Identify and solve complex problems in your business process by using an app for your A3 report. It makes it easier to implement continuous improvements and solutions.
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Behind an A3 report or A3 model is a problem-solving method typically used by managers and supervisors to identify, understand and solve problems in a business environment. Originally part of the lean management philosophy of the Toyota Production System (TPS), it is now used by various industries seeking to improve their operational quality and efficiency.
Using a checklist for the A3 report makes it easier to gather the desired information, analyze the problem and plan the solution.
Despite the plethora of problem-solving methods (8D, 5 Whys, CAPA, etc.) there are still good reasons for companies to make A3 reports an integral part of their business. If you don't create an A3 report where it is needed, this can lead to project failures, loss of productivity and process inefficiency.
A successful company is one that continually strives to operate at maximum capacity. A3 reporting helps to achieve this ideal by identifying issues, vulnerabilities and ambiguities in the business process. The knowledge gained can be used to develop possible solutions. The A3 thinking can be adapted to almost any type of company or industry through careful analysis, collaboration and critical thinking.
The integration of the PDCA method into their operational framework helps companies, to face all challenges, which harm their operation and new trends, competitors or a change in the economic situation.
Although not primarily designed as a means of communication, the A3 problem solving method can be used to manage different functions and interest groups using operational problems and plans to solve them. It is especially useful since his one-sided scheme only contains the most critical details on the matter includes.
In addition to its function as a problem-solving and reporting tool, the A3 report is also suitable for business proposals and can be used for business planning.
Each A3 report uses the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle - a standard management method. The scientific approach behind it is aimed at this:
A template for the A3 report is divided into seven analysis and work steps. These steps are carried out when the problem is to be solved, or a new standard is to be introduced. First, the four analysis steps are started, which refer to the planning phase of the PDCA cycle. The remaining three work steps reflect the Do, Check and Act phases of the cycle.
This step describes the problem. It must be described so that all employees involved understand the problem and its effects. Besides, the description should show the relevance of the problem solution for achieving the company's goals.
In this section the actual state is described as vividly as possible. This can be supported by presenting facts clearly in tables and graphics to show what is happening. It is hoped to identify and analyse the origin of the problem and what is preventing those affected from reaching the target state.
The target state must be clearly defined. As a rule, it is more effective to think backwards from the target than to search for a goal aim aimlessly. In this step, it must also be clarified how the target state is to be achieved. Which measurement methods should be used to measure success. Which basis or key figure is used as a benchmark for comparison?
Cause analysis aims to determine the factors that have a direct influence on the problem. Starting points for effective measures can be derived from the influencing factors. An Ishikawa diagram can be used to collect the causes of the problem.
This step lists all measures that contribute to achieving the target status. These include measures to eliminate the causes of the problem and to improve the actual state. The following questions should be answered: What is the respective (sub-)problem? How is the problem solved? Who is responsible? When will the measure be implemented? Where will it be carried out?
An important step in the A3 method with a template, which should not be neglected. Here it is checked whether the measures have led to the planned result. If there is a deviation from the target, the reasons are listed. The achieved effect of the measures is quantified. A graphic representation of the measured effect increases the comprehensibility.
In the last step, the whole process is evaluated. This reflects on which measures should be taken to secure the achieved improvements or to push them further. Particularly successful measures are standardised. Besides, consideration is given to how the experience gained can be applied to other tasks and problems and which other divisions could benefit from the solutions.
An A3 report is practical and flexible if the right employee supports it. However, some problems are not complex enough to require an A3 report or can be better solved with alternative problem-solving models.
Using an A3 report template for something as simple as tightening a loose screw or updating an incorrect input in a spreadsheet is unnecessary. A3 reports should be used for complex topics that require careful analysis, critical thinking and an entire team to solve.
The extent and impact of an issue must be assessed appropriately before a team decides to use an A3 report to solve the problem. In cases where an A3 report is not sufficient, other, more thorough problem-solving models such as the 8D report may be a better choice.
The effectiveness of the A3 model depends strongly on the successful analysis and interpretation of the data. With a versatile app for data collection, analysis and template creation like Lumiform, companies can take full advantage of an A3 problem sheet.
A template for the A3 report can be easily created via the app by tablet or smartphone - online or offline. The A3 report template is created via the desktop software and is immediately available to all responsible employees. The data is collected with the respective mobile device on-site and then evaluated in the desktop version.
Lumiform guides all employees through all documentation processes, thus significantly reducing the risk of documentation errors. The digital solution for the A3 report offers many more advantages: