A3 Problem Solving

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A3 Problem Solving 

This is an approach to continuous improvement that simply refers to an over-sized piece of paper, used to plan and organize projects in order to help the business improve.

The steps in the A3 approach are similar to that of the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle.

This is very similar to the Joiner 7-step process.

The steps are:

  1. Identify the problem or opportunity
  2. Understand the current condition
  3. Set goals and targets for the state you wish to be in
  4. Perform Root Cause analysis
  5. List possible countermeasures and Plan
  6. Check results to see if the desired effect has occurred
  7. Follow up and review the work standard

The layout of these steps on the A3 piece of paper can be seen below…


In order for this tool to be successful, it is important that it is supported by an organisation that has a lean approach to quality management.

The main goals of this tool are to provide a visual structure for problem-solving, increase the communication across departments and to record any proposed plans to the systems.

As this continuous Improvement tool is constrained to one page, it can be effective in quickly and simply reporting all of the important information.

This report will help the employees adopt a problem solving and continuous improvement mindset, as it will simply display the problem at hand, and how this can actually be viewed as an opportunity, not a blockage.


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