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3P Planning

Using 3P to Facilitate Post-COVID19 Planning

Lean/TPM Knowledge

As you work through your recovery plan, traditional kaizen may not be the right tool to get you the improvements you need. We suggest taking a look at 3P, a radically different approach to achieving step-level change. Read more about this breakthrough process in this months’ What’s Up.
Today, as talk turns towards “re-opening” America, we’re all curious what the “new normal” will look like in the wake of COVID19. Navigating new daily routines will require an even greater focus on optimizing the business while creating a safe environment for your employees. As you address these issues in your organization, consider 3P.
The lean technique of 3P (production preparation process) has something to contribute here. Chihiro Nakao, a contemporary of Taiichi Ohno who first introduced 3P to the US in the mid-1980’s referred to 3P as being able to achieve “breakthrough or transformational changes” in a production process. This methodology can be applied to any existing process, manufacturing or service.
As you continue to think through your recovery plan, utilizing the 3P methodology could prove helpful. Through rapid cycles of experimentation, breakthrough and divergent thinking, 3P allows teams to take exponential leaps forward.
Below we’ve briefly outlined key steps in the process…
Project Sponsorship
The purpose here is to ensure leadership is fully committed to use and support 3P, and act as an advocate during the process.
Planning Process
The objective of the planning process is twofold: first to articulate the compelling business case for change and second, to clearly identify the current situation by asking such key questions as:

  • What is the problem or opportunity?
  • What is the scope and boundary?
  • What is the desired result, and is it a BOLD goal requiring radical change?
  • How will the organization benefit?
  • Does it align with strategic business objectives?
  • What has been tried to date?
  • How quickly does the change need to happen?
  • What resources need to be allocated and how will the organization make them available?
  • Who are the stakeholders?

Team Selection
Carefully consider the selection of the team leader, team members, and parameters that govern how the team will work. The team should be cross-functional, and comprised of members who are best aligned with the scope of the project.
Create the Big Room
Create a dedicated space, (known as the “moonshine shop” or “obeya” (Big) room), an off-the-grid space where teams can experiment safely.
Once the groundwork is established, the teams shift focus to addressing the problem or opportunity itself through gathering ideas, narrowing them down, experimentation, and implementation. Teams begin by breaking down and defining each step of the established process. Each member then searches for creative ways to accomplish these actions, referring to biomechanics, or drawing examples from nature to carry out the actions they’re trying to replicate in the moonshine shop.
The best ideas are then selected for experimentation and trial until a final solution is arrived at and presented to management for implementation.
3P can help you…

  • Process Examples:
    • Reimagine operator standard work to meet new (social) distancing recommendations
    • Redefine maintenance team member work to meet new distancing recommendations
    • Create touchless mistake-proof processes to comply with “spread prevention”
    • Find the opportunity to leverage autonomation with a human touch
    • Establish new plant safety measures to comply with CDC standards
  • Product Examples:
    • Rethink product designs to be touchless
    • Redesign the customer experience

Regardless of the application, the benefits of 3P are far reaching and could be a great way for you to work through your organization’s recovery planning and implementation.
If you would like to learn more about the 3P process, download our 3P White Papers:

Or, give us a call at (203) 225-0451. We would welcome the opportunity to explore how 3P can assist you.