• Guide: A3 Problem Solving

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is an experienced continuous improvement manager with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. With more than ten years of experience applying his skills across various industries, Daniel specializes in optimizing processes and improving efficiency. His approach combines practical experience with a deep understanding of business fundamentals to drive meaningful change.

  • Last Updated: June 13, 2023
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Problem-solving is one of the key tools a successful business needs to structure improvements and one I have been using to solve problems in a structured way in my career at a range of businesses over the years. When there is a problem in business that is leading to increased costs, waste , quality issues, etc., it is necessary to address these problems. A3 structured problem solving is a Lean Six Sigma methodology that has been designed and developed to support continuous improvement and solve complex business problems in a logical and structured process. 

The guide will give you a full understanding of what A3 Problem solving is and a breakdown of all the steps of how to apply it within your business with an example of where I have made improvements with it previously.

Table of Contents

Importance of a3 in lean management.

The A3 problem-solving method is a key tool in Lean Six Sigma and continuous improvement in business, and in my experience, it is often the standard approach all improvement activities must follow and is particularly popular in the automotive industry. This is because of the following:

Focus on Root Causes : Rather than applying a quick fix to a problem or jumping to conclusions and solutionizing, A3 requires gaining a deep understanding of the root causes of the problem. By addressing these root causes, the chances of recurrence is reduced.

Standardization : With a consistent format, the A3 process ensures that problems are approached in a standardized way, regardless of the team or department. This standardization creates a common language and understanding across the organization and ensures all problems are addressed to the same standard and approach.

Team Involvement : An A3 isn’t an individual process. It requires a cross-functional team to work together on problem-solving, ensuring that a range of perspectives and expertise is considered. This collective approach builds a stronger understanding of the problem and ensures that solutions are well-rounded and robust.

Visual Storytelling : The A3 report serves as a visual storyboard, making it easier for stakeholders at all levels to understand the problem, the analysis, and the countermeasures. This visualization enhances communication and drives alignment.

The 6 Steps of A3 Problem Solving (With Real Example)

The A3 problem-solving process can initially seem difficult if you have never done one before and particularly if you have never been a team member in one. To help you with this we will break down the 6 steps into manageable activities, followed by a real-life example to help you apply this method within your business.

As a side note, the A3 problem-solving process was actually one of the first Lean Six Sigma tools I learned to use three weeks into my continuous improvement career after being thrown into the deep end due to resource availability, so I can understand how difficult it can be to understand. 

Step 1: Describe the problem

Problem description.

The problem description is an important first step in the process as it ensures a common understanding with the team of what the issue is that needs to be addressed. This can be done by using a technique called the 5W1H Is/Is Not method to help gain a clear understanding of the problem. 

To understand the 5W1H Is/Is Not the Process, check out our guide for details of that technique. However, in short, it’s about asking key questions about the problem, for example, “What IS the problem?” and “What IS NOT the problem?”

Let’s say you have been asked to look into a problem where “Machine downtime on the automotive assembly line has increased by 30% over the past three months, leading to production delays and increased costs.”

An example of a 5W1H Is/Is Not on this may result in the following output:

 Based on this we can create a clear problem description as the focus of the project that give the team a clear and common understanding of the issue looking to be resolved in the next steps of the process. The problem description could then be written as:

“Over the past three months, machine downtime on Automotive Assembly Line No.3 has increased by 30%. This has predominantly affected the assembly line workers and leads, leading to production delays and higher labour costs. “

Current Condition

Next is demonstrating the current condition and demonstrating the impact on the business. This can often be done with data and charts to back up the problem that might show trends or changes in outputs.

This might look something like the below and demonstrate a good baseline for confirming the improvement at the end of the A3

Containment Actions

Next is containment actions. Since you have identified a problem, there is likely an impact on the business or the customer. As a team, you should consider what can be done to limit or eliminate this problem in the short term. Remember this is just a containment action and should not be seen as a long-term fix. 

In our situation we decided to “Implement temporary overtime shifts to meet production goals, leading to an increase in labor costs.”

At this stage, the A3 should look similar to the one below; you can use charts and graphics to represent the current state as well if they fit within the limit area. Remember, we must include the content of the A3 within the 1-page A3 Document.

Step 2: Set the A3 Goals

The next step of the A3 is to, as a team, set the goal for the project. As we have a clear understanding of the current condition of the problem, we can use that as our baseline for improvement and set a realistic target for improvement. 

A suggested method for setting the Target condition would be to use the SMART Target method.

