I can understand the appeal of A3 reports… putting all of the relevant information and problem solving info on a single 11″x17″ sheet of paper is compelling and helpful.
But I have to admit I've never really used formal A3s, at least in the classical form that's taught in books and seminars. I think I've been able to incorporate many of the elements of the A3 kaizen approach in different ways:
- Challenging people to state a problem statement, not just an idea
- Using the “5 Whys” problem solving method
- Anticipating the benefits of changes and how to measure them
- Closing the “PDCA” loop to see if changes had the intended benefits.
Industry Week is doing a webcast:
Dr. Durward Sobek's presentation will explore how the A3 Report can be a useful tool in an organization's PDCA-based management system. Based on his recently released book, Understanding A3 Thinking, Sobek will discuss the core elements of A3 thinking, the basics of A3 Reports and report writing, and a general yet highly effective approach to solving problems in an organizational context. This webcast will be of interest to anyone wanting a primer on how they might be able to us this tool in their daily work, and for managers of any level interested in learning how A3 Reports can enhance their organization's problem-solving capability.
Two books on A3 reports and A3 problem solving:
- Understanding A3 Thinking: A Critical Component of Toyota's PDCA Management System
- A3 Problem Solving for Healthcare: A Practical Method for Eliminating Waste
What are your experiences with A3s? Critical tool? Helpful? Optional? Am I missing out by not using the formal method? What do you think?
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