Problem Solving is the foundation of the Lean office. Continually improving requires continually solving problems - whether these are technical or recurring day-to-day problems. As a Lean tool, A3 reporting addresses the root causes of problems that arise every day at work. When used properly, the PDCA-A3 process dramatically increases the probability of success. Leading companies, such as Toyota, use the PDCA-A3 report to train their employees in a proven and structured problem-solving approach. This 3-day (22 hours) course introduces participants to problem-solving frameworks, tools, and techniques, and explores their practical application to common office problems. 

The training is designed to:

Provide participants with the understanding and the means for applying the A3 process to drive office improvements. Participants will develop problem-solving skills to reinforce the application of the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) methodology through practical application.

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • • Learn to identify, classify and define problems
    • Be able to analyze and prioritize problems, symptoms and root causes
    • Match the right problem-solving process to the problem
    • Use a variety of proven problem-solving models, tools and techniques
    • “Frame” a problem to gain support and buy in from others in the organization.
    • Understand how the A3 process works (PDCA).
    • Create an A3 problem report format to “tell the story” of the problem and to guide and structure the problem solving activity.
    • Use root cause analysis tools
    • Develop countermeasures
    • Develop implementation plans

Course Outline/Components

A. Lean Overview
B. Introduction To PDCA and A3 Reports
C. PDCA – 8 Steps To Problem Solving And A3 Reporting
     a. Problem Statement
     b. Casus and Effect Analysis
     c. Roost Causes and Countermeasures
     d. Action Plan
     e. Results and Follow-up
     f. Standardize & Train
     g. Recognize/Share Achievement


Knowledge of the following concepts:

  • Lean Basics
  • Functional (swim lane) process mapping
  • Value Stream Mapping
  • PDCA
  • A-3 Reporting
  • Cause & Effect Diagrams
  • Affinity Diagrams
  • Radar & Relationship Diagrams
  • Root Cause Analysis

Recommended Reading

  • Understanding A3 Thinking, Durward K Sobek II, Art Smalley, CRC Press, N.Y, N. Y., 2008
  • Managing to Learn, John Shook, LEI, MA, 2008
  • Reference: The Memory Jogger II, Michael Brassard, Diane Ritter, GOAL/QPC, Salem, NH., 1994