An A3 Report is a Working Document

Assembly Magazine featured an impressive article authored by Austin Weber, titled "A3 Mistakes to Avoid," in a recent online edition. The piece quotes both Durward Sobek and Art Smalley (co-authors of a definitive book on the subject -- Understanding A3 Thinking: A Critical Component of Toyota's PDCA Management System) and Jamie Flinchbaugh.

A3 reports have gained much popularity during the past decade, and the rush to exploit their benefits has lead to misuse -- most notably, users treating the report as just another "form" to complete and file away. Essentially, the power of the A3 report derives not from the report itself, but rather from the development of the culture and mindset required for the systematic implementation of these reports. In addition, as Sobek points out, these reports should not be filled with excessive written narraration: "An A3 should contain lots of information displayed graphically."

Do you use A3 reports in your organization? Have they aided communication and problem solving?


Dean Bliss said...

We've had great luck using the A3 tool in our inpatient nursing units. The graphical nature, the quick action, and the collaborative nature of the process are particularly attractive.

Jamie Flinchbaugh said...

Thanks for including a mention of me in the article. I have more on A3s on my blog.


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