Why do I say this? Simple.
It’s Just a Piece of Paper
The A3 report, in and of itself, is nothing more than a piece of paper.
But, for some reason, many people believe that the A3 report – by itself – will magically solve problems on its own.
I’ve even heard people say things like, “Yeah, my boss wants me to do an A3 in order to solve this problem.”
A3s Don’t Solve Problems
Just like the horse must come before the cart… PDCA, or some other form of critical thinking, must come before the A3 report.
The A3 Report is Powerful
Now, to be sure, the A3 report is one of the best reporting tools available to continuous improvement practitioners since teams are able to tell their problem-solving story on a single piece of paper.
The A3 report can also add tremendous value for other “non problem solving” situations such as when a team uses it to share the thinking and rationale of why they believe adding 3 associates to the night-shift makes business sense.
I’ve also seen A3s used to share the analysis done in order to justify capital expenditures.
In other words, the A3 report can be an amazing story-telling vehicle when properly leveraged by a team of critical thinkers.
As usual, there have been some awesome comments to this article. Thank you for this!
And, upon reflection, one thing I wanted to stress is that the A3 report, or document, or whatever you prefer to call it isn’t written after the PDCA or problem solving process is complete like a traditional PowerPoint slide deck may be prepared to report out on a kaizen event.
Instead, the A3 most definitely grows and develops during the PDCA, or other critical thinking, process.
But, to be clear, the power isn’t found in the A3… instead the power comes from the collaborative efforts of the team that happens to be documenting their improvement journey using an A3.
Do you agree?
Do you agree with me? Have you seen people struggle with the use of A3s since they believed this particular sized paper wielded magic powers all by itself?