Two engineers are promoting a cyclical process that will help any function at UDOT chart a path to continuous improvement.
Statewide Quality Manager Robert Stewart and Quality Management Engineer Curt McCuistion are looking for opportunities to share information about the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. “We are an organization that does very well in quality,” Says Robert Stewart, UDOT Statewide Quality Manager. The road construction that’s carried out under UDOT’s oversight is very carefully executed with quality control and quality assurance processes in place to make sure work is carried out properly, and that the final product meets established standards. The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which incorporates the data from these QCQA processes, is a management approach that will be shared with all of UDOT, not just construction.
The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle follows these steps:
Plan – the first step is to plan how to meet the needs of our customers, both internal and external, by meeting or exceeding expectations. The plan should establish ways to measure success and establish a baseline for future comparison.
Do – The next step is to carry out project activities while collecting data on customer expectations, and to observe problems that arise along with possible causes.
Check – This phase involves checking the data to observe how the plan is working by using the original baseline as a comparison.
Act – If the Check phase shows success, the work continues along the same path. If the work falls short of meeting the baseline established in the Plan phase, changes need to be made before continuing on with the project.
These methods have a proven success record throughout the public and private sectors. “The cycle that we follow is the same for all continuous improvement,” says Stewart.
No arms twisted
Stewart and McCuistion are using a soft-sell approach. UDOT is already doing good things at every level, explains Stewart. “Our goal is to simply get better, and get people in the mindset that they can control this, they can change this, and they can improve this.”
Stewart and McCuistion are starting with UDOT Project Development first. “Curt and I are starting in the UDOT Project Development realm because design and construction are our biggest hits. That’s the where the majority of the budget is spent – that’s why we’re focusing on those areas. Eventually we should be doing this in all of our functions within the DOT.”
Using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle across the department should help UDOT be more nimble and capable of meeting the changing needs of all customers.