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Problem to Solve? Take it to Morning Market.

Many problems can be solved without the use of heavy Artillery like 6-Sigma. Like in war you need to know when to use what weaponry for a specific application. Tanks don't work well at sea just like a battleship is not conducive on the battlefield.

To manage an effective Problem-Solving methodology within your organization the use of "Morning Market" is a very cool solution. At our car assembly plant every Friday Morning all Leaders convened in Final Assembly sign-off where the past week's problems were auctioned to team members. More on the process later ...

For Morning Market to be highly effective all of your team should be comfortable editing and updating your A3 template for problem solving.

Next, invest in your team members by training them on the 7 basic quality tools as defined through ASQ (American Society of Quality) |

We have created a cool experiential learning exercise that takes around 1.5 hours to complete, but attendees leave with completed templates they can refer to later. The learning covers;

  • Cause-and-effect diagram (also called Ishikawa or fishbone diagrams): Identifies many possible causes for an effect or problem and sorts ideas into useful categories.

  • Check sheet: A structured, prepared form for collecting and analyzing data; a generic tool that can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes.

  • Control chart: Graph used to study how a process changes over time. Comparing current data to historical control limits leads to conclusions about whether the process variation is consistent (in control) or is unpredictable (out of control, affected by special causes of variation).

  • Histogram: The most commonly used graph for showing frequency distributions, or how often each different value in a set of data occurs.

  • Pareto chart: A bar graph that shows which factors are more significant.

  • Scatter diagram: Graphs pairs of numerical data, one variable on each axis, to look for a relationship.

  • Stratification: A technique that separates data gathered from a variety of sources so that patterns can be seen (some lists replace stratification with flowchart or run chart). 

Morning Market Methodology

Problems, Problems, Problems, we all have them and we like to dump them onto Quality to solve.

With Morning Market when a Problem arrives it should be accompanied with an A3 in particular the background information should be completed and hopefully an initial specification of the problem including.

  • What (is the problem)

  • Where (is the problem located on the part)

  • When (was the problem first detected)

  • Extent (how big and frequent is this problem happening)

Quality will triage the incoming problem to place it into one of the Morning Market categories.

  • Category 1 | Cause is know = just go fix it

  • Category 2 | Think Cause is known = investigate, verify cause and fix

  • Category 3 | Unknown Cause = no idea, need more data and perhaps data collection

Then the fun begins ... Quality assigns Problem Solvers to go fix the problem with the first person selected to be the Problem-Solving Team Lead. In our environment all of our team was trained on basic problem-solving skills so they could be assigned to fix any problem, which actually became a benefit since many did not know or understand the source process where the problem was identified so acted as "Outside Eyes". For Category 1 we assigned 1 person, Category 2, 2 people and 3 people to Category 3. Also, each category had an objective of when a problem should be fixed ranging from now immediately to 1-2 months.

A trip to Morning Market happened every day as part of our Daily Management Report-Outs for the latest updates or assignment of new problems discovered.

Quality would decide if a Corrective Action was suitable and applied to the situation. The A3 would be taken out of rotation and placed into a "bring forward" file typically 3 months into the future after the corrective action had been applied. The original Problem-Solving Team was asked to review the applied Corrective Action to determine that it was still in place, being followed and effective. If the Corrective Action satisfied that criteria it was then and only then physically considered closed.

Morning Market is a powerful methodology to implement within your organization. It ensures that the proper Problem-Solving methodology is applied to specific problems. It has the potential to engages your entire workforce to effective problem solvers. It is a simple methodology but has a ton of little tips and tricks in order to make it effective so if you plan to implement make sure you speak to us first.

If a problem resurfaces then you really never solved the problem initially.


We do more than just blog. We're active Lean practitioners who would love to help you achieve your productivity goals.

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