A3 TPS Style - TheLeanCorner

Title: The title should accurately describe the issue to be addressed and can never contain a
proposed countermeasure.
Overview Note: Remember that the A3 should tell a story. Use storytelling tools such as graphs,
sketches, diagrams of the area, future state maps, etc.
Initial and date as
revisions are made
I. Background (Plan)
V. Countermeasures (Do)
Describe the current state – What is the issue? How big is it? Tie the issue back to company goals
– why is it important to address this problem?
Initial and date as
revisions are made
Initial and date as
revisions are made
Initial and Date to
Signify initial version
This section is used to capture proposed countermeasures. What might we do to address and
remove the issues we’ve discovered?
List and evaluate more than one possible countermeasure. Discuss pros and cons.
II. Current Conditions (Plan)
What undesirable outcomes are being caused by the issue? Be specific – how much? How long?
How many? Go to the gemba, look, study, ask, gather facts.
Problem statement – what is the pain/symptom?
Stick to facts
III. Goals/Targets (Plan)
Once a course is established, specify the 5W1H (Who will do What, Where, Why, by When, and
VI. Effect Confirmation (Check)
Select the best countermeasure.
List the specific actions and steps that will be taken during the execution or implementation
phase. Include timelines, names of responsible individuals, support needed, sign off required.
How will we know that the effect is successful?
What standard or basis for comparison will be used to measure our results?
This must include 1) a basis for comparison or standard (see Goals/Targets) so that we know what
magnitude of impact we are having, and 2) established causal links between action items and
observed effects. This second criteria often requires that multiple action items are tested one at a
IV. Root Cause Analysis (Plan)
VII. Follow Up Actions (Act)
What are the contributing causes? Be specific and show the cause/effect relationship through
either logical deduction or experimentation.
Use the Five Whys
Consider fishbone diagrams
Use charts and other analysis tools.
As simple as possible; no more so. – Albert Einstein
Once we’ve determined (in step VI) whether or not the implementation achieved the desired
improvement, we can either discard it and return to the former standard, or establish the new
Identify additional changes that should be made to sustain the gains seen during Check – new
procedures, required process steps, etc.
Determine what other people/areas need to be informed of these findings so that they can
benefit as well – other teams using the same system, doing the same work, etc.
Questions Mentors Should Ask
Adapted from Understanding A3 Thinking, Sobek, Durward K. and Smalley, Art, Productivity Press, New York, NY, 2008
I. Background
Is there a clear theme for the A3 report that reflects the contents?
How is the topic relevant to the organization’s objectives?
Is there any other reason for working on this topic (e.g., learning purposes)?
II. Current Conditions
Is the current condition clear and logically depicted in a visual manner?
How could the current condition be made more clear for the audience?
Is the current condition depiction framing a problem or situation to be resolved?
What is the actual problem in the current condition?
Are the facts of the situation clear, or are there just observations and opinions?
Is the problem quantified in some manner or is it too qualitative?
III. Goals/Targets
V. Countermeasures
Are there clear countermeasure steps identified?
Do the countermeasures link to the root cause of the problem?
Are the countermeasures focused on the right areas?
Who is responsible for doing what, by when (is 5W1H clear)?
Will these action items prevent recurrence of the problem?
Is the implementation order clear and reasonable?
How will the effects of the countermeasures be verified?
VI. Effect Confirmation
How will you measure the effectiveness of the countermeasure?
Does the check item align with the previous goal statement?
Has actual performance moved in line with the goal statement?
If performance has not improved, then why? What was missed?
What is the goal or target? Is this clear?
What, specifically, is to be accomplished?
How will this goal be measured or evaluated?
What will improve, by how much, and when? How do you know?
IV. Root Cause Analysis
VII. Follow Up Actions
Is the analysis comprehensive at a broad level?
Is the analysis detailed enough and did it probe deeply enough on the right issues?
Is there evidence of proper five-whys thinking about the true cause?
Has cause and effect been demonstrated or linked in some manner?
Are all the relevant factors considered (human, machine, material, method, environment,
measurement, and so on)?
What is necessary to prevent recurrence of the problem?
What remains to be accomplished?
What other parts of the organization need to be informed of this result?
How will this be standardized and communicated?
I. Background
V. Countermeasures
II. Current Conditions
VI. Effect Confirmation
III. Goals/Targets
IV. Root Cause Analysis
VII. Follow Up Actions

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