Tips in A3 Report Making: Be On the Know-How

What is an A3 report?
An A3 report is a problem-solving tool used in any area of an organization where a problem is encountered. It is used to document and report.

It is a one-page, semi-structured document printed on A3 paper (11″ x 17″) that includes data such as the aim and objectives, the methodology, the result and post-result analysis and the learning points. The data provided are drawn and written (not typed out) on the paper. The report is read from top to bottom on the left side, then top to bottom again on the other side.

a3

Why use an A3 Report?
An A3 report offers a simple yet structured problem solving approach. It is effective in presenting to other parties the development of a problem. It also shows the advantages of implementing a particular method or solution to a problem. An A3 report is an efficient way of identifying and eradicating time wasters that hinders one from obtaining a desired goal.

Benefits of A3 reports:
The benefits of an A3 report include:
It creates a standard way of reporting.
It gives a concise and clear information reporting method.
It provides a method that is accessible and visible to everyone involved.
It promotes communication and teamwork among those involved.
It reduces wastes.
It is an activity that assures continuous improvement.
It promotes an effective and efficient working environment.

a3 report

Tips in Making an A3 Report:
Keep in mind the 80/20 rule. The summary of the report should only cover 20% of the content. On this part, a clear and concise description of the problem is stated. The rest of the report should include the specific details and the proposal. On the details part, the 5w1h (what, when, where, who, why, how) should be answered. The proposals part will present the possible solutions to the problem at hand.

It should be EASY TO READ
The goal of making an A3 report is to precisely and effectively present problems and solutions in a clear and simple manner. If the report is too difficult to comprehend then the goal is not met. A great deal of time is wasted when a report is not done in an easy to read format.
Use graphs and illustrations if possible.

Always keep updated
The status of the A3 report should always be updated to prevent delays.

Get Kaizened is a leading lean consulting and lean training firm in California providing Kaizen, lean management and lean manufacturing consulting and training services to clientele in different industries worldwide. For more information about our consulting and training solutions contact us today.

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    Lean Tools Spotlights: A3 Report

    When it comes to implementing Kaizen, well known for utilizing Simple, Quick, and Inexpensive tools, every team member of the organization could and should quickly and cost-effectively improve his/her process. One of these simple tools introduced by Toyota Motor Corporation is A3 Report. The A3 Report allows team members to present a Problem-Solving scenario or PDCA based project in a compact, well defined, and concise format document  – paper size of 297 x 420 mm which is internationally known as A3 (approximate metric equivalent of 11” x 17”). It is a powerful Lean tool that easily shares information on a problem and how it has been solved to foster learning, collaboration, and future improvements. Its purpose is to provide an easy to use document entailing the steps taken to solve a problem, which should be communicated with other departments of the organization as a learning tool.

    The A3 Report is like a storyboard and consists of several blocks, each being filled with text and pictures or drawings related to that section. These blocks correspond to the 6 steps of Problem-Solving method and are titled as “Problem Statement,” “Goal Statement,” “Problem Analysis,” “Target Conditions,” “Potential Solutions,” and “Evaluate Solutions.”

    A3 Report

    Problem Statement: In this section, you will define the “Quantifiable” problem that needs to be solved. The problem statement should be clear and concise away from vague wording. Then, you will state a brief background of current situation including the frequency of occurrences and the problem importance (its effect on the organization), size (the magnitude of the impact), urgency (the bleeding rate), and scope of control (requires outside help or not!). The map of how the processes are done currently is drawn here. The data could be acquired by observing the operation and interviewing the team members involved. Here is an example of proper problem statement:

           There are always a lot of people absent in this Company. (Bad)

           Absentee rate on Fridays & Mondays has increased by 23% during the last 2 months in the ABC department, the 2nd shift. (Good)

    Goal Statement: In this area, you state the goals and objectives that need to be achieved. The desired goal needs to be specific, measurable, realistic, attainable but requiring some stretching, and have a clear deadline. Here is example of proper goal statement:

           Reduce the absentee rate on Fridays & Mondays down to 5% within one month.

    Problem Analysis: During this phase Lean Tools such as Ishikawa diagram and 5-whys are utilized to find the root cause of the problem.  The A3 report format requires you to address the questions in all 4 levels of system design. A SPCA module needs to be used where all 4 elements of “System output,” “Pathway,” “Connection,” and “Activity” are analyzed. These elements in order refer to what the desired output is, who the responsible parties are, how these parties communicate with each other, and what are the required tasks.

    Target Conditions: Here you describe the changes to be made to achieve the desired goal and target conditions as well as show a diagram of proposed new processes. These are the changes and processes that need to take place to solve the root causes of the problem. The devised countermeasures should be noted, and the expected improvement should be predicted specifically and quantitatively.

    Potential Solutions: A list of implementable solutions to address the changes under target conditions is outlined in this section, which could include pictures with their explanation. A workable implementation plan to realize the target condition detailing the What, Who, When, Where of the solutions is drawn: what actions need to take place, who are the responsible team members to implement the solution, when are the due dates, and where the solutions are implemented.

    Evaluate Solutions: A follow-up plan is a critical step in sustaining the process improvement. Therefore, you need to evaluate the results and effects of your solutions to confirm that the implementation plan was executed, the target conditions were realized, and the expected results were achieved. Also, you would indicate your future countermeasures if adjustments are required.

    As it can be seen, A3 Report is not only a useful tool for showing the entire relevant problem solving information on a single 11” x 17” (approx.) sheet of paper, but also it stimulates the learning by studying solved problems, collaboration by sharing the results, and future improvements by evaluating the outcomes . The size of the paper is not the important factor of A3 Report, but it is the format of how all details could be summarized in one page sheet.

    Get Kaizened is a leading lean training and consulting firm in California providing Kaizen consulting and training services to clientele in different industries worldwide. For more information about our consulting and training solutions contact us today.

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