Today, I was looking for a decent A3 problem-solving template for an engineering friend who was planning on implementing a lean program for his company, and I came across a helpful article on ReliablePlant.com by Larry Rubrick and a cool A3 powerpoint presentation at PowerShow.com (don’t hit download, just hit play).
As many people may know, the A3 format originated around the type of paper (A3, 11″x17″ sheet) that the Toyota Production System engineers used to base their problem-solving templates – with the mindset that using only one piece of paper kept the thinking process focused and simple.
The A3 is said to be one of the main building blocks of Lean thinking. On the report, a problem is identified and then it follows a process of successive stages (including objectives or goals) by which it may be solved, or at least lessened.
I liked the examples Rubrick offers in his post, starting with the requisite Toyota A3, and moving on to others, including an A3 at Ford in the United States (which is meant for a typical copy paper size, 8.5 X11). Other A3s can end up getting more illustrative, but the gist of it is best represented in the simplicity of the TPS template, I think.