Identify and solve complex problems in your business process by using an app for your A3 report.
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Originally a part of the lean management philosophy of the Toyota Production System (TPS), A3 Reports are one-page reports used for recording the information progress reporting and rational decision-making.
A3 Reports make reporting simple since they look like summaries of numerous detailed reports and analyses. To be more precise, they are usually compiled only in one page and use visuals like graphs, charts, and bullet points to convey the message. Therefore, they are often called “one-pagers”. The name “A3” derived from the metric paper size that the report is produced on (equivalent to a paper size of 11 inches x 17 inches).
A3 thinking aims to develop a specific mindset towards problem-solving. It can be summarized in 7 elements:
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.
The advantages of A3 model can be summarized in the following bullet points:
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: