The Lean 3P Advantage: A Practitioner's Guide to the Production Preparation Process, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Lean 3P Advantage

A Practitioner's Guide to the Production Preparation Process, 1st Edition

By Allan R. Coletta

Productivity Press

336 pages | 67 B/W Illus.

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How do you take talented engineers and surround them with the elements needed to create brilliant designs that lead to market-changing products? Lean 3P is how.

Winner of a 2013 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award !

Written from an operations perspective, The Lean 3P Advantage: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Production Preparation Process explains how to build collaborative thinking and innovation into the front end of the design process. Describing how to develop successful new products concurrently with new operations, the book illustrates real-world scenarios with numerous examples and case studies to help newcomers succeed the first time around. For those familiar with 3P, the book supplies the basis to explore Evergreen 3P—a process for applying 3P to small-scale design projects for similar benefits.

  • Details the 3P Lean Design process, explaining how and why it works so effectively
  • Includes case studies and examples of real-world applications
  • Presents time-tested methods based on the combined experience of numerous practicing companies

Coverage includes product planning and evaluation criteria, selection of alternatives, timing considerations, construction of prototypes, and measuring effectiveness. This book will help you and your team develop holistic designs that foster innovation and deliver products and production operations that effectively utilize people and exceed the expectations of all stakeholders.


Finally, a go-to reference book on the important subject of 3P. Coletta does an outstanding job defining a step-by-step approach that can provide breakthrough results to manufacturing and service organizations alike.

Drew Locher, Managing Director, Change Management Associates

This how-to guide is filled with relevant examples that can help you apply the concepts and methodology to any product and process industry to develop higher quality products and processes delivered at lower costs.

Ken Rolfes, KDR Associates, Inc.

… an extremely valuable book for any practitioner interested in capturing the significant benefits of 3P for their firms. The author’s sincere desire to share his considerable knowledge with his readers comes through on every page.

Ron Mascitelli, PMP, President, Technology Perspectives

Table of Contents

Lean 3P Design Concepts

What Is 3P?

Lean 2P

Why Does 3P Work?

Separating R from D

Horizontal Development

Rapid Learning

Differences between Traditional Product and Process Design, and Lean 3P Design

Time Commitment of the Stakeholders

Lean 3P’s Place in the Product Development Process

Applying Lean 3P to New Product Development

Voice of the Customer

Case Studies

Lean 3P within Existing Product Development Processes

Phase-Gate Product Development

Point-Based Engineering

Set-Based Concurrent Engineering

Set-Based Concurrent Design

Applying Lean 3P Design and Gaining Leverage


Concurrent Product and Process Design Using 3P

Is One 3P Event Enough?

The Role of Operations

Leverage Case Study

Gaining Leverage

The "Best" Time to Make Improvements

The "Better" Time to Make Improvements

The "Necessary" Time to Make Improvements

Getting Started

The Case for Change

The Flow of a Lean 3P Event



Prototyping and Rapid Redesign


Key Participants in a 3P Event

Space Required for a 3P Event

Materials and Tools

3P Event Charter

Pre-Event Orientation and Training

Getting Started Recap

The Countdown and Overview of the 3P Event Week

Timing Considerations

Preparing for a Lean 3P Event

Two to Three Months Before

One to Two Months Before

One to Two Weeks Before

The Day Before

Overview of the 3P Event Week

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Kickoff, Charter, and 3P Goals


The 3P Event Charter

Introducing Lean 3P Design Goals

Each Part, Each Interval (EPE or EPE I)

Summary of the 3P Design Goals

Kickoff, Charter, and 3P Goals Recap

Product Planning and Process Evaluation Criteria

Product Planning

Production Evaluation Criteria

3P Process Design Criteria

Takt Time

One-Piece Flow

Pull System

People Involvement

Automatic Unloading

Load-Load Operations

Low-Cost Automation

Mistake-Proof (Poka Yoke)

Minimal Capital

Minimal Space Required

Low-Motion Waste

100% Gauging

Maximum Operator Value-Add

Changeover Time

Tool Room Maintenance

Tooling Quality or Tooling Cost

Safety, Ergonomics, and Health (and Possibly Security)

Environmental Impact

Internal Waste Collection

Simple as Possible

Standard or Off-the-Shelf Equipment

Process Capability Ratio (Cp)

