To A3 or Not to A3 (Lean.org)

Article by Norbert Majerus: Most engineers [and healthcare professionals] like structure, process, and standardized forms; especially as a way of applying order when situations seem to be losing theirs. It is this element of standardization that many find appealing —confidence and comfort amid familiarity. Some people also like “one-size-fits-all” tools but they are not always happy with the fit.

When we first learned and implemented six sigma in Goodyear’s R&D function, I tried to awkwardly force the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) process onto any problem I confronted. I see the same thing happening today with the use of A3s, leaving many dissatisfied and abandoning the problem-solving approach. Many people at Goodyear walked away from the DMAIC process, pointing out the waste and misdirection of trying to put every problem on a common DMAIC denominator, and then fell into the same frustrating habits of forcing A3s.

Not every tool is a hammer, and not every problem is a nail. Not every situation warrants the use of an A3.

Read the full article at Lean Enterprise Institute here.

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