How are structured problem-solving and real-time data collection related?

If you find a problem on your shop-floor, for example, your OEE is below the objective or your setup time is too high, you can solve it with the help of a structured problem-solving tool.

There are several known tools for this, such as the A3, the 8D, and D.M.A.I.C., among others.

Let’s focus on explaining the 9 steps of the A3 methodology:


Step 1 – Clarify the problem

Here you have to define what’s your issue and what do you want to solve. Use this step to define your scope.

Example: Increase OEE


Step 2 – Check the current state

Gather as much data as you can. A data-driven  analysis is the only one that can help you to reach the right conclusions. Go to the shop-floor, take pictures, create spaghetti diagrams, analyze  past data, create Pareto charts. Also, set up KPIs to define the current state analysis.


Step 3 – Define your target state

Define the target state for those KPIs which you’ve previously defined. Now you know the gap you have to close.


Step 4 – Analyze causes

Ask yourself and your team “Why does this gap exist, why are we not in our target state

yet?”. Start brainstorming about those causes. You may use the 5 Why’s technique or the

Fishbone diagram to help you with that.


Step 5 – Design solutions

Once you have identified the causes, you can start designing

possible solutions for those causes.


Step 6 – Test Solutions

After having the solutions designed, you can test them to understand if they will have the

desired effect.


Step 7 – Follow-up on your implementation plan


Step 8 – Analyze your KPIs 

To find out if the gap is closing, meaning your countermeasures

are being effective.


Step 9 – Lessons learned

Write down what went well and what could have been better.

The most important tip regarding structured problem-solving tools is: follow the steps, respect the methodology. If you are checking the current state, don’t start trying to find causes. If you are analyzing causes, don’t jump into solutions. Having the relevant data at hand will be quite helpful in every step.


Prodsmart can help you gather the relevant data you need to start your problem-solving workshops. Contact us to know more.