2The source for much of this is material is from: “Understanding A3 Thinking”Durward K. Sobek II and Art SmalleyCRC Press
3What is an A3? Problem Solving Tool Developed by Toyota Supported PDCA Supported Total Quality programTop management preferred visual control over lengthy text reportsA3 name derived from size of paper used (A3 is metric equivalent of 11 x 17 paper)
4Ultimate Goal is a problem resolved Problem Solving at ToyotaUltimate Goal is a problem resolvedSo it is less likely to occur in the futureSkill of the problem solver is increased so they can handle more challenging problems in the future* Process to solve problem is more critical that short term results
5Why A3?Allows collaborative in-depth problem solvingDrives towards Root CauseDefines the issue through the “Eyes of the Customer”Forces an understanding of the Current Condition before jumping to solutionsProvides a consistent approach to Problem SolvingIt is easy to learn and remember
6Direct tie in and support of: Value Stream Mapping Kaizen Philosophy A3 and LeanDirect tie in and support of:Value Stream MappingKaizen PhilosophyFast Response
7Collection of Facts and Data Interviews Analysis A3 InvolvesActual ObservationsCollection of Facts and DataInterviewsAnalysisGood Problem Solving SkillsIt is also recommended that a coach/adviser assist with dialog, critique, feedback, and development.
8through a problem in a systematic and standard method A3 versus A3 ThinkingA3 is a problem solving toolUsed without A3 thinking it is just another tool, that will get the same results as PDCA, or any other toolA3 Thinking is the process of logically workingthrough a problem in a systematic andstandard method- The A3 form serves as the roadmap to guide the thinking
9The 7 Elements of A3 Thinking Logical Thinking ProcessObjectivityResults and ProcessSynthesis, Visualization, DistillationAlignmentCoherency within and Consistency acrossSystems Viewpoint
10Logical Thinking Process The 7 Elements of A3 ThinkingLogical Thinking ProcessA3 thinking promotes Scientific Method of investigationImportance is placed on factually discerning the difference between Cause and EffectTakes into accountNumerous potential avenuesEffects of implementationPossible stumbling blocksContingencies
11Objectivity The 7 Elements of A3 Thinking Quantitative facts are used to verify understandingFacts and Details are framed as objectively as possibleCourses of action promote organizational good vs. personal agendas
12Results and Process The 7 Elements of A3 Thinking A3 Thinking is a Process that drives ResultsResults without process lead to little long term valueProcess without results fails to move the organization forwardA3 Thinking By YouAllows you to know how well a person understands the problemUnderstand how a solution fits into the larger picture
13Synthesis, Visualization, and Distillation The 7 Elements of A3 ThinkingSynthesis, Visualization, and DistillationBrevity of reports forces synthesis of information to only the most vital pointsA3 thinking encourages information through graphical representation to communicate the message clearly and efficientlyGraphical information, clearly and concisely stated, distills thinking to critical facts
14Alignment The 7 Elements of A3 Thinking Inclusion of the problem, the analysis, the actions, and the follow-up plan gives all team members something concrete to agree or disagree withA3 structure provides a vehicle for communicationHorizontally – those affected by changeVertically – the hierarchy of the organizationBack and Forth in Time – a record of past remedies and recommendations to consider for the future
15Coherency Within, Consistency Across The 7 Elements of A3 ThinkingCoherency Within, Consistency AcrossA3 report structure establishes a logical flow that promotes coherency in the approach and thinkingFlow of the A3 promotes consistency across the organization, that speeds up communication and understanding
16Systems Viewpoint The 7 Elements of A3 Thinking A3 format demonstrates that the problem solverHas a purpose for the actions proposedActions proposed further the organization’s goal, needs, and prioritiesUnderstands how the actions proposed affect other parts of the organization
20*Should not contain a solution Select A ProblemObjectively describes the PROBLEMIs described in actionReduceEliminateImprove*Should not contain a solution
21Grasp the Current Situation Background to the ProblemWritten for a target audienceWhat is their background?What is their informational need?Tied to a company (business) goalIs Clear and VisualUse historical data and datesHelp the audience understand the problem
22Grasp The Current Situation The Current StateBefore a problem can be properly addressed, one must have a firm grasp of the current situation. To do this, Toyota suggests that problem-solvers:Observe the work processes first hand, and document one’s observations. (Go to GEMBA)Quantify the magnitude of the problem (e.g., % of customer deliveries that are late, # of stock outs in a month, # of errors reported per quarter, % of work time that is value-added); if possible, represent the data graphicallyCreate a diagram that shows how the work is currently done. Any number of formal process charting or mapping tools can be used, but often simple stick figures and arrows will do the trick.
23TargetHow will we know the project is successful?What will be the standard for comparison?Make the goal measurableConsider how to collect the data to validate effectiveness
245 Why’s Analysis (Root Cause) Root Cause AnalysisFailure to address the root seed of the problem, most likely means it will reoccur5 Whys technique used by TOYOTA to dig to root causeStructured tests and experiments when 5 Whys do not deduce root causeKey Questions:Are the work activities specified in terms of content, timing, sequence, and outcome?Are the connections between entities clear, direct and immediately comprehensible?Are the pathways along which goods and services travel simple, direct, uninterrupted, and value add?*Almost all failing systems violate one of these
25Devising Countermeasures Once root cause is identified then brainstorming changes to the system (countermeasures) to address the root cause beginsCountermeasures should be designed to prevent a reoccurrence of the root causeEmphasis on Why the problem occurred not just fixing the problemMultiple countermeasures are encouraged to help insure a systems viewpoint*Like the Current State the Future State should also be expressed graphically
26* Also includes the expected outcome of each task Creating an Implementation PlanShould include the 4W’s and 1 HWho is responsible for the countermeasureWhat is the cause of the problemWhen it will be implementedWhy this countermeasure is being implementedHow will this be implemented* Also includes the expected outcome of each task
27Graphical representations of the effects of the Implementation Plan Effect ConfirmationEffect ConfirmationGraphical representations of the effects of the Implementation PlanUse the same standard as in the Goal sectionTry to verify the effectiveness of each countermeasurePlan in advance the data collection strategyIdentify who will collect the data and how often it will be collected
28What additional changes are needed from our learning? Follow-up ActionsFollow-up ActionsWhat have we learned?What additional changes are needed from our learning?Can other areas within our department/plant benefit from ourchanges?Can other areas of the company benefit from our changes?Do our changes need documented?Do our standards need changed?
29Creating a Follow Up Plan Follow-up ActionsImportant to verify the actual results against the predicted resultsWas the implementation plan effective?Did you learn enough about the problem to devise countermeasures that actually worked?Demonstrates that the organization is paying attention to problems
30Obtaining Approval Not done as a bureaucratic step Is an opportunity to mentorWas their rigor in the development of the A3?Did the problem solver visit Gemba?Does the root cause make sense?Do the countermeasures address the root cause?Is the implementation plan realistic?Is the follow up plan (metrics) substantive?