A3 Problem Solving

– The A3 Report –

⇓   Introduction to A3

⇓   What is A3

⇓   Why Implement A3

⇓   How to Implement A3

⇓   A3 Services

Quality and Reliability Support | Quality-One

Introduction to A3 Problem Solving

In order for any business to be successful, they must strive to improve quality and efficiency as well as build a problem solving continuous improvement culture. The A3 Report is a very useful problem solving and continuous improvement tool.  It was first used by Toyota and is quickly gaining popularity in industry today. Companies must start to view problems as opportunities for improvement. The A3 Report format allows the entire problem identification, clarification, analysis and resolution steps to be documented on one single sheet of paper.

What is A3 Problem Solving

The name “A3” is actually derived from a standard European paper size similar to 11” by 17”. The A3 Report is based upon the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) Method. The PDCA process is sometimes referred to as the Deming Wheel or Deming Circle. The A3 Report incorporates this basic premise to problem solving and continuous improvement.

Why Implement A3 Problem Solving

Some problem solving tools involve numerous pages of information, multiple charts and graphs and lengthy reports. The A3 Report format can be used to more effectively communicate all of the pertinent information with greater visual impact. While the A3 Report is an effective communication tool, it is actually much more valuable as a problem solving and critical thinking tool that can be used to drive continuous improvement. The A3 Report fosters a problem solving / continuous improvement mindset within the participating team members. It is an excellent tool for managers and supervisors to share problem solving techniques with their teams. With resources being limited, completion of a formal A3 Report may not be applicable to every problem. Its use should be determined based upon the size of the problem and its impact on the business or organization. The A3 Report and the A3 way of thinking are valuable tools for Lean initiatives and for integrating a problem solving culture throughout the organization.

How to Implement A3 Problem Solving

The A3 Report usually consists of multiple steps following a PDCA structure of Plan, Do, Check, Act. The number of steps can vary due to the different formats being used for the A3 Report. The exact number of steps used is not as important as the end result. The A3 Report can utilize various forms depending upon the organizations needs and preferences. The following paragraphs provide information regarding the basic steps and some tools used to complete the A3.  One thing that all of the forms seem to have in common is that they follow the PDCA problem solving process.  The basic steps and where they fall into the PDCA structure are listed below:

The first step is to define the problem or identify the need for improvement:

In some A3 formats, a section is included for immediate countermeasures or containment actions. The purpose of containment is to prevent further problems from occurring or prevent the current problem from causing negative effects to other processes, products or departments.

Next, the team should breakdown or further define the problem. Ask any relevant 5W (What, When, Where, Who, Why) and 2H (How, How many / How often) questions. There also may be more than one issue contributing to the problem or more detail required to properly address the problem. Prioritize the issues and identify the point of occurrence or escape point.

The A3 team should set goals regarding the improvement desired as a result of the exercise. This could include a percentage of improvement in process throughput, reduction in number of defects per unit or processing time. The goals should be specific, measureable, realistic, achievable and timely. Many companies are adopting the SMART goal approach.

The team should perform a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) of the problem by using various quality tools. The tools could include, but are not limited to data analysis or completing a Cause and Effect or Ishikawa diagram followed by a 5 Why exercise. Whatever method selected, it is important to get past the symptoms of the problem and down to the root cause.

Permanent countermeasures or corrective actions must then be determined to address the root cause. The countermeasures must be clearly defined, achievable by the person responsible and have a due date. Corrective actions that do not have an owner or due date are seldom achieved.

A plan for implementation of the corrective actions should be developed. The plan should include the team members, resources and time required to complete each task. In some cases, support from outside resources or test facilities are required. Some countermeasures may require repair or replacement of tooling or other capital expenditures. Therefore, proper levels of management should be kept informed throughout the process to assure adequate resources are available for implementing any corrective actions.

The A3 team should next confirm the effectiveness of the countermeasures. This can be accomplished in many ways, including but not limited to additional quality checks, Statistical Process Control (SPC) data, process or product audits and customer feedback.

