Reader Question on A3 Reports & Six Sigma DMAIC Framework

Here is a reader question for Professor Sobek:

Hello Dr. Sobek-

I have been tasked with developing and A3 Training and rollout program for my company. We have a need for a common communication and problem solving tool and to me A3’s are a perfect solution because of the thinking behind them. We need to foster a more rational and logical approach to problem solving.

Several of my colleagues think the A3 should be in DMAIC format vs. PDCA. What are your thoughts on how DMAIC fits within PDCA? To me DMAIC is just the Motorola coined version of the scientific method and PDCA is more fundamental. I have tried to build a case for PDCA as we are not doing Six Sigma here nor do we have any plans for rollout in the near future.

I would appreciate any thoughts on the matter.

Best Regards,

Professor Sobek’s response: Continue reading Reader Question on A3 Reports & Six Sigma DMAIC Framework

User Feedback on A3 Reports

Professor Sobek received a nice message from a person he corresponded with over a year ago regarding A3 Reports. With permission we decided to post the summary e-mail about the personal experiences of using the A3 model with some of his clients. Continue reading User Feedback on A3 Reports

Recent Toyota QC Circle Example

I recently ran across an example of a QC Circle presentation from Toyota Motor Corporation. This was one of the award winning presentations at the corporate level that came from my former engine plant. Things have changed since I left the company! When I worked for Toyota QC Circle presentations were still being done either on flip charts or on overhead projectors. Today of course laptops have been a presence in the work site for quite some time and this technology has influenced how presentations are made. Things have apparently gotten a lot fancier? Continue reading Recent Toyota QC Circle Example

Handbook for TQM & QC Circles

Isao Kato is the retired manager for the old Education and Training Division of Toyota Motor Corporation. I spent some time interviewing Mr. Kato when Professor Sobek and I set out to draft A3 Thinking. In particular I was curious about some of the intellectual roots of A3 Reports inside Toyota. As I learned in discussion with Mr. Kato there is no one single item that lead to the development of A3 Reports inside the company. The reports were derived from a mix of the scientific method, policy delpoyment, QC Circles, and problem solving activities. Mix in Taiichi Ohno’s well known aversion to reading reports and you wind up with a one page framework for presenting ideas in a structured efficient manner. Continue reading Handbook for TQM & QC Circles

A3 Thinking Review – Journal Product Innovation Management

Here is a recent review of A3 Thinking by the Journal of Product Innovation and Management.

Click here for a link to the review

There are several books reviewed in this edition of the journal. The A3 Thinking review begins on page 3 of the referenced pdf file.