A3 Lean template
This article explains the A3 Lean template in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful problem solving tool. This article also contains a downloadable and editable a3 format lean template.
What is the A3 Lean template?
Most organizations are perfectly capable of solving problems. However, realizing a structured problem solving approach is often much more difficult.
Car giant Toyota has included the ability to continuously carry out improvements in operational performance in a structured process. This is called the A3 Lean Thinking Process.
Toyota describes problem identifications in a 10 step plan in which cooperation and personal development of employees is promoted. Both the results of the problem identification and the planning are represented in a concise A3 report. The name of the A3 Thinking Process is derived from this paper format.
Advantage of the A3 Lean template
Problems within an organization are often addressed superficially. The deeper, underlying causes of the problem are not always considered, allowing repetition to lie in wait. The same problems will resurface with the result that operational performance does not improve. The A3 Thinking process helps to arrive at a joint and detailed problem resolution. Underlying causes are thus eliminated.
A3 Lean template steps and example
The A3 Lean template can be applied in almost any problem situation provided the ten steps are followed in the process:
Step 0. Identify a problem or need
The problems is recognized, acknowledged and identified by the team members of the A3 Lean template.
Example: Structural late deliveries to customers.
Step 1. Understand current position
The problem can only be addressed by understanding the current situation. Toyota indicates that it is important to determine the extent of the problem.
Example: What percentage of the deliveries are late?
Step 2. Target
By drawing up countermeasures a new target will be formulated. The A3 Thinking team will specifically describe the expected improvements.
Example: Because of the new form of communication, the status of the delivery will be clear to the customer and the company.
Step 3. Root Cause Analysis
By finding out the causes of the problems, measures can be taken. The main causes are identified by the so-called ‘why’ questions via a Root Cause Analysis.
Example: Why are deliveries late? Why this percentage? Why are customers not informed?
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