A3 a Lean Continuous Improvement Problem Solving Tool


This week I welcome back Mark Thompson with ATN, Alabama Technology Network, to discuss A3.  A3 is a Lean continuous improvement tool made famous by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the training of its engineers and floor supervisors.   The power of using the A3 a (11’’ x 17’’) paper size work sheet is multifaceted.

It serves as a problem solving report that guides the users in clearly and concisely identifying the problem at hand by writing a clear problem statement, then taking all important steps of action.

It then moves to an objective section by clearly identifying the desired outcomes which enables an individual or team to keep their efforts focused.  This is followed by a clear depiction of the current state, followed by a description of a future state condition sought by the problem solvers.

The goal of the A3 is to focus on root cause problem solving.  At this point other Lean tools may be employed by the team to identify and discover the true cause or condition of the problem or improvement sought such as asking the five whys, a fish bone diagram and so on.

The A3 drives collaborative efforts for problem solvers to address the real root cause of a problem.

Mark does a great job in this podcast of describing the benefit and effective use of A3 to any organization.  I am delighted to have Mark back on the show to share with us his experience with A3, a continuous improvement tool.


A3 Project Plan