If you are not familiar with SMART Targets , read our guide; it will cover the topic in much more detail. In short, a SMART target creates a goal statement that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. 

By doing this you make it very clear what the goal of the project is, how it will be measured, it is something that can be achieved, relevant to the needs of the business and has a deadline for when results need to be seen.

For our A3 we decided that the goal would be “Our goal is to achieve at least a 20% reduction in machine downtime on Automotive Assembly Line No.3, lowering it from 90 minutes to no more than 72 minutes per day per machine, within the next 60 days. This reduction is crucial for increasing productivity and reducing labour costs, aligning with our overall business objectives.”

I also recommend using charts in this section to visualize the benefit or improvement to ensure you have stakeholder and sponsor support. Visuals are much easier and faster for people to understand.

At this point, your A3 might look something like the one below, with the first 1/4 or section complete. The next step is to move on to the root cause analysis to get to the root of the problem and ensure the improvement does not focus on addressing the symptoms of the problem.

Step 3: Root Cause Analysis

Root cause analysis is the next step in the process, often referred to as gap analysis, as this step focuses on how to get to the goal condition from the current condition.

Tip: If at this point you find the team going off-topic and focusing on other issues, Ask the question, “Is this preventing us from hitting our goal statement?”  I have found this very useful for keeping on track in my time as an A3 facilitator.

For root cause analysis, a couple of key tools are usually used: a fishbone diagram and a five-why Analysis . Again, we won’t go into the full details of these tools within this guide, as they have been covered in extensive detail in their own guides.

But the aim at this point is as a team, to brainstorm what is preventing us from achieving our target condition. This is done by allowing all members of the team to input the reasons they think it is not being achieved. These inputs are often written on sticky notes and placed on the fishbone diagram. Following this, you may have results similar to the ones below.  Note: it is important that the inputs are specific so they can be understood. e.g. “Calibration” alone is not specific to how it’s causing the problem; specify it with “Calibration: Inaccurate measurements affecting machine settings.”

After the fishbone diagram has been populated and the team has exhausted all ideas, the team should then vote on the most likely cause to explore with a 5 Whys analysis. This is done because, due to resource limitations, it is unlikely all of the suggestions can be explored and actioned.

In this situation the team decided the “lack of preventative machines: machines not being serviced regularly” was the cause of increased downtime. This was explored with the 5 Whys to get to the root cause of why Assembly Line 3 did not have preventative maintenance implemented.

The result of this root cause analysis can be seen below, and you may end up with more ideas on the fishbone, as generally there are a lot of ideas generated by a diverse team during brainstorming.

Step 4: Solutions and Corrective Actions

Now that we understand what the root cause of the problem is, we need to address it with solutions and corrective actions. Again, as a team, consider the root cause of the problem and discuss what actions need to be taken by the team, who will do them, and when they will be done. The result should be an action plan, for example, like the one below:

This action plan needs to be carried out and implemented.

The result of this section will likely just be an action list and look like the below section.

Step 5: Validate Solution and Standardize

Within step 5 it is time to collect data to validate and confirm the actions that have been implemented resulting in solving the problem and meeting the target state of the problem. This is done by continuing to collect data that demonstrates the problem in the baseline to see if the problem is being reduced.

For example, below, the project team continued to collect Assembly Line 3 downtime data on a weekly basis. Initially, there was a steady reduction, likely due to the focus of the project on the problem, which had some impact. However, once the majority of the action was implemented, a huge drop in product downtime was seen, exceeding the target. This showed the actions have been successful

If, in the validation stage, you find that the improvement required is not being made, you should go back to step 3 and reconsider the root cause analysis with the team, pick another area to focus on, and create an action plan for that following the same steps.

Step 6: Preventive Actions and Lessons Learned

In step 6 after the confirmation of project success you should look at preventive actions and lessons learned to be shared from this project:

  • Preventive Action: The new preventive maintenance schedule will be standardized across all assembly lines. This will prevent other lines having similar issues and make further improvements
  • Lessons Learned: A formal review will be conducted to document the process, including challenges faced and how they were overcome, which will then be archived for future reference.

In our project, this looked like the one below and will be used as a reference point in the future for similar issues. 

And that is the successful completion of a structured A3 problem-solving technique.

The complete A3 looks like the below image. Yours may slightly differ as the problem and information vary between projects.

Downloadable A3 Reporting Template

To support you with your A3 problem solving, you can download our free A3 problem solving report from the template section of the website.

