3P / Production Preparation Process
The Production Preparations Process (3P) is a powerful means of taking a big-picture look at how a product is designed and manufactured. It guides teams through the creative process of generating ideas, and then whittles the ideas down to one that will be implemented.
A 3P project can focus on either the process or on the product design. The goal is to finish the event, usually about a week long, with a good idea of how the design should look, and a good understanding of how it will be built.
A 3P event should include a cross-functional team. Teams, due to the scope, tend to be somewhat larger than a team for a typical kaizen, and generally consist of top performers. 3P events with as many as 20 people are not unheard of for major product changes. The first day generally has a large amount of time dedicated to training. The rest of the week is spent unleashing creativity to get a large number of ideas out in the open, and then vetting and combining those ideas to whittle them down to the most promising among them.
Read more about this topic below.
If you like this reference guide, please help us spread the word about it!
The Production Preparation Process is a rather sophisticated tool that is built upon an advanced understanding of other Lean principles. It should not be attempted until the company has made significant progress along its continuous improvement journey.
A 3P project is traditionally done with a new product release, but may also be used for a redesign. Unlike kaizen, which generally involves incremental improvements, the production preparation process, for an existing operation, would be a complete overhaul.
The purpose of a 3P event is to create products that are designed to be built in a flow operation. This is very similar to design for manufacturability, but is packed into a short project.
These events are typically focused on either a product design, or on process development. In both cases, the team starts from scratch, as if it is doing a greenfield development. This prevents them from constraining their thinking based on current processes and designs.
Visit part 2 to continue reading about the production preparation process (3P).
Production Preparation Process events provide great opportunities to develop Lean skills, but we recommend that people participating in other events first. Kaizen projects tend to have a mix of learning and results, whereas 3P events tends to have much loftier goals. It is easy for people inexperienced in Lean to feel overwhelmed.
That said, for those people having some basic skills, a 3P event is an eye-opening experience. Because the teams are generally larger and include more seasoned Lean veterans, there is a wealth of mentorship available. Most people walk away from a 3P event feeling drained due to the fast pace and intellectually demanding environment, but also get a great deal of satisfaction from the accomplishments of the team.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up.
While 3P events generate great results when the team is gathered, the planning and follow-up are the keys to success, and that falls squarely on the shoulders of the leadership team. Don’t skimp on the planning time. Also, make sure you closely monitor any open action items after the event, as team members tend to quickly move back to their regular jobs when an event is completed.
Also, make sure that 3P events are focused on results. Many Lean efforts provide great training and coaching opportunities, but the primary purpose of a 3P event should be implementing significant change. The team should be stacked with experienced people, and the training should be focused primarily on the 3P process, not on basic Lean concepts. Sitting through what amounts to remedial training for experienced team members will sap their energy and hinder results.
© 2009-2016 by Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2009-2016, Velaction Continuous Improvement, LLC | Legal Information