Speaking of Precision Blog

Speaking of Precision

Speaking of Precision is a knowledge preservation and thought leadership blog covering the precision machining industry, its materials and services. With over 36 years of hands on experience in steelmaking, manufacturing, quality, and management, Miles Free (Milo) Director of Industry Research and Technology at PMPA helps answer "How?" "With what?" and occasionally "Really?"

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One Lesson I Learned From- Karen Martin

Posted May 28, 2013 7:36 AM by Milo

Karen Martin spoke at PMPA's Management Update meeting earlier this year. Her presentation was based on her book, The Outstanding Organization

It turns out that her book The Outstanding Organization won a 2013 Shingo Research Prize.

The book and its message are heavily pointed at achieving institutional clarity through reducing chaos.

That is a great takeaway, but was not the best one for me.

The One Lesson that I took from Karen's presentation was that the Shewart Cycle- Plan- Do- Study- Adjust- is the authentic model for continuous improvement.

First proposed by Walter Shewart, and edited, published, and improved by Deming, the Shewart cycle was recast by Japanese executives into PDCA- Plan-Do-Check-Act- and this is how many of us have learned it.

According to Karen Martin

  • In the 1980′s Deming felt that the model had been corrupted by translation difficulties.
  • Deming recommended replacing PDCA with PDSA- which he felt was closer to Shewart's original intent.
  • "Deming continued to refer to the cycle as PDSA and dubbed it the "Shewart cycle for learning and improvement." (The Outstanding Organization, pp.128-129.)

So why am I a fan of Karen Martin's PDSA reframing?

Certainly not because of this little bit of historico-semantic revisionism?

Actually, it is because unlike all of the other graphics that you can find on PDSA on google images, Karen Martin's book has depicted this cycle as Shewart and Deming have relayed it- a continuous, ongoing process of continuous feedback- ongoing process improvement.

This is the One Lesson I Learned from Karen Martin.

  • Ditch the PDCA wheel visual-Embrace the continuous cycle of cycles model of PDSA.

Here is a whiteboard trailer for the book.

And, congratulations on the Shingo Research Prize.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which originally appeared here.

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