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A3 Problem Solving (Sample).pdf

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A3 PROBLEM SOLVING SAMPLE
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A3 Problem Solving: Applying Lean Thinking ?2012 Jamie F linbaugh, Le an Le ar ning Center Last publishe d on 2012-02-24 is is a Le anpub b o ok, for sale at: http://leanpub.com/a3problemsolving Le anpub helps author s to self-publish in-pr ogr ess eb o oks. W e call this ide a Le an Publishing. T o le ar n mor e ab out Le an Publishing, g o to: http://leanpub.com/manifesto T o le ar n mor e ab out Le anpub , g o to: http://leanpub.comContents What is A3? 1 Only inking Driv es Sustainable Chang e . . . 1 Origins of A3 inking Metho dolog y . . . . . . 1 D e?nition of Le an inking . . . . . . . . . . . 2 When to Use A3 6 When to Use A3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 What A3 is Not . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 A3 inking and Pe ople D e v elopment 10 Geing the Right inking and A ction . . . . . 10 is Concludes the Sample Cop y 15 Disclaimer and Cop y right . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Ab out the A uthor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 iWhat is A3? Only Thinking Drives Sustainable Change A3 is an impr o v ement pr o cess that applies le an thinking to pr oblem solving. It is simply a way to pr esent a r ep ort in a simple and str uctur e d way . Some call it A3 thinking but to b e cle ar , ther e is no su thing as A3 thinking— ther e is only le an thinking . A3 r ep orts ar e a waste-fr e e way for r ep ort w riting and communication. e imp ortant p oint is that the basic building blo s of an A3 r ep ort pr o vide a nice lile template for le an thinking. us, this to ol can b e helpful to any one who wants to le ar n and apply le an thinking to pr oblem solving, pr oje ct manag ement and a host of other impr o v ement pr o cesses. “By standardizing and making visible the pr ocess of identi- fying pr oblems and form ulating solutions, i ndi viduals and companies can execute to their ideal state.” Origins of A3 Thi nking Methodology A3 is the inter national standard name for the p ap er size 11″x17″. e concept was coine d b y T o y ota to describ e the pr o cess of g eing r ep ort-w riting do w n to one p ag e . T o T o y ota, this was just a for mat for str ucturing a r ep ort so 1What is A3? 2 that it could b e cle arly and consistently communicate d on one p ag e of p ap er , r e ducing the waste of r ep ort w riting and r ep ort r e ading. Be cause T o y ota was alway s applying le an thinking, and A3 r ep orts made that thinking visible , p e ople b eg an to se e it as a way to help other s to think le an. T o day , the concept, widely adopte d outside of T o y ota, g o es b e y ond r ep ort w riting. A3 is a combination of the one-p ag e r ep ort and the thinking pr o cess applie d to pr oblem solving. e A3 name stu. Figur e 1. A3 Pr oblem Solving Applying Le an inking De?nition of Lean Thinking e le an metho dolog y - the practice of fo cusing on the pr o cesses that cr e ate the value while eliminating those that cr e ate waste - has b e en mostly ab out to ols for many y e ar s.What is A3? 3 As br o ad kno wle d g e of le an b egins to matur e , mor e p e ople r e alize that b eing le an is also ab out applying le an thinking, principles, and b ehavior s - the cor e driv er s b ehind A3 - at an individual, te am, and or g anizational le v el to cr e ate a le an thinking cultur e . “Cr eating visible thinking is what is unique about the A3 pr ocess.” When e xtending the le an pr o cess to thinking, what do es waste-fr e e r ep orting and pr oblem solving lo ok lik e? T o b egin the pr o cess of thinking le aner , tak e a multi-p ag e r ep ort and condense it to A3 - the inter national standard for a p ap er size appr o ximately the same as 11”x17” p ap er . as y ou mo v e fr om the pr oblem to the solution, depict thr ough w riting, pictur es and diagram, the assumptions and the pr o cesses that y ou applie d to g et fr om p oint A to p oint B. A3 sho w s mor e of ho w y ou thought as y ou mo v e d fr om the pr oblem to the r e commendation, rather than just the data. As a r esult of r e v e aling the thought pr o cess, tw o things happ en. Fir st, when y our thinking pr o cess is transp ar ent, y ou can r e a agr e ement faster . Many ar guments and disagr e ements ab out r e commende d actions ar e actually disagr e ements ab out assumptions made ab out either the cur r ent r e ality and tar g et condition. If w e can’t mak e our assumptions visible , then the y can’t b e discusse d. Se cond, making the thinking visible enables co aing. Y ou can’t co a outcomes. If some one just sho w e d y ou that the y’v e faile d to ai e v e the outcome , y ou don’t kno w why unless y ou can se e their thought pr o cess.What is A3? 