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Problem Solving
Problem Solving Methodology

Problem Solving allows a dedicated team to analyze an issue in terms of root causes, choose and implement the best solution and eliminate the problem forever.


During the analysis a team will typically utilize tools such as Ishikawa diagram, 5Whys, Pareto chart, Spaghetti that allow to visually illustrate the problem and transform opinion into fact. The team follows the PDCA or DMAIC steps. Typical time needed for the entire exercise is 3 to 8 weeks.

Ishikawa Diagram

Ishikawa diagram in a graphic manner displays potential causes that may have influence on the effect of the problem. The axes are arranged in a fishbone pattern and exemplify categories of the problem, such as Men, Machine, Material, Method, Mother Nature and Measures.



The 5 Why method asks a WHY question a minimum of five times in a row in order to discover the root cause of the problem. Success depends on clear understanding of the problem at hand and formulating appropriate questions that will lead to the hidden cause.

A3 report

The A3 Report is a Toyota practice of describing problem definition, analysis, charts and graphs, corrective actions,  action plans and other information on a single large page of paper size A3 (A3 is an international term for paper 297 millimeters wide x 420 millimeters long) or 11” X 17” in the US. The A3 report has evolved into a standard method of summarizing a status report, problem solving report outs, quality circles, kaizen project reports, etc.

A3 problem solving refers to a structured problem solving method using the A3 report format as a guide to the team to keep the problem summary on one page of large paper. This method is an off-shute of the A3 report and follows the standard problem solving process of define the problem, contain it, measure and analyze the cause, take corrective action on the root cause, measure results and put standardized controls in place to avoid future reoccurrence.

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