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A3 Thinking by Operational Excellence Consulting

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A3 thinking is Lean thinking. An A3 report is a Lean PDCA storyboard. The A3 report is a tool that Toyota uses to propose solutions to problems, give status reports on ongoing projects, and report results of information gathering activity. The term "A3" is derived from the paper size used for the report, which is the metric equivalent to the 11" x 17" paper. The A3 Report is a much simpler alternative to problem-solving teams who find the typical PDCA storyboard too time-consuming to create.

In this training guide, you will learn the steps to proceed from problem identification to resolution in a fashion that fosters learning, collaboration, and personal development. The problem-solving team records the results of investigation and planning in a concise, two-page document (the A3 Report) that facilitates knowledge sharing and collaboration.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

1. Acquire knowledge on the key concepts of A3 Report based on the A3 thinking process
2. Gain detailed knowledge on the step by step approach to writing an A3 Report for Problem Solving
3. Gather useful practice tips on the appropriate form and style for A3 Reports

CONTENTS

1. Introduction and Key Concepts of A3 Report
Seven Elements of A3 Thinking
Stages of Ability
What is an A3 Report?
Three Types of A3 Report
A3 Thinking is Based on the PDCA Approach
Typical Flow of a Problem-Solving A3
Typical Flow of a Proposal A3
Typical Flow of a Project Status Review A3
Comparison of Different A3s
When to Use a 50-Page Report
When to Use an A3
Key Points for A3 Report

2. A3 Problem Solving Report: Step-by-step
A3 Report Steps
Problem Solving A3 Report Format
Step 1: Theme
Step 2: Background
Step 3: Current State
Step 4: Goal Statement
Step 5: Root Cause Analysis
Step 6: Countermeasures
Step 7: Check Results
Step 8: Follow Up

3. Form & Style
Form & Style
Adapt the A3 Report to Your Target Audience
Common Pitfalls in A3 Reports
Summary

To download this complete presentation, please visit: http://www.oeconsulting.com.sg

