Published: 11 Oct 2019

Find out what happened at the latest Deming SIG event, which focused on providing an A3 structured approach to achieving improvement in organisations.

The second in the CQI’s Deming special interest group’s series on continual improvement was held on Thursday 12 September. The event, attended by 26 delegates at the CQI London office in Chancery Lane, concentrated on the STUDY activities of the SAPDo (or PDSA) improvement cycle.

Delegates learned how they could implement a structured approach to putting improvement activity in place in their organisation. Alan Clark, CQP FCQI, said: “The day was about understanding the problem, which ISO 9001:2015 doesn’t cover. The standard just says you should do improvement, but we’ve provided the A3 structured approach to achieving that – properly understanding the current problem situation, correctly analysing root causes and coming up with the countermeasures to the problem and putting them in place to improve performance.”

Terry Peterson, member of the Deming SIG, explained the background to ISO 9001 improvement – reminding delegates of the incredible achievements in manufacturing during World War Two [CS1] with an untrained workforce of women and men supported by the training within industry job instruction methods.

Clark described the A3 thought processes behind improvement activity and the value in involving teams and management in the improvement process. The A3 report provides a focus for coaching, and building consensus, as well as the importance of decision-making based on hard facts gleaned from current activities.

An activity, which required audience participation, was also led by Ray Charlton, member of the Deming SIG, and Alan Hodges, Chair of the Deming SIG. The activity focused on customer feedback using data provided by the audience. The outcome of this highlighted the use of measures, goals and targets. Hodges added further insights on setting goals.

The event moved on to consider proper analysis of data. Kevan Leach, member of the Deming SIG, reviewed a real-life problem from the food industry, which showed the need for deep understanding of manufacturing processes and the application of simple quality tools. The problem focused on improving the yield when converting milk to cheese.

Malcolm Gall, Acting Secretary of the Deming SIG, highlighted how easily real knowledge is lost by aggregating data into tabular monthly reports.  Delegates learned that by combining different data sets, it is possible to hide the true situation, and that only by looking at individual data sets can you reveal the details.

The next Deming SIG event will be on the November 28, and will be the third event in the series, with a focus this time on the right-hand side of the A3 report generating and selecting countermeasures, planning and risk analysis. Visit the events calendar for more information quality.org/events-calendar.