Using A3: Toyota’s process improvement tool


Q: I’m interested in obtaining more information about A3, a process improvement tool created by Toyota.  Do you have any resources that explain the ways to use A3 or offer a template?

A: Thank you for contacting ASQ.  I found the following case studies regarding the use of A3 by other organizations that I think might be helpful:

Abstract: Toyota created A3 reports as a means of identifying and solving problems. These reports, printed on a single sheet of paper, are an effective tool because in addition to text, they contain pictures, diagrams, and charts to improve communication. However, no study has as yet been published explaining how to implement A3 reports in manufacturing. This study examines how A3 reports were implemented in a successful process improvement project in aircraft maintenance and repair operations. The duration of the improvement effort is approximately four weeks and is divided into four distinct phases. Additional research is suggested to demonstrate the effectiveness of A3 reports in reducing waste and creating value. 

Abstract: Todd Schneider, a certified public accountant turned executive champion for continuous improvement (CI), has helped integrate CI/lean into the operations of two companies. Lessons learned in his quality journey include the importance of training and communication and strategies for gaining upper management’s support. Reports on two CI/lean projects at Schneider’s current employer, Serigraph, show how the company has used Six Sigma to improve yield by more than 20 percent, saving $40,000 in the first 10 months, and improve vendor material management, saving $192,000 per year.  Provides a blank A3 form that was used by the company in the case study.

 There is also an inexpensive ASQ web-based training session available on A3 reports:

Learn the A3 report’s history, its benefits, and how to complete a successful form.  The course is ideal for anyone involved in a lean project, especially supervisors. 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need additional assistance.

Best regards,

ASQ Research Librarian
Milwaukee, WI

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