Problem Solving and TQM

Pragmatic believes that every organization can benefit from integrating systematic improvement processes throughout their operations. In accordance with the underlying principles of TQM, most organizations want to engage employees to help manage processes, measure the effectiveness of the processes and ensure that the outputs from the processes meet internal or external customer requirements.

Individuals, teams and organizations often need to adapt to new customer requirements or changes in the business environment. Capable companies need to excel at improving performance in today's turbulent operating environment and ensure that their employees have the necessary skills and competencies to assist in driving product and process improvements.

The most recognizable and commonly adopted approach to systematic problem solving is contained within the traditional Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. The PDCA approach is a powerful method to help teams systematically identify and resolve problems. This approach ensures that corrective measures are implemented when problems occur and that once resolved, the process remains in control and the improvement gains are maintained.

Successful problem resolution can only be achieved by taking a systematic approach to studying the processes and understanding what is going on in the process and identifying the most important problems to work on. What is the best approach to improving quality while reducing cost and waste?

In more mature organizations the tools and methodologies of "Lean and Six Sigma" are being implemented to great effect, but in some smaller organizations the 7-Step Model provides the most effective framework to implement an effective approach to "Problem Solving" as part of the PDCA cycle.

This approach is supplemented by training teams in the most commonly used tools used for each step of the process. When delivering this training to organizations, Pragmatic often encourages students to bring "real" problems to the classroom so that the tools can be applied in a practical manner that can yield immediate results.

The formal approach based on the 7 step model and the PDCA cycle

  • Define the Problem
  • Confirm and Validate the Process
  • Identify probable (root) causes
  • Develop action Plan and Solutions
  • Implement the Plan
  • Monitor (Measure) the Results
  • Verify Effective (Lessons Learned)
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