A3 Report [2023] | 7 Steps Root Cause Analysis Report, A3 Analysis – A Problem Solving Tool

The concept of continuous improvements over the decades has developed so empathetically, that now-a-days, it has become the thumb rule of almost all in day-to-day life. In industries and Company’s, we often come across plenty of problems which needs to be solved systematically and shall ensure on non-repetition of such problems in future.

Toyota known to be one of the leanest and continual improvement based company known for its operational excellence and performance. Toyota is the one which has developed and shown to the World what can be achieved with its A3 report on solving your day-to-day problems effectively with ease.

With the implementation of A3 problem solving or A3 thinking / risk analysis tool across your organization ensures you that the problems are eliminated once and for all, efficiently and effectively too. Apart from this there is one more tool called 8D Analysis, which is also effective for problem solving.

A3 Report: 

Breaking The Barriers of Problems & Nullifying The Root Causes – The Fight of All Time Across Worldwide Company’s.


A3 report is a structured problem-solving and continual improvement approach problem solving and root cause analysis report. A3 is a Single Sheet ISO A3 Paper Size. The A3 Paper sizes 11-inches by 17-inches or 29.7 cm x 42 cm.

The A3 analysis report can be summarized in 7 simple well-structured steps:

  1. The logical thinking: The A3 represents well-structured step-based problem solving or root cause analysis thinking process
  2. An objective approach: Data presentation in a clear, precise and target driven way. No hiding of any information
  3. Results, processes, and achievements: Sharing the end results to the team and the way they have been achieved
  4. Only share the essential information: What is required in a visual format and in an understandable format
  5. Actions taken and implemented shall comply with the company’s strategies, objectives, goals and policies
  6. The action plan developed shall be consistent, persistent and reliable thus making it an implementation of the same across the organization
  7. Establishment, development, and implementation of a structured problem solving approach

Origin of A3 problem solving tool

In the late 1992, The Automotive Giant Toyota has officially published Toyota Production System (TPS), an initiative towards continuous improvements. The art of lean manufacturing and its tools, A3 report is one such continuous improvement tool and initiative from Toyota that introduced to the whole world.

It provides a simple and strict procedure that guides problem solving by workers. The approach typically uses a single sheet of ISO A3-Size Paper, which is the source of its name. Its clear similar to the other problem solving approaches which mirrors Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle.

To give an overview, A3 against PDCA as follows:


A3 Steps

Deming’s PDCA Cycle





Problem statement



Goal statement



Root cause analysis






Effect confirmation



Follow-up actions


The A3 report has played a major role in the success of Toyota thus making its business exists across the world. This A3 report now being used across the world by almost all industries, companies, and organizations.

The pillars of A3 problem solving tool

Although the word A3 report sounds astonishing, it won’t just help you to solve the problems in matter of seconds. The success of A3 report found effective when process owners, attendees, SME’s, and implementers get involved from end-to-end closures.

In the success and execution of A3 report 5 stakeholders plays major roles. Here is the list below:

  1. Leader
  2. CFT/multi-disciplinary team
  3. Scrum master/agile coach
  4. Implementers
  5. Management

1. Leader

The one who leads and maintains all relevant documents pertaining to A3 analysis report.

2. CFT/multi-disciplinary team

The process owners or the team of Subject Matter Expertise (SME’s).

3. Scrum master/agile coach

The mentor/coach who fills the gaps in the execution of A3 report by constantly guiding and coaching the team. He is a master in the subject who provokes, guides, and motivates the CFT to find solutions across the tasks and causes identified.

4. Implementers

The stakeholders who implements and executes the tasks assigned by the CFT. Without these stakeholder’s involvement the implementation becomes almost impossible.

5. Management

The one who backs the A3 report team with capital investments and is keen on results. The management is the one who shall always be available and reachable at all time for the support of A3 project team.

7 steps of A3 analysis report

The A3 single page report typically follows 7 steps which reflects the whole process execution. However, the user can add few more steps of their own to get more effective results. Here are the 7 steps of A3 analysis report:

  1. Background
  2. Problem Statement
  3. Goal Setting and Goal Statement
  4. Root Cause Analysis
  5. Countermeasures
  6. Effectiveness Confirmation
  7. Follow-up Actions

1. Background

This is a first step where an organization identifies and selects the problem for resolution. Identify the worst and more affected problem by pareto analysis or 80:20 rule or 80:20 diagram.

