After my original post about Toyota’s A3 Process, I received several tweets and comments about the use of the A3 Process in organizations.
Redge posted a great comment:
Having worked in the automotive industry and as a supplier to Toyota, I can attest to the value of the A3 format for problem solving.
The objective is to create a standardized format and also to ensure that the focus remains with the problem at hand. I caution you to not be fooled by it’s relative simplicity.
Problem solving using this form can be difficult as it’s limited space is purposefully restricted to encourage a concise and definitive presentation.
I highly recommend reading Toyota Kata by Mike Rother where he discusses Toyota’s improvement process at length. Definitely worth the read if you really want to understand how improvements and problem solving are integrated into Toyota’s culture.
One of my colleagues Johan Lindberg (@johanlindberg) pointed me to the shmula site which had a very good post on the Toyota A3 Report. There are several links to other A3 resources, I listed them below (I will update this list over time):
- Peter Abilla from shmula.com The Toyota A3 Report and A3 Sample Template
- Dr Durward Sobek’s website A3 Process
- Cindy Jimmerson’s article in Lean Directions A3 Problem Solving: simplicity at work
- Lifecycle Engineering video Using A3 Proposal as a Problem-Solving Tool
- Mark Graban from leanblog.org Toyota’s Training Center and LAPD Template
- John Shook “Toyota’s Secret: The A3 Report”
On Monday, I used the A3 template to work with our Director of Student Services and Director of Library to capture information about a request they had to expand services to our satellite campuses. I will write about this in a later post as we work through the process. Based on our first use of the A3 template, I expect great results from taking this disciplined approach.
Looking forward to your feedback.