3P – Production Preparation Process

The Production Preparation Process builds upon lean manufacturing and lean product development practices by using a cross-functional development team to define an optimal product concept and optimal production/assembly process that ensures delivery of the newly developed product to the market.

The power of this workshop relies on a hands-on approach to defining and evaluating both product and production process alternatives and evaluating them from the perspective of design for manufacturability, mistake-proofing, and lean manufacturing practices.

The 3P workshop can be structured in several ways. The basic workshop is a two-day event. This training emulates the real workshop environment and motivates participants to be as creative and as proactive as possible by utilizing a simple process example that is worked through almost as if it were an actual event. The learning style is based on 75% learning by doing and 25% through presentation and discussion. An extended four-day version is focused on working with a team to apply 3P to an actual project. An alternative four-day workshop program can integrate Design for Manufacturability/Assembly training with 3P.

Introduction

  • Define 3P workshop concept and its purpose
  • Define the team’s mindset and approach to the 3P workshop
  • Position 3P workshop relative to NPD project maturity
  • 3P workshop flow and the key elements described
  • Define key inputs, team preparation and prerequisites for the workshop
  • Define key outputs and benefits of the workshop and how this drives subsequent product development effort

Define example product, market and supply chain

  • The team is given a “fact pack” of information as an introduction to the chosen product example
  • Team will align around project facts and what they mean for product/assembly concepts development
  • Team exercise: how to collect information, prepare and scale the effort for a real 3P workshop

Product concept development

  • Review of the key principles behind design for manufacturing/assembly (DFM/A) concept (Note: this is where we can integrate the Design for Manufacturability/Assembly training into this 3P Workshop
  • Review how to define product functions
  • Team exercise: Define functions for the chosen example product
  • Introduce minimum part count concept aimed at reducing number of parts in an assembly
  • Team exercise: define minimum number of parts for the chosen example product
  • Brainstorm design alternatives for chosen product functions – “7 Ways or 7 Alternatives” method
  • Team exercise: Brainstorm design alternatives for the chosen example product
  • Explain concept selection matrix for evaluating concepts
  • Team exercise: Select best product concept using the concept selection matrix
  • Review the final product concept – hand out examples of a physical product

Process concept development

  • Review lean manufacturing principles
  • Introduce Process at a Glance (PAAG) method for “as is” manufacturing process summary
  • Team exercise: Conduct manufacturing process review for the chosen example product and develop Process at a Glance (PAAG) map.
  • Team brainstorming: Define scope for simulation
  • Team exercise: Define process alternatives (“7 Ways or 7 Alternatives”) for the given scope
  • Team exercise: Define an optimal assembly process based on best alternatives – use concept selection matrix to drive decision
  • Team exercise: Build prototype simulation manufacturing cell using cardboard boxes and any other means.
    • Conduct Gemba visit to a real production line if nearby for inspiration (or watch video of current production)
    • Use “real-world” packaging, tools, or any other equipment from the real production line if available
  • Team exercise: Simulate & video record manufacturing process and capture improvements by watching each production run – repeat until the team is happy.
    • Set targets for productivity (cycle time, takt time, minimum number of operators) based on the business case and verify how they can be achieved – team discussion after each simulation run
    • Define required investments in automation and other process equipment (jigs, fixtures, measurement systems etc.) based on requirements – consider how product design is influencing the manufacturing process design and vice versa
    • Pay attention to line balancing and how that influences inventory levels, number of operators on line, takt time etc.
    • Capture key manufacturing functions that lead to development of PFMEA
  • Discuss team “learning by doing” approach and what benefits it brings to early decision making and team alignment
  • Wrap up: Key learnings and conclusions arising from product and production concepts development
  • Team exercise: Draft summary report from 3P workshop
  • Final questions and answers