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Simplistic view of a PDCA cycle
Plan-Do-Check-Act > then Plan-Do-Check-Act > then Plan-Do-Check-Act... guess to you get the picture...
Further adding to the above mind-map
Plan > Plan what is required to be done
Do > Put your Plans into action
Check > Are things going to Plan
Act > Plan to improve
The ISO 9001:2015 uses the methodology of the PDCA process from start to finish. However, the PDCA cycle itself is not a requirement.
In my view, wherever you are in the PDCA cycle, you are likely to be planning, making plans, implementing plans, checking plans, etc. So at all stages, you are likely to be planning.
ISO 9001:2015 speak: "...This International Standard employs the process approach, which incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and risk-based thinking..."
The process approach enables an organisation to plan its processes and their interactions.
The PDCA cycle enables an organisation to ensure that its processes are adequately resourced and managed and that opportunities for improvement are determined and followed up.
Risk-based thinking enables an organisation to determine the factors that could cause its processes and quality management system to deviate from the planned results. Thus allowing procedures to be put in place to provide preventive controls, minimise adverse effects, and maximise opportunities and openings when they arise.
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