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A Plan-Do-Check-Amend (or Act) Cycle is a four-point approach to problem solving that can be implemented by businesses across all industries to test and identify effective solutions and processes for common issues. Also known as the Deming Cycle, after the American statistician W. Edwards Deming, this process can be used again and again, by any department within an organisation, to refine and improve company processes.
Plan: identify the issue or opportunity, consider and list potential causes and solutions and decide which to test first. It is important to base everything in this stage on cold, hard facts and not let assumption and speculation cloud the process.
Do: test the solution you’ve decided to investigate, preferably on a small scale at first, and record the results. This stage should really be treated as the Test stage, where processes devised in the Plan stage are tested on a small scale rather than being fully implemented.
Check: take time to study the result, the effectiveness of the test and whether your original list of possible causes and solutions support the results or not. Be sure to list any unexpected results, defects, variations or challenges, ready for comparison the next time you run through the cycle.
Amend or Act: if the test was successful, implement the process. If the test was not successful, make appropriate changes and start the test again.
An example of PDCA in action
A local bakery wants to the number of people visiting their website to use their new mail order cake delivery service. During the Planning stage, they decide that either a search advertising campaign using Google Adwords, a Social Media campaign or a targeted email campaign would be good ways to reach interested individuals and increase the number of site visitors.
They agree that search advertising should be the quickest way to see results so an ad campaign is what they will Do. A targeted Google Adwords campaign is created to run for a set period of time, with a small but flexible budget.
At the end of this test period, the bakery owners Check the statistics to see how many people have seen their ads, how many of those people clicked their ads, how much each click cost the business, how many site visitors converted into paying customers and whether the average value of a transaction made the campaign profitable or not.
If the campaign is cost effective, the bakery owners may Act by deciding to continue with the Adwords campaign and increase its reach and budget. If the campaign has not been cost effective, the owners may Amend the process by focusing on a different tactic, such as a Social Media campaign or email newsletter targeting previous customers.
Say Hello Hello use the PDCA Cycle to amend, enhance and improve campaigns we manage on behalf of our clients. If you have a database that needs requalifying, a social media presence that could be improved, or you just need some help running your office, contact us today for a free quote.