3P Production Preparation Process is an advanced lean approach involving visual thinking, simulation, kaizen for quick Design For Manufacturability. 3P follows a series of group and individual activities to sketch and model the product and processes. Examples in Nature, 7 Ways, Process At A Glance, Moonshine Mock-ups are all part of the method.
3P is about rapidly designing product and production processes to ensure capability, built-in quality, productivity, and Flow-Takt-Pull. The Production Preparation Process minimizes resources needed such as capital, tooling, space, inventory, and time. Rather than tweaking an existing shop floor process, we start with a clean sheet of paper. The 3P process is used to develop a product line specific production system in the shortest time to satisfy design and quality requirements, concept to market time goals,production requirements, and cost requirements.
3P simulates the actual components, product and production line of a new product during the early stages of the design process to learn about manufacturing or delivery requirements before making commitments to a floor plan or process flow. The goal is to produce a product that meets customer demand with perfect quality and at the desired cost. From beginning to end, 3P is an exercise in project management and waste elimination. 3P is a valuable tool because the cost of eliminating waste in the earliest stages of product development is less than during the final stages. The tool is useful and effective when you need to develop a method to meet customer requirements, plan production capacity for new or changing demand, transition new products, set a target date for delivering to market or prove the business-case target cost.
The 3P cross-functional team should include designers, engineers (i.e., manufacturing, quality and process), operators, operations experts and anyone else instrumental in bringing the product to market. Using lean principles, the cross-functional team creates a mock-up of the product and walks through how the product will flow through the factory. Mock-ups may be made from cardboard, plastic foam, wood or any other material that makes sense. Multiple 3P events are usually required throughout the design and development phases of a new product.
Here are the basic steps for 3P: