Here is the list of commonly used methodologies or approaches for continual improvement.
1. PDCA or PDSA cycle was developed by quality guru Walter Shewhart and was later made famous by Dr. Deming and Dr. Juran. PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check and Act.
PDSA stands for Plan, Do, Study and Act.
You plan first, then you do that activity, and once you do that activity, you check or study the implementation and then, based on that, you act to make any changes.
2. A3 Methodology or A3 report. A3 is the size of the paper, which is twice the size of A4 paper. The improvement project is visually shown on a single A3 sheet.
3. DMAIC approach. DMAIC means Defined, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. You first define the problem, then measure the current status to establish the baseline, analyze the facts, and improve the process based on these facts. Once you have improved the process, you control it to ensure that it remains in an improved state. Six Sigma uses the DMAIC approach of improvement.
4. 8D methodology. This is again similar to the PDCA cycle, but this has eight steps, and this is quite widely used in the automobile industry.
5. Kaizen approach. Kaizen means small improvement. Rather than taking a big step, Kaizen emphasizes taking small but continual steps.