Problem-solving is important in businesses, specifically when faced with increased costs or quality issues. A3 Structured Problem Solving, rooted in Lean Six Sigma, addresses complex business challenges systematically.

Originally from Toyota’s lean methodology, A3, named after the 11″x17″ paper size, visually maps problem-solving processes. This method ensures concise communication and focuses on crucial details, as illustrated by the provided example.

Emphasized in Lean Management, A3 stresses understanding root causes, standardization across teams, team collaboration, and visual representation for clarity. This tool is not only a guide to understanding the issue but is a standardized format ensuring robust solutions. Particularly for novices, breaking down its six steps, from problem description to setting A3 goals and root cause analysis, provides clarity. Visual aids further enhance comprehension and alignment across stakeholders.

  • Sobek II, D.K. and Jimmerson, C., 2004. A3 reports: tool for process improvement. In  IIE Annual Conference. Proceedings  (p. 1). Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE).
  • Matthews, D.D., 2018.  The A3 workbook: unlock your problem-solving mind . CRC Press.

Q: What is A3 problem solving?

A: A3 problem solving is a structured approach used to tackle complex problems and find effective solutions. It gets its name from the A3-sized paper that is typically used to document the problem-solving process.

Q: What are the key benefits of using A3 problem solving?

A: A3 problem solving provides several benefits, including improved communication, enhanced teamwork, better problem understanding, increased problem-solving effectiveness, and the development of a culture of continuous improvement.

Q: How does A3 problem solving differ from other problem-solving methods?

A: A3 problem solving emphasizes a systematic and structured approach, focusing on problem understanding, root cause analysis, and the development and implementation of countermeasures. It promotes a holistic view of the problem and encourages collaboration and learning throughout the process.

Q: What are the main steps in the A3 problem-solving process?

A: The A3 problem-solving process typically involves the following steps: problem identification and description, current condition analysis, goal setting, root cause analysis, countermeasure development, implementation planning, action plan execution, and follow-up and evaluation.

Q: What is the purpose of the problem identification and description step?

A: The problem identification and description step is crucial for clarifying the problem, its impact, and the desired outcome. It helps establish a common understanding among the team members and ensures everyone is working towards the same goal.

Daniel Croft is a seasoned continuous improvement manager with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With over 10 years of real-world application experience across diverse sectors, Daniel has a passion for optimizing processes and fostering a culture of efficiency. He's not just a practitioner but also an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge. Outside of his professional life, Daniel has a keen Investing, statistics and knowledge-sharing, which led him to create the website learnleansigma.com, a platform dedicated to Lean Six Sigma and process improvement insights.

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Home > A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 8 Standardise & Share

A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 8 Standardise & Share

1st September 2021 - Peter Watkins

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 8 Standardise & Share

This video blog will give you an inital overview to A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 8 Standardise & Share. This is the last of an 8 part mini series on the A3 8 Step Practical Problem Solving method. We have already covered:-

Step 1 – Problem Clarification

Step 2 – Containment

Step 3 – Problem Analysis & Breakdown

Step 4 – Target Setting

Step 5 – Root Cause

Step 6 – Countermeasures & Plan

Step 7 – Check Results

A3 Practical Problem Solving -  Visual Teach Poster

A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 8 Standardise & Share

The video is presented by Peter Watkins a Senior Coach at LEA , who explains the key points using a Visual Teach Poster.

The top half of our Teach Poster focuses on the Purpose, Process & People of Practical Problem Solving. This is covered in our FREE Skill Level 1 course on A3 Practical Problem Solving – ACCESS HERE

This blog series concentrates on the lower half of the Visual Teach Poster , which covers the 8 step method based on Toyota Business Practice.

Play the Video Overview for A3 Practical Problem Solving – Step 8 Standardise & Share

Video played best when watching in Full Screen Mode

Key Learning Points from the Video

How do you standardise & share .

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 8 Standardise & Share example

Example of Step 8- Standardise & Share

standards should be visible

Make Standards Visible

Create Standard Work so it can be used to establish the new base line from which you can build

Periodic process checks should be used to help maintain and review for problems

Standardise example

When developing a new standard or updating a current one we need to answer YES to 4 basic questions;

Is there a documented standard ?

Is the standard clear ?

Has the standard been trained ?

Is the standard being followed ?


We all should take Personal Responsibility to Share out Learnings from Problem Solving

A lot of hard work and effort has gone into solving a problem

If we don’t share with others it disrespect’s those who could benefit from the learnings.

