The АЗ Workbook : Unlock Your Problem-Solving Mind by Daniel D. Matthews pdf
First and foremost, A3 is a format developed by Toyota for telling the story of improvement. The A3 has two basic functions, one as a method for making proposals and the other as a means of reporting on the approved actions as outlined in the A3 proposal.
In actuality, the A3 format earns its name from the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) designation for paper measuring 297 by 420 millimeters. This is the paper size that has become the standard by which Toyota communicates continuous improvement projects.
The A3 paper size used at Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan measures 297 by 420 millimeters (or 11.793 by 16.535 inches). This paper standard is used in just about every country in the world other than the United States. In the United States, paper size is based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) paper standard (Table 1.1 compares ANSI and ISO paper sizes).
ANSI В (11 by 17 inches) is the closest match to the ISO A3 paper size and therefore is commonly referred to as A3 by Lean practitioners and those familiar with Toyota’s A3 format. Because ANSI В Problem Solving does not roll off the tongue as eloquently as A3 Problem Solving, I will continue to use the term “АЗ” throughout this book. At Toyota in North America, the Japanese coordinators continue to use ISO A3 paper. ISO A3 paper provides an additional 6 square inches of space for telling the story of improvement.
The goal is for you to be able to communicate your proposal or problem on a single sheet of paper. ANSI В paper and the A3 Problem Solving process will make it possible for you to achieve this goal.
The idea behind the A3 is simple: communicate your proposed idea on a single sheet of paper—no more and no less. In a Lean organization where everyone has multiple functions, there is little time for reading reams of data to understand a particular problem or situation. The A3 effectively condenses large amounts of data into an easy-to-read and understand format. By keeping it simple, you are less likely to lose the attention of the reader and possibly their support.
Although you do not need to create an A3 for every situation, it is a good idea to use the format on a regular basis. The more you use it, the more it will become a natural part of how you approach problem situations. In your daily work, you will encounter many situations requiring action. Not all situations will require the creation of an A3, but the thought process can be used at any time.
There are several documented benefits to using the A3 Problem-Solving approach, as summarized below:
■ Provides a methodical approach to problem solving
■ Provides a succinct format for presenting or reporting facts to others
■ Documents a trail that others can follow and use to understand the problem solver’s actions and results
■ Provides a common language and method within an organization
■ Creates a culture conducive to sustaining Lean Manufacturing concepts
■ Provides a foundation and lays the groundwork for future change