check please pic The best intentioned try to apply PDCA as well as SDCA (standardize-do-check-act), but often fall far short on the check side. Of course, this means that the likelihood they will act/adjust appropriately is slim. So much for the heart of Lean scientific thought! So much for true kaizen!

Doing is fun. Checking, at least thoroughly, does not appear to be as stimulating and is often an afterthought.

I recently stayed a week at a hotel (an industry leader). The accommodations were nice, been there before, etc. However, their heating system obviously had issues – as in my room was always cold. 68 degrees when I returned to my room in the evening and, despite my cranking up the thermostat to 90 degrees, my morning temps were 65, 66, 66, 65 and 63. Good sleeping weather if the bedspread is thicker than a T-shirt. I wore my jacket when I slept. I complained each morning, but not too vociferously because I was interested to see how and what they would do (in the end they made it up to me).

Well, the front desk always had a plan (yes, Mr. Hamel we’ll look at the system) and I am sure that they executed the plan (do) by dispatching maintenance to my room. Maintenance, I am guessing, tested the unit during the middle of the day when the sun was up and the overmatched HVAC could actually keep up and determined everything was fine. Just another crazy customer – the hotel checked and found that their is no need for adjustment. Of course, their means of checking were flawed (you also need to check  when the abnormal condition is alleged to be found) and they never closed the loop to check with me. Bad check or no check means either there is no adjustment or improper adjustment.

Improvement requires us to spin the PDCA wheel properly, completely and frequently. Maintenance (think Masaaki Imai’s kaizen diagram) requires us to frequently and rigorously spin the SDCA wheel to ensure that the standard work is being followed and it is sufficient. The PDCA and the SDCA wheel without the C does NOT roll.

What are your thoughts?

Related post: “Do” Only Gets You Half the Way There, or…“No Pie for You!”