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Creating an A3 Implementation Plan That Works

One of the delightful parts of being a Lean consultant and working the amazing companies that we do, is watching the process unfold as we explore what their companies might look like with a Lean enterprise approach. We talk about the importance to taking a “value stream” approach and create a future state that embraces all that is good in the place and adds in the elements to make it great.

Then we identify the key projects needed to close the gap between the current state and where we want to be with the future state. The top five or six projects need to be identified so we can concentrate the initial implementation efforts on a several key areas. Use the value stream map to guide you on the project selection. And use the map to communicate how the current and future projects relate to our “Big Picture” improvement journey. While there are many assessment tools and criteria, don’t make it too complicated – just pick the ones with the most passion to get started while enthusiasm is running high!

Creating the REAL A3 plan is the next step – this is the one that helps and guide us to getting stuff done! Firstly create the top level A3 implementation plan, using the value stream maps to highlight the current and future states, noting the measure that will tell us if we are doing a good job. Then list the projects as the first round of Action Steps. To really engage your Lean Implementation Team, have each person adopt a project; something they are passionate about and is within their current abilities to achieve. Then help each team member to create the own, tier 2 A3 plan.

Creating a true A3 Plan

A heightened level of excitement and importance can be achieved by having a presentation to senior management, outlining the overall findings during the value stream mapping sessions and reviewing the first drafts of the A3 plans. This session can also be used as a milestone review, getting broad agreement that your team is on the right track.

Then the hard work begins – taking the plan and implementing it; trialling, experimenting and learning form the process. That is where the real improvements are made!