The Kings of FLASH A3
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
One of the hardest things to build is a culture of kaizen. Easy to say, simple in concept, really hard to do. People talk lean, watch Power Points, but struggle to actually DO improvements!
The best way to build & sustain a "Lean Culture" is to convince every person in the to do small improvements constantly. How do I convince everyone that getting better is part of their job description, teaching them to see waste in their processes, then teach them how to work on teams to get better at plan-do-check-act?
Most of us started doing "kaizen events".....3 days, 6-12 people, sticky notes, etc. Those events bit off big chunks, tough to chew, probably everything doesn't get "digested". Most end up with a list of things that never get done. I started using an A3 process (not just a form) to do hundreds of improvements every year with 70 people in my own company. A3 is a vehicle to cut through busy, and teach people PDCA by doing it. What if we can make A3 even simpler than that? What if a small group of people (3 or 4) have an idea or a suggestion, and just want to get it done quickly? (how easy is it to implement an employee suggestion in your company? How many were implemented this year?)
The FLASH A3 has only 4 boxes on 1 page:
1. The Problem
2. The Crew
3. The Pain
4. The Fix
Meet Gregg Fowler and Ron Deschaine of Atlas Stamping (Newington, CT). Atlas brought me in back in April of this year and have already closed a few dozen A3s. These two have closed a third of those improvements, most of them FLASH A3. They are the KINGS of FLASH A3! Ron had an idea that cut a process that took a week to do to half a day. Gregg led an improvement that has eliminated a recurring, seemingly random defect, that would cause hours of re-work when it reared its ugly head. These two ALWAYS have a new FLASH on the A3 board.
I wish I could take credit for FLASH A3. Bill Anstett, then of Dymax Corporation (Torrington, CT) came up with it in 2013.
Bill Anstett and the FLASH A3 form. Bill is about 6'8' and NOT overweight. He is a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do, and a kick boxer. Bill, like Gregg & Ron, has an eye for improvement who sees waste in his own processes. He even took the time to design the form!