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
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.