Quality Progress - January 2016 - (Page 37)
BACK TO BASICS
BY ALBERTO AYULO
Breaking It Down
Dissecting the problem-solving A3 report
A3 THINKING is based on the plan-do-
a completed problem-solving A3 in its
check-act cycle. This powerful way of think-
entirety using the major phase inspection
team takes the root cause from Block 4
ing is transcribed on a piece of paper (the
process for a U-2 aircraft as an example.
and assigns specific countermeasures. The
A3 report) a team of employees can use to
The process is comprised of eight blocks,
countermeasures should only specifically
produce a desired outcome for a proposed
the first of which is illustrated in Figure 1.
address the root cause and, in theory,
process. The A3 report is displayed on
Remember there are an infinite number of
should solve the problem identified in
ledger-sized paper (11 x 17 inches) and is
tools you can use throughout this process
Block 1. The completed fifth block is
broken into different sections, each clearly
to populate each block:
populated with any tool that will outline the
labeled and arranged in a logical flow.
The A3 report can be used for problem
1. Clarify and validate the problem.
The team typically starts with a perceived
5. Develop countermeasures. The
6. See countermeasures through.
solving, but there also are two other ways
problem and uses data (quantitative, if
The team tracks the countermeasures
of using it: a proposal A3 report and a story-
possible) to validate whether it is, in fact, a
from Block 5 and ensures each one is ac-
board A3 report. Each report has a slightly
problem. The completed first block is popu-
complished. The completed sixth block is
different focus, and the experience level
lated with a problem statement and data to
populated with the tool used in Block 5 to
of those facilitating the initiative may vary,
validate it (Figure 1).
outline the countermeasures and updated
but the foundation behind each A3 will not
2. Break down the problem and identify performance gaps. Next, the team
as each is accomplished.
7. Confirm results and process.
begins to dissect the problem statement
Depending on the course of action, the
Blocks to success
from Block 1 and determines the area of
team begins to track the results as counter-
Similar to the define, measure, analyze,
focus. This is done using targeted data to
measures are accomplished. After all are
improve and control method, the problem-
find specific focus areas that break down
completed, the team will use the data from
solving A3 has a specified path the user
the larger problem into bite-sized pieces.
Block 1 to determine if the countermeasures
must follow from beginning to end. Online
The completed second block is populated
from Block 5 are improving the process. The
Figure 1, found on this article's webpage
with data determining a focus area.
completed seventh block is populated with
at www.qualityprogress.com, shows
Block 1 of A3 report /
3. Set an improvement target. The
team determines what
continued data from Block 1.
8. Standardize successful processes.
success will look like. The
The team will standardize process only af-
1. Clarify and validate the problem.
improvement target, or
ter confirming successful results validated
The U-2 major phase inspection is averaging 15 days,
exceeding the 13-day inspection target, and cannot efficiently
sustain worldwide U-2 aircraft operational requirements.
goal, must be relative to the
in Block 7. The completed eighth block is
problem statement in Block
populated with tasks that were implement-
1. The completed third
ed to standardize process.
U-2 major phase inspection days
Sept. 10, 2008 - Feb. 27, 2009
block is populated with an
4. Determine root
Actual O&M days
causes. Using the focus
As with any other framework, repeated
use of the A3 report is the fastest formula to
success, as each experience brings a different outlook and a better understanding. QP
areas from Block 2, the
team determines the root
causes. The completed
fourth block is populated
using root cause analysis
Average: 15 Trend = Up
O&M = operations and maintenance
tools and highlights the
determined root cause.
ALBERTO AYULO is the regional
continuous improvement manager for
the West Region of Johnson Controls
in Tempe, AZ. He has a master's
degree in HR management from
Webster University in St. Louis. Ayulo
is an ASQ-certified lean Six Sigma
Black Belt and Project Management
Institute-certified project management professional.
January 2016 * QP 37
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - January 2016
According to Plan
Use Your Head
Stakeholder Management 101
All About Data
Eight Simple Steps
Which Six Sigma Metric Should I Use?
Turning ‘Who’ Into ‘How’
In the Beginning
Outputs and Outcomes
That’s So Random—Or Is It?
Improving a System
Putting It All on the Table
Know the Drill
It’s Fun To Work With an F-M-E-A
Solve Problems With Open Communication
Tell Me About It
Separate the Vital Few From the Trivial Many
To DMAIC or Not to DMAIC?
Breaking It Down
1 + 1 = Zero Defects
Curve Your Enthusiasm
Make a Choice
What Is a Fault Tree Analysis?
Successful Relationship Diagrams
The Benefits of PDCA
Return on Investment
The Art of Root Cause Analysis
Why Ask Why?
Get to the Root of It
Checks and Balances
Clearing SPC Hurdles
Supplier Selection and Maintenance
Building a Quality Team
Plan Experiments to Prevent Problems
Quality Progress - January 2016