If we don’t put effort into sharing we miss the opportunity to develop other peoples thinking way.

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 8 Standardise & Share

Where else can you share this learning which could benefit the organisation both internally & externally

Develop the organisation by accelerating the benefits from problem solving

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 8 Standardise & Share

How can we use the learning to develop people’s knowledge within the organisation

Need to think and plan carefully the why, what, who, where, when and how of sharing the Learnings (5W’s & 2H’s)

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 8 Standardise & Share

By solving problems we develop as an organisation becoming wiser & better at what it does

By developing people on real problems you will create a learning culture through teaching & coaching

practical problem solving a3

When completing any round of Problem Solving we should all ways ask ourselves :-

What did we Learn ?

Critical Self Reflection and or / Feedback is needed to improve your skills for next time

Continuous Improvement steps

Your work is a repeating cycle of Problem Solving. Start the next step towards your Ideal State or Ultimate Goal when you have solved one problem

Helpful hints on this step:-

A3 Practical Problem Solving - Step 8 Standardise & Share

After positive countermeasure implementation you need to ensure the changes made don’t revert back or cause other problems

Make sure responsibilities for creating / updating process standards are clear and done with the people doing the work

Make Work Standards Visible

Ensure management routines verify and check that standard are maintained and improved

Ensure YOU take personal responsibility to share out the learning from Problem Solving

It is key to developing others peoples thinking and problem solving capability

practical problem solving a3

Put time and real effort into sharing the learnings – develop a robust plan using 5ws & 2 h to ensure good thinking

Grow the organisations knowledge through sharing problems

Effective knowledge sharing using A3 ‘s will accelerate an organisations improvement culture

Make sure you have robustly defined methods & process for sharing

practical problem solving a3

Do some “Critical Self Reflection” and get feedback to improve your skills for next time

Think About :- What mistakes did you make ? How good were you at following the 8 Steps thinking way? How well did you work with other to solve problem?

learning leapers

It takes a lot of practice to understand and improve your skill of applying 8 step thinking way.

Remember this is about learning the 8 step scientific “thinking way” to solve a problem – don’t get caught in a A3 form “box filling” trap !

Related Courses and Recommended Reading

We have gathered together some links below for selected courses, books and articles if you want to learn more about A3 Problem Solving.

8 Step Practical Problem Solving Bundle – Teach Poster & Facilitation Guide

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What is A3 Problem Solving?

A3 Problem Solving

A3 problem solving is a Lean approach to reporting issues and presenting ways of addressing them. The simple method, developed by Toyota, bases on documenting a problem, together with its current outcome and a suggested change, on a single sheet of A3 paper (420x297mm), giving it the name. You can use it to make a process change proposal, report on project status, or solve a problem.

A3 takes from the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle . Though it appears to be a step-by-step process, the method tends to be used iteratively, with the problem and solution sections being cyclically updated.

Taiichi Ōno of Toyota was known for not appreciating reports longer than one page, which helped the proliferation of the A3 approach within the automotive giant’s offices. A3 is similar to the 8D report also widespread in the automotive industry, though typically for complaints management. Furthermore, the ability to quickly discern a problem and understand its solution is innate to Lean values.

Lean emphasizes visualization, with examples in value stream mapping and Kanban’s visual workflows. That made a single-page report presenting what is going on was a welcome addition to a Lean operation.

Through shared use of A3s to solve all problems and plan initiatives, companies can start to operate an A3 system thinking methodology: address difficulties, suggest change, innovate, and curate logical reasoning rooted in the current needs.

Why use the A3 approach to solving problems?

Lean provides a competitive advantage, strategic and operational benefits through its objective to increase the value delivered to the customer and to reduce waste. Engaging in a process that allows the team to find the correct, best solution in the shortest possible time is highly beneficial.

Understandably, some reports and proposals must contain extensive amounts of data, and they have their place in a business environment. But imagine the value and advantage that distilling this information to 1 page has. Consider how much faster decisions can be made based on that. Besides the time savings, the opportunity to use the systematic approach of PDCA supplements the problem-solving skills required to propose accurate solutions.

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. Dwight Eisenhower

It’s the act of planning that is important, as it spells out all known obstacles, visualizes the action plan, and helps to foresee potential outcomes and issues along the way. While documenting your problem on an A3 piece of paper may or may not yield benefits, the act of implementing A3 thinking is what makes the difference.

