When problem solving, staying in an organized systematic path is extremely important, otherwise new issues could arise. That’s why the Lean Six Sigma approach called A3 is so genius. Basically, the A3 process is a structured template for solving problems in a continuous matter.
The A3 approach is also known as SPS, which stands for Systematic Problem Solving. This approach is based on the principals of PDCA (Plan, Do Check, Act).
The reason for the A3 approach is to provide structure to problem-solving, and helps determine what caused the problem.
A3 Process of Problem Solving
Background: Select an issue you want to resolve. State how this issue impacts your business, your customers, and processes, and of course your bottom line or financials.
Problem Statement: Make a detailed statement of the issue. Quantify exact issue and define detailed specifics so that the impact of the issue is communicated to others.
Goal Statement: Make a goal statement and what you want to accomplish by taking on this A3 project. You can map out what exact goals you will accomplish. Include timeframe for accomplishing this goal.
Root Cause Analysis: Conduct a thorough analysis as to what might be causing this particular issue.
Countermeasures: These are the steps that you are going to take to make the necessary changes. Make sure you are addressing the root causes that you have found.
Develop the New Target State: Illustrate how you will address the root causes of the issue. You will use a diagram on how the newly proposed process will work. When communicating your countermeasures, make sure you note the projected or expected improvements.
Implementation Plan: This is your well-thought out workable plan. Include a list of actions that need to get done so that the countermeasures can take place and improvement can be obtained.
Follow-up Plan: This is to make sure that the target goal was met. Check on it at a regularly scheduled time to make sure the target has been met.
Discuss with Affected Parties: You must communicate all changes to those it affected and see how the progress has improved. Here is where concerns should be addressed if there are any.
Get Approval: Make sure everyone is on board with the new plan.
Implementation: Execute the new implementation plan.
Evaluate the Results: Measure the results and make sure you hit your goal if you haven’t hit it.
Your goal is to then repeat implementation plan until the goal is met.
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