Some contacts asking about A3 Problem Solving, I thought I would do a quick overview.
Problem solving is about thinking, but writing things down can help thinking as well.
Using the A3 process we can document key information and decisions each step of the way which can then be shared with others, to get input, and make modifications by using that input.
Why A3? Originally it was because much of the communication across Toyota (the various sites and nations) was by fax, and this was the largest size paper that could fit in a fax machine. (Amazing how some things materialise)
The key fundamental about A3 reports is not the format or the finesse with which you fill in the different sections which fancy drawings, charts etc. It’s the COMMUNICATION process. The A3 is fundamental to the process of problem solving and decision-making. It allows the most critical of information to be shared with your business or businesses for others to evaluate on the thought processes used and as a means for requesting support and advice, which in turn aligns everyone in the organisation on how the A3 will move forward.
The above image is a typical layout (not set in stone though, as previously mentioned the format is not the point), but it highlights the different stages and guidelines for completion.
For anyone interested contact me and I’ll send the guide and some examples in PowerPoint format. My personal opinion is use paper and pencil for a start.