The benefits of using A3 thinking are:

  • Quicker problem solving through logical reasoning and application of a step-by-step, visual process. Demanding a root cause identification ensures that difficulties are dealt with, not just temporarily masked.
  • Easier planning thanks to the application of objective, critical thinking promoted by the A3’s structure.
  • Team development through repeated use of a structural tool to find root causes of problems and their best solutions. The use of one tool across all company levels also promotes cross-department collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Company growth A3 reports help maintain and keep company knowledge on record, helping to sustain good operating policies and build a strong growth culture rooted in solving a company’s actual problems, not abstract ideas.

How to create an A3 report?

A3 Report template

Step 1: The title

It should focus on the problem you are trying to solve and not the solution you want to convey. Examples of titles are: “Decrease Team Misunderstanding of Task Instructions” or “Reduce Customer Complaints with Product XYZ” .

Step 2: Background

According to the authors of “Understanding A3 Thinking: A Critical Component of Toyota’s PDCA Management System” , one of the main strengths of Toyota is that they place importance on understanding a problem. Rather than rush onto a solution, Toyota takes the time to precisely understand what is going on. The principle of going on a Gemba walk attests to this need to perceive problems first-hand.

The report’s background section conveys important related facts and how the problem aligns with the company’s strategic objectives. Presenting this right there on the page helps minimize the cost that a board of highly paid executives would need to spend looking at a problem, without a guarantee of them understanding it, nor coming up with the right solution. Consider this checklist for your background section:

  • Do I know the needs of my report’s audience?
  • Have I provided enough context?
  • Does what it presents align with the audience’s strategic goals?
  • Can the background be explained in 30 seconds?

Step 3: Current condition

A correct definition and a good understanding of the problem is your path to finding the right solution. That makes working on defining the current condition 90 % of the A3 effort.

The objective here is to make sure everyone is aware of the problem, whether the report documents it appropriately, and whether anyone questions the report’s findings. The use of graphs, charts, or other visual aids is beneficial.

Step 4: Goal

Your target - if you hit it, you know that your problem-solving effort has been a success. But you need to know what metrics will measure success and what the definition of success is. An example could be “reducing customer complaints by 15%, as measured by call center statistics” .

Step 5: The root cause

The focus of the root cause section should be to differentiate between facts and opinions regarding a problem’s cause and effect. You can include your findings from 5 Whys exercises , an Ishikawa diagram , or any other result of your RCA efforts . If the root cause is not defined correctly, the problem will likely resurface, causing waste and negating the Lean principles.

Step 6: Countermeasures

The countermeasures should be the corrective actions to take for the root cause of the problem to be resolved. If not possible - without a process overhaul - you can use containment actions instead to stop the issue from directly impacting the customer. It is OK to address complex problems iteratively, along with the values of continuous improvement .

The section may include a table of the problem causes, actions taken, action owners, and the achieved results.

Step 7: Effect confirmation

Since the A3 exercise bases on the PDCA cycle, this section of your report should show the effort you expended to confirm your findings. The proof that you have indeed solved the problem. For example, software engineers include samples that replicate the bugs and verify they are no longer present after a fix.

If the exercise has not taken place yet, i.e., when you’re presenting a plan to gain approval, you should outline what exercises you will conduct to check if the aim is successful.

Step 8: Follow up actions

The final section should include any other actions that you might want to consider. A principle worth adhering to here is the “Shitsuke - sustain” step of the 5S plan . Consider what you should do to ensure the benefits of this exercise are maintained. And could they possibly be translated to other areas of the company?

An A3 problem-solving report will help you deliver information in a way that provides instant value and can quickly reduce waste.

The most important thing to remember is that the act of Lean problem solving is more important than creating an A3 document that may contain no valid data and be simply a tick on some corporate checklist.

The same is true of all Lean methods and tools - their application alone will not make your company Lean. To truly implement Lean principles, your company culture, thinking, and planning all have to transform.

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Toyota Practical Problem Solving (PPS)—Introduction

practical problem solving a3

The Framework: PDCA

PDCA Circle

  • Plan is to identify and clarify the problem, including collecting data to understand the problem, setting a target, and doing a root-cause analysis.
  • Do is the development and implementation of countermeasures.
  • Check verifies whether these countermeasures were effective and the target has been reached.
  • Act is to re-do and further improve if the targets have not been met (yet). If it was successful, the Act part looks for other locations and applications where this solution could be used (e.g., if it was a smaller trial to be rolled out on a larger scale). Toyota also shares these yokoten on an internal website with other plants.