During this phase of the A3, the team should take action to standardize the process changes or improvements. The team must update all standard work, work instructions and process control plans, etc. In addition, it is a good practice to perform a short Things Gone Right / Things Gone Wrong (TGR/TGW) exercise and document in the A3 report what went well during the process and what could use improvement. The management team should also promote continuous improvement of the A3 tool within the organization.

Common problems to avoid with the A3 Report:

Always remember that the A3 process and report are about fostering critical thinking. Encourage A3 thinking within your organization. The A3 process should be focused on improvement through developing the skills of the people. A3 thinking promotes problem solving, communication and mentoring of the teams.

The A3 Report is an effective visual tool for driving improvement and promoting a problem solving way of thinking. The format can and does vary depending upon the company or organization. The format you select is not as important as the results of the exercise. As long as the form contains the basic steps for problem identification, root cause analysis, corrective action and monitoring improvement or performance, it will be a very effective tool. The A3 Report has its roots in the automotive industry but is branching out into many different applications and industries from manufacturing to healthcare.

A3 Problem Solving Report Template

A3 Problem Solving Services

A3 Services from Quality-One include A3 Problem Solving Consulting, A3 Problem Solving Training and A3 Problem Solving Project Support, such as Facilitation and Auditing. Our experienced team of highly trained professionals will provide a customized approach for developing your people and processes based on your unique needs. Whether you need Consulting to assist in the design of your A3 process, Training to help understand and drive improvement through the A3 report, or hands-on Project Support for building and implementing your A3 process by utilizing our experienced Subject Matter Experts (SME) to work with your teams, Quality-One can help you promote A3 thinking in your organization.

A3 Problem Solving Training Course Outline

Learn More About A3 Problem Solving

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Eponine Pauchard

Problems solving methods : 8D and A3

Eponine Pauchard

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In any organization, teams encounter problems. If everything went as planned, life would be very sad. So we have to solve problems. It’s a daily activity for thousands of employees. Everyone knows how to solve problems. But to get rid of it for good, you need to provide teams with a methodology and simple tools.

a3 8d problem solving

Process improvement experts have a very wide range of techniques. But these few experts cannot solve the problems of an entire organization. This is why we must be able to offer everyone a simple methodology, and to accompany it with some simple tools. In this post, I propose two approaches: the 8D and the A3.

They must be able to solve the majority of their daily problems. A team of experts will be able to provide support, ensure proper monitoring of the methodology, analyze trends and solve problems at a higher level. It’s a good way to become resilient. The more experienced they are in dealing with problems, the easier it will be to deal with them, especially in an emergency.

These approaches are divided into eight and seven steps. Both rely on the Deming Wheel (PDCA). The 8D (for “eight disciplines”) focuses on discipline, and moving from one step to another while the A3 promotes visual presentation.

Don’t suffer from analysis paralysis

Sometimes, looking too hard and digging too deep, we get a little off track. These two tools are very useful to find the root cause or potential causes. However, in order not to start on the wrong tracks, after having performed the analysis, I advise you to use Occam’s razor to choose the most plausible cause.

The principle is as follows:

When you have several solutions or hypotheses to explain a situation, and it is impossible to decide between them, the simplest is the best, until you prove otherwise.

In short: why make it complicated when you can make it simple. Of all the root causes, choose the simplest, which has the fewest assumptions or is the most likely. Treat this cause or implement this solution. If the problem is not solved, you can take the next one. This principle is not a scientific law. The simplest solution is not always the right one. But since you want to solve a problem, this is the most efficient way to separate two hypotheses.

Solve an issue with 8D

Here are the 8 steps to complete an 8D:

8D: Title, date and leader.
1. Describe the issue
2. Choose the team
3. Take immediate action
4. Analyze root causes
5. Define possible solutions
6. Implement solutions
7. Verify the effectiveness
8. Generalize the solutions.