Published in: Business

A3 Thinking by Operational Excellence Consulting

  1. 1. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. A3 Thinking © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. A disciplined way of solving problems
  2. 2. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 2 Objectives 1. Acquire knowledge on the key concepts of A3 Report based on the A3 thinking process 2. Gain detailed knowledge on the step by step approach to writing an A3 Report for Problem Solving 3. Gather useful practice tips on the appropriate form and style for A3 Reports NOTE: This is a PARTIAL PREVIEW. To download the complete presentation, please visit: http://www.oeconsulting.com.sg
  3. 3. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 3 Contents 1. Introduction and Key Concepts of A3 Report 2. A3 Problem Solving Report: Step-by-step 3. Form & Style
  4. 4. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. Introduction to A3 Report 1
  5. 5. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 5 Introduction  Most organizations strive to steadily improve their performance. At a basic level, continuous improvement requires effective problem solving.  Unfortunately, addressing organizational problems to the level that the likelihood of recurrence is greatly diminished remains a rare skill.  In this presentation, we introduce a general-purpose tool that can greatly improve the problem-solving capabilities of an organization and its members. This tool is called the A3 Report.
  6. 6. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 6 Introduction  A3 thinking is as much about developing good problem- solvers as it is about effectively solving problems.  Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is the basic philosophy behind A3 thinking.  There are seven elements of A3 thinking – the kind of thinking that the A3 report tool encourages – and the A3 process that add some meat to the PDCA skeleton, making it more actionable and useful.
  7. 7. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 7 Seven Elements of A3 Thinking 1. Logical thinking process 2. Objectivity 3. Results and process 4. Synthesis, distillation and visualization 5. Alignment 6. Coherency within and consistency across 7. Systems viewpoint Development of Knowledge & Skill
  8. 8. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 8 Stages of Ability Knowledge: Only this portion is taught in a classroom in “Off-JT” manner. Skill: This portion must be taught with actual problems and situations “OJT” with mentoring from capable superiors. Skills usually cannot be developed in a classroom setting. Knowledge Can Do & Improve Do Well Capability Understanding
  9. 9. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 9 What is an A3 Report?  An A3 Report is a process used to document and report the results from the PDCA cycle.  It is different from other types of report in the way that all information is disclosed on an A3 sheet (11”x17” paper) developed and popularized by Toyota.  When applied to problem solving, the A3 report indicates the steps to use when solving problems.
  10. 10. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 10 What is an A3 Report?  An A3 Report is a PDCA storyboard – it refers to the “story” that the presentation will follow.  Using the A3 report will make it easier for the audience to understand.  Therefore from the data collected, the objectives can be identified and the results can be reported for everyone to absorb.  There will be some trial and error in between these improvement activities. So it is natural that the A3 report and the basic steps are repeated until you are satisfied with the quality.
  11. 11. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 11 Three Types of A3 Report 1. Theme 2. Background 3. Current Condition 4. Results 5. Remaining Issues/ Action Items 1. Theme 2. Background 3. Current Condition 4. Analysis/Evaluation of Alternatives 5. Plan Details 6. Unresolved Issues (optional) 7. Implementation Schedule 1. Theme 2. Background 3. Current Condition & Problem Statement 4. Goal Statement 5. Root Cause Analysis 6. Countermeasures 7. Check Results 8. Follow Up Actions Problem Solving Proposal Status Update The report can be easily developed by following the steps outlined below.
  12. 12. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 12 A3 Thinking is Based on the PDCA Approach  A3 thinking process is based on the PDCA philosophy  PDCA is a systematic approach to problem solving  It provides the framework for a team to carry out improvement  It is commonly used together with the problem solving tools Plan DoCheck Act
  13. 13. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 13 Typical Flow of a Problem-Solving A3 Report Current Condition Analysis Countermeasures Effect Confirmation Follow up Actions Goal Do, Check & Act Background Report Theme: Plan
  14. 14. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 14 Typical Flow of a Proposal A3 Report Report Theme: Current Condition Analysis / Evaluation of Alternatives Plan Details Unresolved Issues (optional) Implementation Schedule Proposal Background
  15. 15. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 15 Typical Flow of a Project Status Review A3 Report Report Theme: Background Current Condition Results Remaining Issues / Action Items
  16. 16. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 16 Comparison of Different A3s Focus Problem Solving Proposal Writing Project Status Review Thematic content or focus Improvements related to quality, safety, cost, delivery, productivity and so on Policies, decisions, or projects with significant investment or implementation Summary of changes and results as an outcome of either problem solving or proposal implementation Tenure of person conducting the work Both novice and experienced personnel/managers but continuing throughout career Experienced personnel; managers Both novice and more experienced managers Analysis Strong root-cause emphasis; quantitative/analytical Improvements based on considering current state; mix of quantitative and qualitative Less analysis and more focus on verification of hypotheses and action items PDCA cycle Documents full PDCA cycle involved in making an improvement and verifying the result Heavy focus on the Plan step, with Check and Act steps embedded in the implementation plan Heavy focus on the Check and Act steps, including confirmation of results and follow up to complete the learning loop
  17. 17. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 17 When to Use a 50-Page Report  When you don’t know what you’re talking about  When you’re trying to hide the truth  When you want to impress your professor  When you own Xerox stock  When you wish to create a clerical staff empire  When you need to fill up your time  When you get paid by the word  To put your audience to sleep