Toyota practical problem solving consists of the steps as listed below. Note that sometimes you have a step more if you decide to split a step into two.

  • Clarify the Problem
  • Break Down the Problem
  • Set a Target
  • Root-Cause Analysis
  • Develop Countermeasures and Implement
  • Monitor Process and Results
  • Standardize and Share

I will explain all these steps in much more detail, including the risks and difficulties, throughout this small series of posts. But before explaining these steps in detail, let me also show you the structure.

The Structure: A3

You probably know the structure already, or at least have heard of it: it is the famous A3 . This report, named after the standard A3 paper size, is commonly used at Toyota to tackle medium-sized problems. The A3 format was chosen because it was a good compromise between getting lots of data on a single page and also having a page small enough to be carried around on the shop floor. (And, as legend has it, A3 was supposedly the largest format to fit though a fax machine back in the day).

You will find all the steps from above again in this A3 format, an example of which is shown below, plus the obligatory header row with organizational data like title, date, and so on.

practical problem solving a3

The A3 is intended to be filled out in pencil (not pen), which makes changing content easy by using an eraser. Nowadays digital tools are also often used, although Toyota still does this mostly by hand using pencil on paper. Digital A3s are easier to share and look prettier, but they are harder to make and much more effort is needed in creating the A3. If you have ever created an A3 in Microsoft Excel, you know what I am talking about (as Excel is wholly unsuited for such graphical work…Ugh!)

practical problem solving a3

The “Do” part is actually quite small. If you understand the problem well, the solutions are rather easy. If you don’t understand the problem, you still may have a solution, but it will probably be an inferior one, if it works at all. Similarly, the Check and Act are also rather small.

In my experience, this is often done differently (and in my opinion worse) in many other Western companies. The focus is all on doing something, implementing some sort of solution. There is a bit of planning, but the vast majority of the effort goes into the “Do” part. The “Check” and “Act” parts are quite underdeveloped, if they exist at all.

A fancy presentation often substitutes for “Check,” resulting in many supposedly successful projects that did not improve much or even made it worse. Below I compared the normal representation of the PDCA circle having four equal quadrants with a PDCA circle based on the effort by Japanese or Toyota standards, and another PDCA circle based on the effort of (way too many) Western companies. I’ll let you be the judge on how this is in your company.

practical problem solving a3

Over and over again I guide people through the practical problem-solving process, and at every single step they jump to a solution. Let’s take a (fictitious) example for the steps of the problem solving, where every step is going right for the solution, ignoring the initial purpose of the step:

  • Clarify the Problem: Well, we need kanban!
  • Break Down the Problem: Okay, how many kanban do we need?
  • Set a Target: That’s how many kanban we need!
  • Root-Cause Analysis: Um… we did this already. It’s the lack of kanban…
  • Develop Countermeasures and Implement: Add kanban!
  • Monitor Process and Results: Do we have kanban now? Yes, we do. Case closed.
  • Standardize and Share: Hey, guys, use kanban!

practical problem solving a3

PS: Many thanks to the team from the Toyota Lean Management Centre at the Toyota UK Deeside engine plant in Wales, where I participated in their 5-day course. This course gave us a lot of access to the Toyota shop floor, and we spent hours on the shop floor looking at processes. In my view, this the only generally accessible course by Toyota that gives such a level of shop floor involvement.

6 thoughts on “Toyota Practical Problem Solving (PPS)—Introduction”

Great ‘ Flow ‘ and easy to understand , specially for many who have limited exposure. Thanks

Thank you for sharing. PDCA is applicable on the shop floor, logistics, service industry – wherever Problems are accurately defined

Nice blog. I’m working in an NHS Production System (NHSps) design based on the Toyota and VMI Production Systems. Do you have any experience in this area?

Hi Tom, sorry, I am completely unfamiliar with the NHS production system. if you mean the National Health Service in the UK, I do have a bit of experience with lean Hospital.

Might I suggest a dry erase marker and a whiteboard? After a few times when the document structure is mostly stable, you can add lines with a permanent marker to fix the format in place. That way you’re not creating extra friction for the process.

As for actual A3, that works best when the A3 paper and printers that can print it are already readily available. I’m sure you ran across more than one business where just about every single printer on site can’t print anything larger than A4 or A3 paper simply isn’t available due to A4 used for everything.

Hi Andrey, I am a great fan of erasable notes, and use dry erase whiteboard markers a lot myself. An A3 printer is also really helpful, but just as you said, not every (small) business has one. For example, I only have an A4 printer in my office…

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