Known Process

Future Challenge

Maintenance Free

Technical Advantage


Development Time or In-House Development



Selecting the Evaluation Criteria

Product Planning and Process Evaluation Criteria Recap

Defining Value-Adding Functions

Product Features and Process Steps versus Value-Adding Functions

Product Considerations

Process Considerations

Evaluating Product and Defining the Value-Added Process Steps

Concurrent Product and Process Evaluation

Product Features and Process Step Value-Adding Functions Recap

3P Example—Kathryn’s Finest

Flow Diagrams, Developing Seven Alternatives, and Selection of the Better Three Alternatives

Flow Diagram

Spaghetti Diagram

Developing the Seven Alternatives from Nature

Considering Industrial Alternatives

Industrial Application of the Seven Alternatives from Nature

Developing the Seven Alternatives

Evaluation and Selection of the Top Three Alternatives

The Pugh Method or Decision Matrix

Summary of Progress

Flow Diagrams, Developing Seven Alternatives, and Selecting the Better Three Alternatives Recap

Process at a Glance, Selecting Teams, Constructing the Three Prototypes

Process at a Glance

Team Selection

Safety Reminder

Getting Started with the Three Prototypes

Utilizing the Assigned Space

The Need for Speed

Researching New Concepts

Identifying Risk

Constructing the Three Prototypes

Concept Viability

Safety and Power Tools

Process at a Glance

Process at a Glance, Selecting Teams, Constructing the Three

Prototypes Recap

Rapid Evaluation of the Three Prototypes, Selecting the Final Prototype


Rapid Evaluation of the Three Prototypes

Evaluation Participants

Process at a Glance and Complete Process Overview

Congregate around the Prototype Being Reviewed

Process at a Glance and Evaluation Criteria

Take Some Pictures

Selecting the Best Process Steps from the Three Prototypes

System Impact

People Impact

Value-Adding Function Selection

Summary of Progress

Rapid Evaluation of the Three Prototypes, Selecting the Final Prototype Recap

Developing the Final Prototype, Incorporating Evaluation Criteria, and Measuring Effectiveness—Final Report-Out

Developing the Final Prototype

Incorporating the Evaluation Criteria

Add in the Transitions and Transfer Operations

Measuring 3P Effectiveness

Full Construction of Final Prototype

Layout with Material and Tool Storage Identified

Process at a Glance

Calculation of Takt Time

Assessment of Evaluation Criteria

Assessment of Event Goals

Final Cost Estimate

Resource Plan and Teams

Project Timeline with Milestones

Spaghetti Diagram of New Operation

Changeover Plan

Review of Bucket-List Items and Action Items

Final Report-Out Session


Developing the Final Prototype, Incorporating Evaluation Criteria, and Measuring Effectiveness, Final Report-Out Recap

3P Project Management, Potholes and Stumbling Blocks

3P Project Management

Communication and Involvement

A3 Problem Solving

New Wine in Old Wineskins

Out-of-the-Gate Performance

Potholes and Stumbling Blocks

Participant Selection

Judges’ (Critical Evaluators) Selection

Judges’ (Critical Evaluators) Role

Participant Pairing

Let It Breathe

Time Management


Set Big Expectations

Believe in the 3P Process and Stick with It

Postevent Expectations

Evergreen Lean 3P Design, Conclusions

Evergreen Lean 3P Design

The A3 Process Applied to Small-Scale 3P Design

Problem Statement


Current Condition




Action Items




Flow Diagram of Lean 3P Design Process

Lean 3P Event Charter Template

Lean 3P Event Materials Checklist

Lean 3P Pre-Event Activity Checklist

Children’s Book Selections

Potential Design Evaluation Criteria

Potential Design Evaluation Criteria Checklist

Seven Alternatives Template

Seven Alternatives with Evaluation Criteria Template

Process at a Glance Template

Process at a Glance with Evaluation Criteria Template

Works Cited and Bibliography


About the Author

Allan R. Coletta is a chemical engineer with extensive manufacturing operations, supply chain, and engineering experience gained while working in the chemical process and health-care diagnostics industries. His Lean experience started while serving as site manager for ICI Uniqema’s largest specialty chemicals plant in North America and continued to expand his role as Senior Director of Engineering for Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. His passion for manufacturing and engaging people in continuous improvement continues to grow through personal application of Lean principles.

Allan serves on the Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s Fiduciary and Advisory Boards and is a member of the Delaware Business Mentoring Alliance. He is also a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control