4 Le an success at comp anies to day is not hinder e d b y a la of to ols, nor the cap ability of the to ols the y hav e . What is r e ally b ehind comp anies that succe e d at sustaine d le an implementation i s the le v el of thinking driv en b y le an principles and r ules. inking is p o w erful in anging an or g anization. inking driv es b ehavior s. Behavior s driv e action. A ction driv es r esults. No to ol can ?x p o or thinking. T o illustrate this p oint, consider the k anban card, a major to ol in many le a n transfor mation e?orts since the 1980s. e concept is pr ey simple . A do wnstr e am pr o cess uses p arts fr om an upstr e am pr o cess. As e a p art is use d, a k anban card is r emo v e d and sent ba to the upstr e am pr o cess. When a pr e deter mine d numb er of cards accu- mulates at that upstr e am pr o cess, pr o duction r eplenishes the sto  use d b y the do w nstr e am pr o cess. No w let’s test the thinking. D o es the upstr e am pr o cess op erator lo ok at the do w nstr e am pr o cess as his customer? If the customer- supplier r elationship is not cle ar to b oth p arties, then ther e is no comp elling r e ason to ?ll that k anban. er e is mu gr e ater r e ason to stay busy pr o ducing whate v er is e asier . Is the k anban card a sugg estion, a r e quest or just a pie ce of p ap er? If the k anban card is a sugg estion, y ou g et one b ehavior . If it is a sp e ci?c r e quest, y ou g et a v er y di?er ent b ehavior . So a fundamental principle b ehind k anban is the obje ctiv e of e xplicitly linking a customer to a supplier thr ough a for mal r e quest. Without that obje ctiv e cle arly under sto o d, all y ou hav e is a pie ce of p ap er . Why is it so imp ortant to follo w that r e quest e x actly , e v en accepting do w ntime b e cause theWhat is A3? 5 op erator do esn’t hav e a r e quest? e conv entional answ er is that pr o ducing without that r e quest is o v er pr o duction that incr e ases inv entor y and g enerates waste . T r ue le an thinking se es b e y ond the waste to an e v en gr e ater r e ason. By not pr o ducing, y ou hav e e xp ose d a pr oblem that can b e eng ag e d as an opp ortunity to mak e the pr o cess e v en str ong er . So a fundamental principle is that k anban is not an inv entor y and material ?o w manag ement sy stem. It is a to ol for sy stematically e xp osing pr oblems in y our pr o cess as the y o ccur . A ang e in thinking pr o duces v er y di?er ent b ehavior s, and ultimately v er y di?er ent r esults. One lo ok at the k anban card in light of le an thinking helps those using it under stand ho w and why it w orks, b e cause the y se e it and under stand it as a r e quest, not a card. It is a metho d to conne ct a customer to a supplier . But most comp anies implementing k anban sy stems ar e not successful at g eing the user s to under stand ho w and why the to ol w orks. e most common e x cuse—it is to o hard for our p e ople to under stand—stands in stark contrast to the simple concept. Y ou can r e ad ab out the to ols and te niques of le an in any b o ok. Y ou can deleg ate the application and imple- mentation to just ab out any one . But y ou cannot succe e d without inter nalizing the principles of le an thr oughout all of manag ement, and using that thinking to guide the implementation, daily de cision making, pr oblem solving, managing and co aing.When to Use A3 A3 is app lie d in a wide rang e of applications. But it’s r e ally for p e ople who hav e some op en-ende dness in their pr oblem-solving options. If the pr oblem-solving options ar e nar r o w and contr olle d, then op ening up and e xploring the thought pr o cess and assumptions within the pr oblem is not ne cessarily pr o ductiv e . A3 can b e use d for daily small pr oblems su as “why did the e quipment fail?” b y te nicians or sup er visor s. It can also b e use d on strategic pr oblems b y e x e cutiv es su as “why did our mark et shar e dr op?” ese questions r epr esent the thought pr o cess b ehind the r e actions fr om manag er s mor e oen than the w ords actu- ally sp ok en. D o es that thought pr o cess help y ou impr o v e? D o es it help them? Inste ad of fo cusing on the “who ” of the pr oblem, let’s fo cus on the “why” of the pr oblem. One or g anization has tur ne d the A3 into a ‘Counseling’ A3. Its pur p ose is to addr ess the pr oblem b ehind an emplo y e e er r or . Inste ad of blaming the individual, the y help the individual think thr ough the er r or and ?gur e out ho w to ?x it. Counseling A3 g o es fr om blame to pr o cess impr o v ement and le ar ning. When applying A3, or g anizational or p er sonal issues oen b e come g o o d starting p oints as other pr oblem-solving to ols ar e less e?e ctiv e at addr essing su pr oblems. Consider w orking with a p artner or te am rather than individually . With a te am y ou ne e d to facilitate oen and, if y ou ar e 6When to Use A3 7 just le ar ning, then having to facilitate do es not allo w for a lot of le ar ning. And individually y ou g et no fe e dba. It’s e asier to le ar n while talking it out and, unless y ou’r e g o o d at talking to y our self, having a p artner is a gr e at help . If y ou use another pr oblem solving metho d — ?shb one di- agrams, T