the beginning of the project’s development, it’s essential to decide the final user interface screens first, then check if all necessary data are available for all of the screens.  In other words, begin with the end in mind, then start from the beginning of the process.

With this, we completed our user interface screens that help us rotate the PDCA cycle.  It’s a good idea to show all screens to your stakeholders and get their approval before moving next.

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