In my work experience there are times when you need mix Methods of Problem Solving ( A3 and DMAIC), it could be for many reasons.
Some years ago I joined at one company that had none knowledge about Lean Manufacturing, they where expose to Six sigma Deployment (wrong deployed by the way), I found several problem one of the most dangerous for Six sigma was the “Certification Hanged on the wall” ; this behavior is explained as follow ; “when the Black or Green Belt , are not continuing doing Six sigma projects; they finished 2 or 1 project required to get the certification , updates their resumes and hanged the Certification on the wall”.
The Organization suffered of ; excess of Passive Talent or as we call in Lean the 8 waste (Lack of Talent People Utilization).
This is a System Failure; as I have mentioned the Six sigma Deployment was wrong implemented, therefore as the Lean-Six sigma Director I had to create a new and effective System that promotes the Problem Solving as Culture or DNA of the organization.
However the main problem was “How to modify the old behaviors?,” there is not a perfect formula or answer for this, let me tell you already.
When I faced this situation, I introduced a new Belt Level “Yellow”, and it was mandatory for all the Salary Staff (Supervisors, Technicians, Engineering, Finance etc.) basically the rest of the people that had not certified as Green or Black, that was more than 90% of total population at that time. Yes of course I had the full support of management, otherwise I would have fired lol. Don't try this if you don't have the full management support.!!!
Even that I followed the Standard for Six Sigma Yellow Belt training, I introduced the A3 problem Solving method (The method more used on Lean Manufacturing) , the idea was create the Problem Solving behaviors that be transform as Culture eventually, the A3 was mixed with DMAIC phases , this allowed easy introduction to that company that was more oriented to Six sigma.
I intentionally deviated of the old paradigms that they had about the Six sigma; “…DMAIC or Six sigma, takes many time and just the scientific-statistic people can do”; that was the old paradigm for Problem Solving or DMAIC of that organization, at that moment.
The Yellow Belt Finished their projects using the next Template, and the project will not take more than 1 week from D to C .
I have not to say that eventually the Green and the Black Belt used this report (Template) to document their projects and obviously they where prompted to do more projects.
A3-DMAIC Problem Solving Template
A3-DMAIC Problem Solving - Example
As I have mentioned this has the purpose to make the Problem Solving, as DNA of the company and the “Templates or formats” should be easy to review at any meeting - time,
I use the A3 problem solving because In Toyota, no problem is a problem!; Problems are seen as opportunities to improve their processes and, ultimately, their products.
The people assigned to solve the problem, view the assignment as an opportunity to improve their problem-solving skills. They understand that they learn more and become a better problem-solver each time they perform the process.
A3 is a structured and very useful problem-solving template. To be successful, this template must be supported by a lean culture that changes how we view problems. Otherwise, A3 Problem Solving will just join the list of “programs of the month”.
On the A3 template, the steps are typically laid out like this:
And as I always say on my post, you do not have to follow, copy or implement, what is here; its for your reference only, what worked for me, not necessary will work for you, however if you think that some of this tool or method may help you please don’t hesitate and try it immediately avoiding the procrastination.
PD: Obviously you can Mix DMAIC with 8D or others PS Methods templates.