As this method is scientific and rigorous, the key principle is that you have to finalize each step before moving on to the next one.

  • The 8D leader, ie the person who discovers the problem, its manager or the person mandated to solve it, must first describe the problem . The most relevant tool for doing this is the 5W’s . It is a set of questions to identify the problem. Obviously, the problem is expressed from the customer’s point of view.
  • Create a work team. Knowing what the problem is, it is easier to choose the right stakeholders for the resolution.
  • The first action of the task force is to determine the need for immediate action (patch, contingency, …). This decision is based on the severity of the problem to be solved, its impact and the team’s ability to solve it quickly. The team may decide not to take immediate curative action.
  • Once the customer is “protected”, the team can get down to business and look for the root cause of the problem. A brainstorming session, using the 5 Whys , is quite easy to do and usually gives good results. If the organization wants to deploy the tool to as many employees as possible, it must provide them with simple tools, so that they can be autonomous in their problem solving. However, this step is the most complex of all. The 8D leader must identify the root cause(s) and then decide which ones the team needs to focus on to take action. In some cases, resolving the root cause is beyond the scope of the team’s or even the organization’s actions. It is therefore necessary to plan to collect all the 8Ds carried out, for analysis by experts capable of going further. These experts will also deploy the chosen tool and accompany the 8D managers in their early stages.
  • The team will then do their second brainstorming and identify all possible solutions . They will evaluate them (required efforts / expected benefits) to choose which ones to put in place.
  • Finally, the selected actions are implemented .
  • The last two steps are those that require the most rigor: a few days / weeks / months after the implementation of solutions, the team must meet to verify that the results have been achieved .
  • It is in this last step that the support of an expert in process improvement is also a guarantee of success. He will make sure the team close the loop. She suggests ways to share their success to other teams or processes. The expert’s broader knowledge of the organization will help him or her share it with other teams.

Solve an issue with A3

For the A3, the seven steps are in the following format:

A3: Title, date, leader
First column:
Origin of the problem, history and opportunities
Description of the current situation
Analyzis and root causes
Second column
Corrective actions identified

A3 approach is named after the paper format used to document it: the A3 (or 17 × 11 ledger in North America). The concept is to have a page on which the whole process is documented.

  • After identifying the leader and his/her team, the first step is to document the opportunity: why do we want to deal with this problem? What happened for the A3 to be launched? What is the trigger?
  • Then the team will look at the current situation. They will describe (with more precision and figures or facts) the situation as it is and how it should be.
  • Same thing for the future situation: how would we like to be? Again, the 5W’s is a good tool for exploring and completing these first steps.
  • The fourth step, which requires analysis is more complex. The team must be able to analyze the gaps between the current situation and the future situation, to find the root causes to act on the right levers. It is the same as for 8D: coaching, training and practice are essential to make teams autonomous in this key step.
  • The last three steps are very similar to 8D: definition of actions that could be put in place.
  • Definition of the action plan.
  • And finally, evaluate the result, adjust as needed and share the success.

You can also read:

  • Solve problems effectively
  • The pitfalls of problem solving
  • A structured tool for services: the Design Sprint
  • Seikatsu Kaizen, the improvement of living conditions

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8Ds for Solving Problems - Quality Web Based Training

8Ds for Solving Problems The 8D Problem solving method promotes the team approach to solving systemic recurring problems. Cross-functional teams are formed to evaluate the problem and determine the root cause(s). The problem is a symptom of a weakness in the management system. The following is the 8 Discipline approach for team problem

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7-step approach to problem solving 2 The 7-Steps to master problem solving • Problem statements should commence with a question or a firm hypothesis

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8D (Eight Disciplines) Problem Solving Methodology

Problem Solving Methodology is a step-by-step problem solving methodology pioneered by Ford Motor Company through its Team Oriented Problem Solving Global 8D Process. It is a highly effective approach to finding root causes,

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8D Problem Solving - Oshkosh Corporation

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Pragmatic Problem Solving - MoreSteam

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Application of 8D Methodology for Minimizing the Defects ...

