The QC (Quality Control) Story is used precisely to solve problems and / or opportunities for performance improvement in a fully structured, concise and efficient manner. The objectives are the same as in the the DMAIC method and can also be applied to projects Lean Six Sigma.

The QC Story is inherent to the PDCA and its 8 systemic steps, which we will meet next, obey exactly the 4 steps of this cycle: to plan, to do, to check and to act.

I know that this analogy between QC Story and PDCA still causes confusion in a lot of people. For you to understand this relationship I will exemplify the whole concept of the PDCA Cycle:

"While QC Story  is used by the PDCA Cycle to improve performance, structured resolution of a problem or opportunity; the SDCA is the second and last method also employed by the PDCA Cycle to maintain and secure this progress that has been achieved. "

It's no use improving a performance and not being able to keep it afterwards, is it?

After explaining the relationship between QC Story and PDCA, we can finally know its steps.

Come on?


8 steps of the Quality Control Story for problem solving


1. (P) Identification


This step consists of identifying the problem-opportunity and elaborating the scope of the project.

Through a wide range of opportunities - whether to correct, prevent or even improve performance - your company's managers can prioritize which of problems should actually go ahead with using this method, based on expected returns and earnings of obtaining. Having identified all these key issues each of them follows for resolution and application with the QC Story in isolation.

But how? Elaborating the scope of this problem opportunity and, therefore, of the improvement project, containing information such as the team and areas involved, the flow diagram of the process involved, the key indicators for future comparison, deadlines for delivery and the target that should be achieved, for example.


2. (P) Note


This step seeks to raise as much data and information as possible about the problem.

Conducting this survey is crucial to move on to the next phase of analysis. To work with existing data and information it is important to assess whether the measurement and data generation system is valid and reliable, if not, the Quality Checklist tool can help you with collecting new data.

After collecting and validating the data and information about the problem it is also recommended to evaluate and analyze it under different points of observation, using other tools, such as: Diagram of Pareto, Scatter Diagram, Histogram,Diagram (BoxBoxplot), Control Charts, in others.

At this stage that the adjustment in the improvement goal stipulated for the project often occurs, since only now the problem is really understood.


3. (P) Analysis


This step aims to find the root causes of the problem.

While in the previous phase the problem was analyzed, here the root causes of it will be analyzed. To discover them and then prioritize them, techniques and analytical and quality tools like: Brainstorming, Diagram of Ishikawa, 5 Why, FMEA, Pareto Diagram, and Priority Matrix, for example, can be employed and help in this mission.


4. (P) Action Plan


This step is designed to elaborate a plan of action that contains the solutions that will solve the problem.

If in the previous phase root causes were discovered and prioritized, at this stage, ideas to solve them will be exposed and then prioritized with the objective of attacking each of the identified causes. Quality tools like: Brainstorming, Pareto Diagram, Costs Matrix, 5W2H, FMEA and the Action Plan itself can assist in this task.


5. (D) Action


This step is pure execution putting the action plan elaborated in the previous stage into practice!

Improvement solutions are already known to combat and eliminate the problem and thereby achieve the goal. Based on them - contained in the action plan, those responsible for all proposed and pending tasks should follow as planned and execute them. To assess whether completion deadlines are being met by all involved a Gantt chart contained in the Action Plan itself can facilitate this control.


6. (C) Verification


This step is intended to compare the result achieved with the expected results of the implemented solutions.

It is no use to implement the recommended actions and not evaluate afterwards if the results obtained were in agreement with the expected. This phase has exactly this objective: to ensure that the expected results are actually achieved.

If any of the tasks included in the action plan did not achieve the desired result, the responsible parties should evaluate what were the reasons that interfered in this process and if this impediment can be solved. Tools like Histogram and  Control Chart can collaborate in this step.


7. (A) Standardization


This step refers to standardizing the process that the problem contemplated.

When you get here it means that the goal of the project has already been achieved - at least that was the goal. Ensuring that compliance with the new practices and working methods in the process that the problem occured remain unchanged over time is the mission of the phase.

Quality statistics and lean tools such as: Statistical Process Control (SEP), devices Poka-Yoke, Flowchart, and of course, indispensable Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may help.


8. (A) Conclusion


This step is linked to finally completing the project, reviewing the method used and the context of the problem.

The improvement project itself is over. There is now one last meeting where all those responsible for solving the relevant problem should discuss about more sustainable practices for applying the problem solving methodology itself, as well as leaving recommendations for future projects that include the same scenario as the one that the problem was involved.