Friday, November 20, 2015

Improve Operational Performance through Production Preparation Process (3P)

Remember the old adage, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door”? It is no longer acceptable just to build a better mousetrap. That mousetrap must now be built using a team-oriented approach and it should deliver a product/process in less time, using less material and fewer capital resources. The mousetrap must be less complex and be high in quality. That sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as it looks. The good news is there is a process which gives your company a good shot at building the “better mousetrap”.  

Eliminate Waste and Become More Lean
production preparation process
Through the Production Preparation Process, or 3P, manufacturers use a Lean approach to select the best product and/or process design from multiple alternatives. 3P guides teams through the creative process, generating and evaluating alternatives until the best process is selected and implemented. The new process or product design should improve performance and results on all levels.

3P is the first time Lean methods are being applied to creating new processes and products, not just fixing them in existing products. The desired result is a better product requiring less initial capital expenditure and lower ongoing costs. One goal of the new process is to be a waste free system. In order to achieve these objectives, 3P requires responsible personnel to assist with design and development of the new products and processes.

3P Methodology focuses on five simple premises: get the right people involved, figure out what needs to be accomplished, create a prototype without fear of failure, review all prior attempts, and create the final plan to execute the process or build the product. This process should happen in rapid succession while developing numerous alternatives to obtain success.

Summary: The Five Steps of 3P
  • Team Selection
  • Define Needs
  • Prototypes
  • Design Review
  • Project Planning
In general, over-planning should be avoided. Fast product preparation should be emphasized. A fluid process flow without stops is the design goal. Equipment should be easy to set up.

Where to Use 3P
  • When Designing New Products
  • When Designing Changes to Existing Products
  • Increasing or Decreasing Plant Capacity to Meet Demand
  • Relocating Facility Operations
  • During Process Quality Improvement
  • When Purchasing Capital Equipment
Benefits of 3P
3P offers many benefits, including:
  • Quicker Launch Times
  • Reduced Costs
  • Built in Quality
  • Higher Return on Investment.
  • A Customer Centered Process (the goal is to always meet customer needs in a more effective manner)
  • An Emphasis on using a team approach (it brings talent from all areas of the company into the development process and results in greater “buy-in” from those participating in the group effort)
MMTC offers a variety of Lean Business Solutions. For more information, contact MMTC at 888.414.6682, visit or email

Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

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