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8D problem solving - files.danfoss.com

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Developing practical 8D problem solving capability Study

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Toyota’s 8 Step “Practical Problem Solving ” Process

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8D ’s Supplier Process. - littelfuse.com

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8 Step Problem Solving Method - University of Kentucky ...

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8 Step Problem Solving – data driven tool Last 3 Steps First 5 Steps Deploy Solution Share Knowledge Create Standards Solve the Actual Problem

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8D Methodology – Problem Solving tool

Table of Contents

Disciplined Problem Solving is essential

Hello everyone in this post we learn & explain 8D analysis problem-solving methodology.

Introduction of 8-D Methodology

Today we want to explain the

We established cause-and-effect relationships , therefore we built hypotheses for improvement and used statistical analyses to verify these improvement ideas. And then finally we established long-term sustainability through process control.

Now, as we said, business success means reducing the variation and centering our critical to quality parameters leading to reduced costs, reduced defects, improved productivity, reduced cycle time, better matching our customer needs, so that which may lead to an increased organisational profit.

In this post, we want to introduce the 8D, which is a problem-solving methodology. So 8D focused on identifying, correcting and preventing a problem. The 8Ds have their origins in the United States military and in the automotive industry. Ford documented the 8D method in the late 1980s. And the method defines eight disciplines or stages, and there’s a new stage added, state zero.

8D is used for handling customer complaints and re-occurring process problems. Once it happens you grab a team, then you need to understand the problem and take containment actions. You need to find the root cause and choose a corrective action, implement the corrective action and then learn a defined prevention for the future before you release and congratulate the team.

what is a problem?

Now, we looked earlier at control charts which proposed by Dr. Shewart, and he talked about two different sources of variability in a process, either common causes or special causes. This type of variation is explain in the post of Statistical Process control.

Common causes is accepted as part of a process. Whereas special cause variability on the other hand produces disturbances in the process and usually increases the variability beyond acceptable levels. And special cause should be then discover and eliminated.

It is important to fix the problem, don’t fix the blame…..!

So as we just said, common cause variability, we would work on improving that with the Six Sigma methodology, going through the DMAIC cycle. But for something that is out of control, a problem, we can use the 8 D problem-solving methodology which we then apply to bring long term stability to our process.

Anything outside of the specifications is a defect. Now, often if we see a special cause, we could have a defect.

So how does this relate to 8D?

Well again, you know with some sort of overlap possibly, the 8D analysis helps bring stability to our process. Okay, then let’s go through the different steps of the 8D problem-solving methodology.

What is 8D?

D0- Prepare for problem solving process OR Awareness of problem

Evaluate the need for problem solving process when a symptom / problem is noted

Determine if there is a need for an Emergency Response Action to protect an internal or external customer

If I had six hours to cut down a tree, I would spend four hours sharpening the axe”. Abraham Linken

D1- Establish the Team

The first D1 in 8D methodology is team formation.

Select a Champion

Select a Team Leader

Select Team Members

Generic rules

Now, then you want to form a team . Team leader should be someone who has the right expertise to solve the problem, generally the owner of the process or the area where the process occurred. And so, this person is responsible for meeting any requirements and expectations of the organization or from external customers, for example, like how fast the problem should be solved. But here, this is more the expert, the area leader.

8D moderator – not an expert.

And then finally the most important is the team members, these are people that really are the experts assigned to work on the problem with their specific knowledge, and they then need to work. So we’ll have experts, specific knowledge, They need to have the time allocated and the resource allocated so that they can work on the problem, and they need to work within the constructs of the 8D, so that this can be resolved in the proper manner.

D2- Describe the Problem

The purpose of D2 is to describe the internal / external problem by

Use 5W / 2H Questions

Above all the questions of 5W-2H, Read more about the 5W 2H by click here .

