The PDCA (plan-do-check-act or plan-do-check-adjust) is a management method utilized within the A3 Model. It is a scientific method that aims to:
- Establish the desired result and propose a solution to achieve it (plan)
- Test the proposed solution and gather data regarding its effectiveness (do)
- Analyze the data gathered from the test and compare results to the desired outcome (check)
- Make adjustments to the solution based on the data from the “do” and “check” phases until the goal is achieved (act or adjust)
This article briefly discusses:
- Top 3 reasons to use A3 reports;
- When not to use an A3 report;
- Technology to assist in A3 reporting; and
- Free and customizable A3 report templates you can download.
Despite the abundance of problem-solving models (8D, 5 Whys, CAPA, etc), there are still compelling reasons for businesses to make A3 reports an integral part of their organization. Failing to do an A3 report where it is warranted could result in project blowouts, productivity loss, and process inefficiency.
It is a versatile problem-solving tool
A successful business is one that constantly strives to operate at maximum capacity. A3 reporting helps achieve this ideal by identifying issues, inefficiencies, and ambiguities in the business process, then coming up with possible solutions. Through careful analysis, collaboration, and critical thinking, the A3 model can adapt to almost any type of business or industry.
Integrating the PDCA Method into their operational framework helps businesses adapt to any challenges that could negatively affect their operations, e.g., new trends, competition, or a shift in the economic landscape.
To communicate across functions and keep stakeholders informed of issues/problems
Though not primarily designed to be a communication tool, an A3 Report can be used to inform different functions as well as stakeholders regarding operational issues and plans to resolve them. It’s especially effective since its one-page format includes only the most relevant details of the matter.
Aside from functioning as a problem-solving and reporting tool, the A3 model can also be used for business proposals and business planning.
A3 reports are flexible and effective in the hands of a capable team. However, some issues aren’t complex enough to necessitate an A3 or may be addressed better with alternative problem-solving models.
If a problem can easily be fixed with a simple, obvious solution
Using an A3 Report on something as simple as tightening a loose screw or updating an erroneous entry on a spreadsheet is unnecessary. A3 Reports should be reserved for complex issues that require careful analysis, critical thinking, and a team to resolve.
If the problem and proposed solutions are too complex to fit in one-page
A problem’s scale and its impact must be properly evaluated before a team decides to use A3 to solve it. In such instances where A3 will not suffice, other, more thorough problem-solving models such as 8D may be the better option.
The effectiveness of the A3 model relies heavily on the successful analysis and interpretation of data. Using a versatile data collection, analysis, and template-building app like iAuditor can help businesses reap the benefits of A3 reporting.
Convenient data collection
- Collect data from the field anytime with your phone or tablet, even while offline!
- Validate your findings with digital signatures.
- Save and secure your information with unlimited cloud storage.
Generate and share A3 reports instantly
- After completing the A3 report template, you can immediately generate a report to be shared with colleagues and stakeholders!
- Easily customize our pre-made A3 Report Templates to fit your business needs.
- Export your A3 report in a variety of formats including PDF, DOC, and CSV.
Manage teams easier
- Assign and track corrective actions to team members through a single app.
- Update assigned corrective actions from your mobile device and receive notifications in real-time!
- World-class 24/5 customer support to assist you with your iAuditor queries.
The Best A Report Templates
8D Report Template
An 8D report template is used to document a comprehensive root-cause analysis based on the 8 Disciplines of Problem-Solving popularized by the Ford Motor Company. 8D Teams can use this template to generate their 8D report after completion.
5 Whys Template
Use this 5 whys template to resolve the root cause of a problem so that your business teams can avoid encountering them again. Begin by clearly stating the problem and answer why the problem occurred until the root cause is discovered. To complete the 5 whys template, provide a solution to the root cause of the problem and create actions.
Root-cause Analysis Template
Use this root-cause analysis template to analyze a recurring problem and help eliminate the root causes. Begin by describing the issue and its impact. Next, list potential reasons why the issue happened and identify the root cause and take/attach photo evidence for verification. Provide a prevention strategy and recommend solutions before completing the RCA template with digital signatures.
CAPA Report Template
A CAPA Report form is designed to help identify, address, and prevent the occurence of regulatory and organizational non-conformance. This can be used by compliance officers when formulating a corrective action to resolve the issue, and a preventive action to lower the risk of its recurrence.
A kaizen report template is used by kaizen implementers to present changes in job tasks or processes after continuous improvement efforts. This kaizen report template has been designed to make it easier for employees and management to identify any of the 8 wastes and eliminate them for increased morale, productivity, and competitiveness.
An FMEA template aims to identify potential problems in a process, product or design and prevent their adverse effects on customers. Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of corrective actions with the use of this template.
A PPAP checklist is used by quality managers to comply with all customer specifications, manufacture conforming parts, and ship them as scheduled. This comprehensive PPAP checklist includes detailed questions for each of the 18 production part approval process guidelines—from design records to part submission warrant.
A DMAIC template is used by Six Sigma practitioners to perform the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology as a root-cause analysis to help identify process improvements.