RIZ, Six Sigma DMAIC, 5 why s, K epner T r eg o e , 8D , and so forth — it can still ?t within the underlying thought pr o cess of A3 and the r ep ort w riting asp e ct of A3. e k e y in this ?t is cle arly and succinctly communicating whate v er me ans y ou use d to g et to the r o ot cause thr ough the cur r ent r e ality se ction of the A3. When to Use A3When to Use A3 8 What A3 is Not ? A r ese ar  pr oje ct. Or g anizations sp end lots of time g enerating and r e w riting r ep orts while not b eing cle ar ab out what value is b eing deliv er e d. ? One-size ?ts all. er e is no one standard A3 for mat and no magic for mula. T o y ota has many . ? A debate ab out the for m. One comp any sp ent six months dialoguing, debating and iterating what their for m should b e . “e most com mon mistake is tr eating the A3 as a form, instead of a pr ocess.” e for m has no magic in it. When w e fo cus on the template , w e solv e pr oblems the same way w e alway s hav e , and then tr y to ?ll out the for m aer the fact. Not only do es this not impr o v e our pr oblem-solving cap abilities, but it actually cr e ates waste . “e second mistake is using the pr ocess linearly , going fr om A to B.” D o it in p encil, b oth literally and ?gurativ ely . Be willing to r e do y our w ork. As y ou g o for ward in y our pr o cess y ou should b e le ar ning, whi me ans y ou should b e g oing ba to mo dify base d on y our le ar nings. In my co aing, I ?nd that half of the time w e ne e d to r e w ork the original pr oblem statement.When to Use A3 9 “A nd third, this is not an independent pr oject.” It is oen mu b eer as a collab orativ e pr o cess than a solo one . Eng ag e p e ople , g et input, de v elop high agr e ement, and mo v e for ward as a te am. Ultimately , the pr o cess and solution should b e integrate d at an or g anizational le v el.A3 Thinking and People Development Getting the Right Thinking and Action T o optimize pr oblem solving and or g anizational e?e ctiv e- ness, the g o al is to de v elop p e ople to intuitiv ely use A3 thinking. Once an A3 mindset and cultur e is establishe d, enabling gr e ater collab oration and co aing, the mor e ef- fe ctiv e A3 pr oblem-solving appr o a can b e r e adily applie d thr oughout the or g anization. is eb o ok fo cuses on ho w to de v elop p e ople and the enabling envir onment for A3 thinking. T o de v elop A3 think er s, A3 principles, values and b ehavior s must b e inte- grate d into pr oblem-solving and or g anizational pr o cesses. “Fundamentally , faulty pr oblem solving do es not arise b e cause the to ols ar e bad; it is b e cause the b ehavior s and thought pr o cesses b eing use d ar e bad. Many of these to ols, for e x ample , will help y ou g et to the r o ot cause of a pr oblem, but if y ou don’t value taking the time to tr uly g et to the r o ot cause , then the to ol w on’t do y ou any g o o d. ” ? Cur r ent Pr oblem Solving/inking ? Common inking ? Standardizing and Simplifying Pr oblem Solving 10A3 inking and Pe ople D e v e lopment 11 Current Problem Solving/Thinking “If y ou do not get to act, what is the purpose of being her e?” Y ou le ar n for the pur p ose of action. Ho w do w e use A3 thinking to co a emplo y e es to g et the right thinking and action? Most of us le ar n to solv e pr oblems v er y e arly . It’s one of the ?r st skills y ou le ar n, but y ou le ar n it thr ough trial and er r or . It b e comes tacit kno wle dg e . And oen the pr oblem with tacit kno wle dg e is that w e cannot hold it up and e x amine it. It b e comes di?cult to impr o v e and y ou oen don’t e v en r e alize y ou ar e applying that kno wle dg e so y ou don’t r e cognize the ne e d to impr o v e it. Figur e 2. Infor mation F lo w A dmiing y ou ne e d to r e-le ar n pr oblem solving is lik e admiing y ou hav e to r e-le ar n br ushing y our te eth; it’sA3 inking and Pe ople D e v e lopment 12 that fundamental. For this r e ason, kno wle dg e of pr oblem- solving thinking that underlies all of these metho ds is g enerally less matur e than the t o ols themselv es. Common Thinking T o aie v e sustainable ang e , de cisions ne e d to b e made ar ound common principles. If y ou g et the common princi- ple right, y ou can send y our or g anization o? b e cause y ou kno w ho w the y ar e g oing to think and b ehav e ar ound that pr oblem. A3 is a pr o cess thr ough whi a te am can rally ar ound a common way of thinking and talking. An enabling cultur e and tr ue emplo y e e eng ag ement help to foster common thinking. If y ou want y our or g anization to b e consistent, it is ne v er a g o o d ide a to not tell y our entir e or g anization to start impr o ving stu?. It w ould r esult in aos. Sta? w ould mo v e in hundr e ds of di?er ent dir e c- tions. Individuals mak e vastly di?er ent de cisions under the same cir cumstances. Standardizing and Simplifying Problem Solving er e ar e many b ene?ts to standardizing and simplify- ing the pr o cess of capturing y our thinking. What ques- tions w er e ask e d in the
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