What Does 3P Stand For?
3P stands for Production, Preparation and Process. This specific Lean design approach that has been hailed as one of the most powerful and advanced manufacturing tools you can add to your Lean culture. The method was first introduced to the U.S. by Chihiro Nakao, founder of Shingijutsu consulting and contemporary of Mr. Ohno. Nakao has been considered by many to be the world’s greatest production engineer, but prefers to be known as the Father of Moonshine. His 3P method is best summed up in his own words.
…breakthrough or transformational changes in production process using unique problem solving approaches.
- Cross functional team approach
- Rapid testing of ideas
- Uses multiple Lean manufacturing principles in both the process and product design
Many Lean methods promote a gradual or continuous improvement process. 3P on the other hand, is designed to make significant changes quickly. When done correctly, the 3P method has the potential to make drastic improvements to your design process, improve performance and eliminate waste far beyond your current processes potential.
To consistently have success with the 3P method, Nakao developed the 16 Catch Phrases of 3P. These guidelines serve as reminders to the 3P process and carefully integrate Lean manufacturing principles along the way.
16 Catch Phrases of 3P
- Production preparation should be lightning fast.
- Build and layout equipment for smooth material flow.
- Use additive equipment.
- Build equipment that is easy to set up.
- Make equipment easy to set up.
- Use versatile equipment.
- Make operator work stations narrow.
- Equipment and layout should allow people to move easily.
- Eliminate wasted machine cycle time.
- Build equipment for small, swift flow lines.
- Use, short vertical flow lines.
- Build equipment for one-piece pull.
- Build in quick changeover.
- Link machines for smooth loading and unloading.
- Use multiple lines and rectified flows.
- Spiral upwards to Jidoka.
Why the Catch Phrases?
Think of these catch phrases as checklist to success. The purpose of a checklist or catch phrase is to fill you brain with quick triggers to keep you on task and in-line with the process. For this purpose, these 16 one-liners are designed to get you through the 3P process and remind you of the other Lean manufacturing disciplines like SMED and Jidoka.
3P is considered an advance Lean method and is not for everyone. It takes a certain culture that is dedicated and well versed in the Lean methods needed to perform 3P. However for those that are ready, 3P can be a game changer. The folks at Gemba Panta Rei have even come up with the top five reasons for using 3P, which are as follows:
- New product development: Educate designers in Lean as early as possible.
- Capital expenditure approval: Don’t sign a Cap Ex without doing 3P first. Period.
- Product design changes: Approve no changes without a 3P review.
- Significant changes in volume: You didn’t design the process Lean, but here’s you second chance
- Relocation of processes: I you’re going to pick it up and move it anyway, you might as well Lean it out first