The A3 Improvement Process
One Day Workshop
The real objective of Lean is to develop a culture of continuous improvement, to have all associates engaged in problem solving and process improvement. This requires that everyone be skilled in problem solving, process improvement and the associated quality management tools. There are several proven techniques to teach the requisite skills, concepts and tools. One such technique is “A3s”. Based on Deming’s storyboards and his “Plan-Do-Check-Act” (PDCA) improvement cycle, A3s have been very effective in this objective. More than simply a page of paper (A3 refers to the size of the sheet of paper – approximately 11″ x 17″), the real benefit of the use of A3 lies in the process of creating the document.
The process requires the person or persons engaged to practice solid problem solving and process improvement approaches. Included here is a clear distinction between problem, cause, countermeasure, and goal/target. Understanding the differences between these is critical to developing effective problem solvers. The A3 approach prompts users to complete all four steps in the PDCA cycle, and not take ‘shortcuts’ that undermine results.
Managers can use A3s to teach the PDCA process while addressing real problems and issues in the organization. Managers can coach associates through the PDCA process in a “learn by doing” approach. The various basic quality management tools (e.g. Pareto charts, cause & effect diagrams) can be introduced as necessary. Associates can see the power in the use of these tools by solving real problems. The A3 Improvement Process involves an ongoing two-way dialogue between the problems solvers and their ‘coach’ through the successfully completion of the effort. This is often a missed element when people are just starting to use A3s.
This one-day workshop will review the A3 improvement process, A3 ‘templates’, and associated quality tools. Participants will select a real life problem to serve as a subject of their A3 and begin to develop one during the workshop. Further, they will have an opportunity to practice the coaching piece of the process as fellow participants present their A3s. Attendees will make use of the “A3 cheat sheet” to help them in this task.
Duration: 1 day (additional days can be added to allow for more time for development of the participants’ selected A3s. The days can be scheduled over several weeks to allow for their completion)
Who should attend: Any person in any role in any industry can benefit by attending this workshop. Attendees are asked to bring a real life work related problem to the workshop.