- Hardcover: 165 pages
- Publisher: Productivity Press; 1 edition (March 7, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1563273608
- ISBN-13: 978-1563273605
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Understanding A3 Thinking: A Critical Component of Toyota's PDCA Management System 1st Edition
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+ Very, very good summary of PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act)
+ Good use of references using solid, reliable sources
+ Explains misconceptions of western interpreation of the word, "standard"
+ Solid summary chapter at the end
+ A3 building exercises for the reader is a novel approach, thumbs up
+ Practical advice
+ Good examples of A3s
+ Appreciated the honesty glimpses of the realities of Toyota as a global, multinational company, even if they were small or only hinted at
+ A decent section on the "digital" vs. "paper" debate
+ Describes some elements of good or proper visuals (e.g. Tufte section on proper display of analytics)
+ Changes the way I will forever ask (and give) updates on projects
- By far the largest issue is the repetitious nature of the material. Chapters 3, 4, 5 could have perhaps been best presented as one with notes describing key differences. As is, I think the repetition has a tendency to hide and demphasize differences and key points.
- Fig 6.2 and related description seems to have some serious issues, whether it is message, erroneous, or other I cannot yet say
- Some jargon (e.g. "spinning your wheels") that will not translate easily if you are not American
> 5 Whys was not deeply described and maybe borders in my opinion on an incorrect description, although in fairness to the authors this is not the focus of the book
> Heavy use of "at Toyota" (which is on the cover) so if this is a turnoff, please note that "Toyota" shows up in here quite a bit
Bottom line: Recommended for everyone. Despite cons, easily in my top 5 lean/excellence books.
Any serious study of Toyota reveals that PDCA (the Deming Cycle) and the A3 reporting mechanism are at the heart of the onion. These are the tools that enabled the development of their Production System. As a friend and Toyota manager once explained, "it's their circulatory system" or how they create and transmit knowledge. These tools are as prevalent in Toyota's PD or Marketing as they are in a production unit.
If you are serious about implementing "Lean" your time and money could not be better placed than in reading this book! It is well written and very useful.
A must for all leaders interested in effective decision making and not checking the box decision.
The key is that managers and leadership need system thinking of profound knowledge to coach their subordinates, which is rare commodity nowadays
The authors present a refreshingly pragmatic approach to helping improvement teams and leaders to drive communication, scientific method thinking and organizational alignment for improvement. Clearly building on the A3 heritage of Toyota...the focus is on the thought process and not on one correct format. " ...like snowflakes, no two A3's are alike."
Six Sigma professionals will recognize many elements (both existing and omitted) of DMAIC thinking in the PDCA format of the A3. For today's challenging business cycle, the A3 approach can offer faster, less bureaucratic results, building on more frequent cycles of learning through revision than DMAIC.
This book is valuable for beginners as well as veteran Six Sigma professionals looking to make the transition from DMAIC to A3 thinking.
The case studies included in the book provide an outstanding opportunity to test your understanding and gain initial cycles of learning with A3's writing and reviewing.
Save this book for a long flight; you can get through the case studies easily.
Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor, and Lead is another helpful guide to A3's which deals even more with the "human side" of A3 thinking.
For those who wish to go deeper into the graphical aspects of A3, which are discussed to a limited degree in Mr. Sorbek's work, Edward Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition is a valuable resource.