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Winner of a 2009 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Prize. Notably flexible and brief, the A3 report has proven to be a key tool In Toyota's successful move toward organizational efficiency, effectiveness, and improvement, especially within its engineering and R&D organizations. The power of the A3 report, however, derives not from the report itself, but rather from the development of the culture and mindset required for the implementation of the A3 system. In other words, A3 reports are not just an end product but are evidence of a powerful set of dynamics that is referred to as A3 Thinking. In Understanding A3 Thinking, the authors first show that the A3 report is an effective tool when it is implemented in conjunction with a PDCA-based management philosophy. Toyota views A3 Reports as just one piece in their PDCA management approach. Second, the authors show that the process leading to the development and management of A3 reports is at least as important as the reports themselves, because of the deep learning and professional development that occurs in the process. And finally, the authors provide a number of examples as well as some very practical advice on how to write and review A3 reports.
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Table of Contents

Introduction A Basis for Managerial Effectiveness PDCA: Heart of the Toyota Way What Don't We Get? A System to Support PDCA Management 3A Thinking Seven Elements of 3A Thinking Element 1 : Logical Thinking Process Element 2: Objectivity Element 3: Results and Process Element 4: Synthesis, Distillation, and Visualization Element 5: Alignment Element 6: Coherency within and Consistency Across Element 7: Systems Viewpoint Practical Problem Solving Grasping the Current Situation Identifying the Root Cause Devising Countermeasures and Visualizing the Future State Creating an Implementation Plan Creating a Follow-up Plan Discussing with Affected Parties Obtaining Approval Executing the Implementation and Follow-up Plans The Problem-Solving 3A Report Storyline of the Problem-Solving 3A Theme Background Current Condition and Problem Statement Goal Statement Root-Cause Analysis Countermeasures Check/Confirmation of Effect Follow-up Actions Total Effect Reviewing Problem-solving 3As Your Turn Part : Write an 3A Part : Critique Your 3A The Proposal 3A Report Storyline of the Proposal 3A Theme Background Current Condition Analysis and Proposal Plan Details Unresolved Issues (Optional) Implementation Schedule Total Effect Proposal 3A Example Proposal 3A Example Reviewing Proposal 3As Discuss with Peer Group or Advisor Discuss with Affected Parties Obtain Approval Your Turn Part : Write a Proposal 3A Part : Review Your 3A The Status 3A Report Storyline of the Status 3A Theme Background Current Condition Results Unresolved Issues/Follow-up Actions Total Effect Status 3A Example Discuss with a Peer Group or Advisor Your Turn Notes on Form and Style Form Style Graphics Understand Your Data Use the Best Graph for the Data Label Properly Use as Little Ink as Possible Let the Graphic Talk Tables Supporting Structures Standard Templates Where to Start Handwritten versus Computer-Generated 3As Coaching Approval Storage and Retrieval Conclusion PDCA and Managerial Effectiveness 3A Thinking Three Main Types Form and Style Final Advice About the Authors Appendix A: "Reducing Bill Drop Time" Problem-Solving 3A Report Appendix B: "Practical Problem Solving" Proposal 3A Report Each chapter concludes with a Summary & Endnotes

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