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A3 Thinking and Reporting

Course Length: 2 days


Course Description

Learn and discover why a relentless dedication to continuous improvement will give you the greatest competitive advantage. The principle of PDCA: Plan, Do, Check, Act is emphasized, but also of equal value is the flexible, yet precise reporting system, which is married to the process. All about efficiency, every report must be confined to one side of an A3 (11 X 17 inch) sheet of paper.

The class emphases the discipline required to generate and execute the A3 Report.

A3 is not about generating more paperwork, but is all about creating a process and a mindset that are uncompromising in their dedication to improvement. Diligently applying the process, thinking, and applying the tools will dramatically improve the effectiveness of those individuals involved, and when spread through an organization, will quickly result in a culture improvement. While this system grew out of automotive manufacturing, it is proven to be broadly applicable to almost any management system.


The class will also provide:

  • A basis for managerial effectiveness
  • Examples, templates and hands-on individual exercises for creating and writing A3 Reports.
  • Practical advice on how to write and review A3 Reports


Lean Process Improvement or equivalent knowledge.


Course Outline

Lesson 1: A3 Thinking

  • Seven Elements of A3 Thinking
    • Element 1 : Logical Thinking Process
    • Element 2: Objectivity
    • Element 3: Results and Process
    • Element 4: Synthesis, Distillation, and Visualization
    • Element 5: Alignment
    • Element 6: Coherency within and Consistency Across
    • Element 7: Systems Viewpoint
  • Practical Problem Solving
    • Grasping the Current Situation
    • Identifying the Root Cause
    • Devising Countermeasures and Visualizing the Future State
    • Creating an Implementation Plan
    • Creating a Follow-up Plan
    • Discussing with Affected Parties
    • Obtaining Approval
    • Executing the Implementation and Follow-up Plans

Lesson 2:The Problem-Solving A3 Report

  • Storyline of the Problem-Solving A3
    • Theme
    • Background
    • Current Condition and Problem Statement
    • Goal Statement
    • Root-Cause Analysis
    • Countermeasures
    • Check/Confirmation of Effect
    • Follow-up Actions
    • Total Effect
  • Reviewing Problem-solving A3s
  • Your Turn
    • Part : Write an A3
    • Part : Critique Your A3

Lesson 3: The Proposal A3 Report

  • Storyline of the Proposal A3
    • Theme
    • Background
    • Current Condition
    • Analysis and Proposal
    • Plan Details
    • Unresolved Issues (Optional)
    • Implementation Schedule
    • Total Effect
  • Proposal A3 Example
  • Proposal A3 Example
  • Reviewing Proposal A3s
    • Discuss with Peer Group or Advisor
    • Discuss with Affected Parties
    • Obtain Approval
  • Your Turn
    • Part : Write a Proposal A3
    • Part : Review Your A3

Lesson 4: The Status A3 Report

  • Storyline of the Status A3
    • Theme
    • Background
    • Current Condition
    • Results
    • Unresolved Issues/Follow-up Actions
    • Total Effect
  • Status A3 Example
    • Discuss with a Peer Group or Advisor
    • Your Turn

Lesson 5: Notes on Form and Style

  • Form
  • Style
  • Graphics
  • Understand Your Data
    • Use the Best Graph for the Data
    • Label Properly
    • Use as Little Ink as Possible
    • Let the Graphic Talk
  • Tables

Lesson 6: Supporting Structures

  • Standard Templates
  • Where to Start
  • Handwritten versus Computer-Generated A3s
  • Coaching
  • Approval
  • Storage and Retrieval

Lesson 7: Conclusion

  • PDCA and Managerial Effectiveness
  • A3 Thinking
  • Three Main Types
  • Form and Style
  • Final Advice

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