Once you have selected the problem for resolution, clearly and briefly define the aspects that affects the problem and impacts the goals, targets, strategic business planning around customers, processes, financials, and new products, etc.

Ensure that a clear study and background analysis have been made in all the areas that the problem have arrived over a period of time before jumping on to Step-2.

2. Problem Statement

This is a step where you need to define the current situation of the problem. Make you touch upon the criteria’s of defining the problem. This means makes sure that where, when, how, and how many are clearly defined and addressed in the problem while defining.

The problem defined shall be qualitative as well as quantitative. Make sure that the impact of the problem over the organization in view of current situation shall be addressed. The focus of defining the problem shall always be on solving the problem effectively till the root.

3. Goal Setting and Goal Statement

At the end of the day, this is a step where in you are going to clarify on what you are going to achieve, the end results. The goals with clear targets shall be defined which can be measurable. Shall avoid goals which cannot be measurable.

The goals can be either in the phase-wise based on project timeline or week-wise or month-wise. The goals shall not be random; they shall be related to your problem statement. The goals defined are not stand-alone, more goals can be added up in the course of A3 process as and when required.

4. Root Cause Analysis

The step-4, the root cause analysis, the most very important step in the A3 problem solving process for the success of the A3 project. In view of solving the problem soon may end up you in a situation where the actual root problem untouched, un-attended and un-solved resulting in recurrence of problem again and again over a period of time. This kind of approach of soon solving the problem may result in creation of major problems over a period of time.

There are n number of tools which can be used for finding the root cause of a problem. Two of such tools which are very effective are called as 5-why analysis or why-why analysis by using cause and effect diagram/fish bone diagram and is/is not check sheet.

5. Countermeasures

This is a stage where-in you clarify on the corrective actions and provide solutions based on the root cause identified as in step-4. Always be focus that the solutions provide shall eliminate the root cause completely such that the problem shall never occur again.

Assign the tasks to the implementers for the implementation of corrective actions. You can also go back to the step-2 and set few more goals which arrived from your solutions.

To have effective countermeasure implementation you can use 5W2H principle or tool. Design and draw a detailed plan for successful implementation of the corrective actions. Remember the focus is to achieve the goal objective and goal targets.

In this step you can also focus on horizontal deployment across your organization where-in similar kinds of problems have been notified.

6. Effectiveness Confirmation

This is a stage where-in the effectiveness of results of the A3 project or A3 process implementation is measured against the actuals, i.e., the set targets. It is a part of continuous improvement culture of Toyota’s TPS which will end up in good results.

In this stage examples shall be set which will help in future solving of new problems that arise. A benchmark shall be maintained to witness other stakeholders who get involved in future A3 projects.

The effectiveness measurement shall be ensured with various kinds of tools viz., feedback forms, special audits, numbers tracking, and gemba studies.

7. Follow-up Actions

Once the effectiveness is monitored ensure on the sustenance of the actions implemented via standardization, audits, reviews, MRM’s, and daily targets tracking via dashboard management.

Irrespective of the positive or negative results, corrective actions shall be implemented.

Based on the results for the deviations against targets, re-visit the A3 report, modify the plan, and re-implement the actions. For the positive results, praise the team for efforts and circulate the results and the way it was done across the organization in the form of standardization.

Why you should use A3 report?

As we know, there tons of problem solving tools around the globe which are very effective in their own manner when they are implemented based on the situations of the special problem. Each tool comprises of lots of numerous pages of information, graphs, and linkages to other tools, which is lengthy and kills lots of time. But sometimes it becomes very boring and un-useful when after putting so much of efforts, the end results are un-attained.

A3 report on the other hand is a single-one-page report which is clear and precise and drives the continuous improvement culture. The tool gives greater impact and makes communication simpler. It gives an opportunity of lean management by use of minimal resources and makes it as the best effective tool for mid-level managers and supervisors.

The A3 report is very effective in solving problems when the JIT solutions are required. But unless and until if the problem is not analyzed properly, no tool will be good for finding out the solutions.