  18. 18. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 18 When to Use an A3 Report  Anytime you wish to clearly tell a story – especially when you wish to simplify or clarify a complicated issue.
  19. 19. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 19 Why Use the A3 Report? Because an A3 Report…  Enhances logical thinking  Enhances decision-making  Provides a standardized method of communication  Focuses on problem solving activities  Eliminates waste
  20. 20. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 20 Example 1: Problem Solving A3 Report Theme: Reducing Scrap in the Machine Shop
  21. 21. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 21 Key Points for A3 Report  Plan time to grasp the entire situation.  Decide what kind of story you need to tell.  No exact or specific look or format.  Relate the story to company goals and values.  Make your story flow in a logical sequence.  Save words – use graphs and visuals.  Fits on one page – use baby A3s for complicated stories  Use bullet points – be specific, make very word count.
  22. 22. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. A3 Report – Step by Step 2
  23. 23. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 23 Problem Solving A3 Report Format COUNTERMEASURES FOLLOW UP CHECK RESULTS ANALYSIS GOAL CURRENT STATE Detailed description of the current situation (e.g. process flow, trend chart, Pareto analysis, gap identification and problem statement). Specific goal to address the gap or target state from the current state. Depiction of analytical techniques to uncover the root causes of the problem or factors that affect the problem in the current state. Alternatively it may be a description of a proposed target state to achieve. A summary of who will do what by when in order to resolve the problem situation or achieve the target date. Quantitative comparison of actual results versus your goal. Summary of follow up action items (e.g. lessons learned, communication to other parties, training, standardization, or other areas). BACKGROUND Relevant historical data and information. THEME Concise statement of what this A3 report is about.1 2 3 4 5 8 7 6
  24. 24. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 24 Step 1: Theme  Every report begins with a thematic title that introduces the content to the audience.  The theme should help the audience quickly discern the gist of the content. In essence, the theme is the report or document description.  Examples of themes in manufacturing industries: • Reducing scrap in the machine shop • Improving productivity in stamping • Improving on-time delivery • Lead-time reduction in assembly
  25. 25. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 25 Step 2: Background ILLUSTRATIVE 1. Corporate Goals 2014  Increase global market share  Improve quality and service  Increase corporate profits 2. Manufacturing Goals 2014  Reduce cost by 5%  Reduce scrap by 15%  Improve productivity by 7%  Improve HSE index by 10% 3.2 2.62.73 2 1 2.3% Goal Not meeting goal for 2014! Background 2012 2013 2014 (YTD) Overall Scrap %
  26. 26. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 26 Step 3: Current Condition Example 1:  Customers in the Northern region are dissatisfied with the ordering service.  Errors have increased by 23% during the last 3 months. Example 2:  Since the rationalization of the patient registration services, complaints of long waiting times have increased by 35%. Examples of Problem Statement ILLUSTRATIVE
  27. 27. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 27 Step 4: Goal Statement - Review Questions  Is there a clear goal or target?  What, specifically, is to be accomplished?  How will this goal be measured or evaluated?  What will improve, by how much, and when?
  28. 28. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 28 Step 5: Root Cause Analysis Symptoms  Result or outcome of the problem  What you see as a problem (Obvious) Causes  “The Roots” – system below the surface, bringing about the problem (Not Obvious) Symptoms Causes The Problem  Gap from goal or standard Problem Infection Fever Achy, weak, tired
  29. 29. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 29 Why? Answer 1 Why is there oil on the floor? Oil leaks from the cylinder rod when activated. 2 Why did oil leak? The O-ring was cut. 3 Why was the O-ring cut? The rod was flawed. 4 Why was the rod flawed? Dirt in the oil abrades the rod. 5 Why did dirt get in the oil? There are holes and gaps on the upper plate of the tank. Example of 5 Whys ILLUSTRATIVE Root cause of the problem
  30. 30. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 30 Step 6: Countermeasures – Key Points  Make sure to address the potential root cause(s) with action items.  Identify who will implement the countermeasures.  Make it clear exactly what will be done.  Clarify the due date by which action items will be completed.  Make the implementation order and location clear.
  31. 31. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. Form & Style 3
  32. 32. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 32 Form & Style  Do not become slave to a format, but use the format as a standard for starting your own A3 reports.  Pay close attention to scope control, especially when first starting out. Start on something relatively easy and within your realm of control for the first attempt.  Rely upon handwritten images, especially at first, for the current condition and other sections of the A3 where images or charts work better than pictures or texts. Once your skill has improved or the content finalized, migrate over to electronic formats.
  33. 33. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 33 Common Pitfalls in A3 Reports  Background is not clear to an external audience  Problem statement is too vague  Scope is too large (for first efforts in particular)  The goal or target condition is an action item is disguise  Problem analysis is not sufficiently drilled down  Countermeasures do not address root causes
  34. 34. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. About Operational Excellence Consulting
  35. 35. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. 35 About Operational Excellence Consulting  Operational Excellence Consulting is a management training and consulting firm that assists organizations in improving business performance and effectiveness.  The firm’s mission is to create business value for organizations through innovative operational excellence management training and consulting solutions.  OEC takes a unique “beyond the tools” approach to enable clients develop internal capabilities and cultural transformation to achieve sustainable world-class excellence and competitive advantage. For more information, please visit www.oeconsulting.com.sg
  36. 36. © Operational Excellence Consulting. All rights reserved. To download this presentation, please visit us at: www.oeconsulting.com.sg END OF PARTIAL PREVIEW

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