PART 6: Focus on “rapid learning cycles” * using A3 Thinking (and PDCA)
In Jeffrey Liker’s book “The Toyota Way” he describes implementing decisions rapidly as a key element of a Learning Organisation through the “relentless reflection” (Hansei) and Kaizen.
If we can practice A3 Thinking and structured problem solving at all levels in our organisation, this will lead to a better application of scientific thinking using PDCA, which will lead us and our teams to new knowledge and more sustainable solutions.
Pascal Dennis in his book “Andy and Me” 2005 describes Toyota’s Lean Management System as tools supported by a management system which in turn is supported by continuous improvement thinking everywhere:
Move as quickly as possible from “Lean expertise” to “Lean experience”.
We need to help our teams better understand that the key leverage points for improvement will usually be hidden and will sometimes be counter intuitive.
Be prepared to stop your process so the process doesn’t stop – give people time for making improvements and encourage and support the use of Kaizen breakthrough events.
Always aim for consistent A3 Thinking at all levels. The A3 document is not the end goal – its all about getting people to be capable of the deeper thinking that is contained within the A3 problem solving process. In the end, Lean is the development of people who can and will solve problems on a daily basis. Culture is the sum of people’s habits. For a suatainable Lean culture we need our leadership to be coaching and supporting A3 thinking every day.
How could your leadership people help your frontline teams avoid repeat problems with more structured A3 Thinking?
How could you expand and deepen the use of rapid learning cycles using A3 Thinking and consequently create an “Army of Problem Solvers” in your “Learning Organisation”?
Please spend some time with your team or colleagues reflecting on your organisation and how you could better use the sixth of our 7 ways to improve your Lean initiative – Rapid Learning Cycles and A3 Thinking.
*Dr. Allen Ward 2004 and Katherine Radeka 2017
Note: This is part 6 of 7 ways to improve the impact of your lean initiative. Stay tuned for part 7 being released next month. Feel free to contact Efficiency Works directly using the links below if you'd like to discuss all things LEAN.