HOW-TO GUIDE: How to use a problem-solving A3 report

Does your problem require a problem-solving A3 report?

You are confronted with problems at work every day, and how you approach problem-solving will influence how effective your solution is. Although simple problems can often be solved by observation or a basic problem-solving tool such as 5 Whys, complex problems require a more comprehensive tool such as a problem-solving A3 report, a highly structured and documented root cause analysis that prevents the problem’s recurrence.

What is a problem-solving A3 report?

A problem-solving A3 report is a tried and tested problem-solving method first used by Toyota in the 1960s, and later embraced by numerous other approaches to continuous improvement. The report is limited to one A3 page, which encourages teams involved in the issue to collaborate and be concise by recording only essential information and graphics in the report. As teams go deeper into the problem-solving exercise, they may learn more about the parts or processes that went before. They should then simply go back and adjust the A3 report.

 

Download the how-to guide How to use a problem-solving A3 report to understand the key components of an A3 report:
  • Problem statement
    Also known as the “theme”, a problem statement names the problem as succinctly as possible.
  • Current condition
    This section shows the “proof” of the problem statement using performance graphs or photos, for example.
  • Target conditions
    The target condition or “goals” section should be specific, reasonably attainable and measurable.
  • Root cause analysis
    This section unpacks your investigation to find the root cause of the problem.
  • Countermeasures
    Detail possible improvements and findings in this section.
  • Improvement verification
    Some improvements or countermeasures may not fix the problem, so use this section to record the verification details.
  • Follow-up actions
    Reflect on what additional changes or improvements can be made.

PLUS: Get your downloadable A3 template

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