This tool can also be extended to shop floor as it is simple, precise, structured and is easily understood by shop floor people too. A3 helps to involve various groups of people to collaborate effectively on one purpose that is solving a problem and finding a solution.

What are the benefits of A3 problem solving tool?

When it comes the benefits of a3 problem solving tool, there are plenty of them. Here are few of the benefits of a3 analysis report you should know:

  • A3 report is one-single-page report that effectively solves any problem
  • A3 report is clear, precise and very effective as it involves involvement of every stakeholder in a collaborative manner
  • It more focuses on continuous improvements across the organization
  • It promotes cross-organizational sharing between various groups and stakeholders across the organization
  • The A3 model more focused and committed to goals and target driven
  • With the involvement of agile coach or scrum master, the A3 model becomes an effective tool for coaching others and a platform for learning
  • It provokes lean management concept across the organization focusing on minimization of wastages by use of minimal resources

Facts of A3 report

An A3 report is one of the best tools of problem solving developed by Toyota, with an intention of solving problems effectively and efficiently. The process of A3 analysis report goes through multiple steps of problem solving including: defining the problem, the analysis, the corrective actions, and action plan, all in one single sheet of paper called the A3 sheet. A3 has many interesting facts.

Here are 8 facts of a3 problem solving tool:

  1. A standard paper size
  2. A template
  3. A storyboard
  4. A report
  5.  A problem solving methodology
  6. A management discipline
  7. A3 thinking and analysis tool
  8. An alignment tool

1. A standard paper size

As the name suggests, the A3 is an international term used for a sheet of paper 297 mm wide and 420 mm long, called A3 Sheet.

2. A template

In order to follow the lean problem solving approach or continuous improvement approach, many engineers or companies use and A3 size pre-printed steps of A3 problem solving tool. They use a blank A3 paper to update their progress and which they call this document as a template, but an A3 is not actually a template.

3. A storyboard

Many individuals and organizations use this A3 report to track and record their problem solving or improvements of the project progress. This is where the A3 becomes a storyboard where in the communication of the problem becomes simpler and easier.

With A3 individuals or A3 owners can collaborate with different stakeholders whom the problem, analysis, and its actions are concerned. With a better drawn A3 report, logically presented, and well summarized content helps to grab the attention of various stakeholders including process owners, thus making it easier for A3 owners to implement the changes.

4. A report

An A3 problem solving storyboard once drawn out with all of A3 steps, A3 story telling board becomes an A3 report, which easily serves as a well-documented problem solving tool and a continuous improvement tool. At Toyota, the A3 reports have emerged as one of the best ways to summarize problem-solving exercises, status update reports, planning tools, value steam mapping, and continual improvement tools.

5. A problem solving methodology

Many engineers, and lean practitioners use the A3 as a problem solving process which is guided by systematic A3 steps or set of questions. It’s the best problem solving methodology which is written on a single A3 sheet, making it easier to understand and simple to follow.

6. A management discipline

When it comes to lean leaders, supervisors, and managers, they use the A3 to guide and train their subordinates. It not only makes it easier for subordinates to understand better, but also helps in lean thinking practices. 

7. A3 thinking and analysis tool

A3 is a thinking process and analysis tool for most of the lean practitioners, lean coaches, and A3 coaches. The A3 helps in resolving problem in a systematic approach and which in turn helps in improving work processes and standards. Anybody can use and follow this tool for analysis of complex problems in a simpler manner.

8. An alignment tool

An A3 report acts as best alignment tool when used throughout the organization for any practices. It goes hand in hand with lean practices as well global standards. It is an effective strategy to solve problems systematically. 


A3 report is one of the simplest and single-one-page report which is a highly effective tool which encourages continual improvements across the organization. This problem solving tool is very effective when implemented thoroughly with the help of agile coach or a scrum master. If it’s not implemented clearly it will end you up in lots of serious-repetitive problems over a period of time.

Here the leader, and agile coach, or scrum master plays a major role in the implementation.

As said above there is an alternative problem solving tool is also available which can be used for effective problem solving viz., 8D analysis. If you want to learn more and gain in-depth knowledge on 8D analysis, please check out my in-depth 8d training material here.

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