Conduct “Is / Is Not” Analysis (to bring in more clarity about the problem)

D1- Establish the Team                                                                                 D2- Describe the Problem

D3- Develop the Interim Containment Action

Define and implement interim (containment) actions to isolate the effect of the problem from any internal / external customer until corrective action is implemented

Verify the effectiveness of the containment action, so the quantifiable verification can be provided by

Protect the customer Containment actions are used to buy time. So the principal objective is to protect the customer from experiencing additional problems.

In the Interim containment action, we have identified

1. Whether suspect material is segregate?, quarantine and tagged in the entire supply chain? (Field, warehouse, FG, in process, receipt stores and in transit?

2. Whether details are capture? w.r.t. quantity, cut off numbers, implementation dates

3. Whether specific immediate actions are clearly determine? which may include additional inspection / checks, additional operations etc.

4. Whether details are capture? w.r.t. ion qty., cut off nos., implementation dates etc.

5. Whether documented & clear work instructions are provided for the above containment and immediate actions so that there is no ambiguity while implementation & execution?

6. Whether above is communicate through document? or mail to all concerned and affected parties?

7. Whether adequate supporting data is available? & included in 8D analysis report w.r.t. effectiveness & implementation of interim actions (both containment & immediate)?

8. Whether % effectiveness of each action clearly identified based on fact and team consensus?

D4- Define & Verify Root Cause and Escape Point   

Generate Potential Root Causes

Brainstorm using Cause and Effect Diagrams :

Find out the potential / possible causes using the cause and effect diagram , In addition filter out the all possible causes to very few probable causes. Then next use the cause analysis to find out valid cause for the problem generation and escape cause.

Use Five why for the potential causes to get the system root cause:

After found out the valid cause use the Why-why analysis tool, so that we get the root cause for problem generation and escape.

D5- Choose and verify Permanent Corrective Actions

Implement the corrective action to ensure the root causes have been removed. In other words, verify the permanent corrective action are implemented as intended .

For implementation of corrective action plan out the implementation and setup some matrix to verify long term effectiveness.

D6- Implement and Validate PCA

D7- Prevent Recurrence

However behind all root causes there are systematic issues. Therefore which need fixed to avoid the recurrence of this cause to avoid the same problem in future. So that goal of prevent recurrence is to change the system that allowed the problem to occur in the first phase

Preventing recurrence

Look for new opportunities

Log lessons learnt from this 8D analysis study.

D8- Recognise team & Individual contributor

In this category, we have to ensure

1. Whether lesson learnt is document? and discussed with team?, 2. whether opportunity for horizontal deployment is identify? 3. Whether plan is work out? 4. Whether complete closure for 8D analysis is document for future references? share with other members in the organization, so that learning are effectively utilize. 5. Whether tangible & intangible benefits are calculate? & included in the overall report?

And finally, you’ve got then the release and the signature of the author of the report and the final date of the closure. And once all 8D steps done, then the 8D analysis can be closed.

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a3 8d problem solving

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A3 Problem Solving Template

A3 Problem Solving Template

A3 thinking is a logical and structured approach to problem solving adopted by Lean organizations around the world. It can be used for most kinds of problems and in any part of the business. This A3 template uses a four stages model that is based on the PDCA management philosophy. It allows to make the problem solving progress visible to the entire team while allowing the lessons to be learned by others.

This template is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that you can use and modify to meet your specific needs. It can easily be modified to include additional sections if needed. For example, you may increase the number of rows and thus the size of the implementation plan or the follow-up plan. You may also modify headers and spacing as needed.

This template comes in two different variations; one that is simple and user friendly, and another that requires to provide more detailed information. If you have any difficulties customizing this template or you lack time to do so, we will be happy to perform the customization for you. Let us know what you need and we’ll do our best to serve you.

A3 Template (32 KB)

A3 Template – Simple (216 KB)

A3 Template – Detailed (340 KB)

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a3 8d problem solving


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