3P Lean – What is the definition of the Three Ps or 3P?

Lean Six-Sigma 3P is known as one of the most powerful and transformative tools in advanced manufacturing.  Even more so with a strong Industry 4.0 platform including MES Software. A common mistake for those who do not practice  Lean Six-Sigma is to think without any feedback from the customer or their suppliers. Lean 3P Definition “Production – Preparation – Process” focuses on eliminating waste in product and process design phase. Accordingly, hey are typically only used (the 3Ps) by organizations that have experience in applying other Lean methods.

  • P1. Preparation
  • P2. Process
  • P3. Production

Coincidentally, Kaizen and other Lean methods focus towards production processes and try to improve it. Markedly, the Production – Preparation – Process – People (3P +1) focuses on eliminating waste in the product and process design phase,

. Industry 4.0 tools like MES Software can drastically amplify your success in all these areas.

What is the +1 of the 3P?

  • +1 People

People are, most notably, the most important factor in this analysis.


3P Lean Definition Production – Preparation – Process

Tell me more about The Lean 3Ps

Not surprisingly, the Three Ps (3P) is known as one of the ultimate goals of practicing Lean six-sigma philosophy and methodology at work. Lean, it is not new, its origins go back to 1908 with Frederick Taylor and have been (and continue) to evolve over time.

What is 3P Definition - Lean Manufacturing Ujigami MEs SoFtwareA company is not sustainable only with its ideas, projects, product or its business success. Understandably, this would only lead us to have a unidirectional vision of the market and therefore produce from ‘back’ to the client without knowing the needs of the market or that you are really interested as a manufacturer.


Additionally, Lean Six-Sigma 3P seeks to meet both, customer needs and requirements. As such, the beginning of product design and development is where we initiate. Accordingly, this is to ensure lean products and processes that require fewer resources such as:

  1. Time
  2. Materials
  3. Capital.

The Lean Six-Sigma 3P method typically involves a varied group of people. Once assembled, the group subsequently, embarks on a multi-day creative process. This process is meant to identify alternative ways to meet customer needs using different product or process designs.Lean Six-Sigma 3P is used to develop products which are easier to use and maintain. Lean Six-Sigma 3P is also used to design production processes that eliminate multiple steps from the current process.  This leads to less equipment or machines that are sized to meet production needs.  Ultimately, these successes can be made permanent by soliciting the help of the best MES Software Systems on the market.

What areas do the 3P +1 in Lean Six-Sigma focus on? 

Lean 3P offers the potential to make a significant leap in design improvements. It can, in-turn, improve production performance and eliminate waste at many levels. Some experts say, beyond what can be achieved through continuous improvement of existing processes.

  • P1. Preparation
  • P2. Process
  • P3. Production
  • +1 People

Eliminate waste to become a more efficient and productive operation. Eliminating all that activity that does not add value to the process or the product. This is required because it does not add value to the customer!

Lean Six-Sigma 3P – What are the steps in the Three Ps also know as 3P

  1. Define Goals: Process or Product Design Needs and/or Objective.
  2. Diagram and or Images
  3. Find and Analyze Alternatives
  4. Sketching and/or Prototyping 
  5. Host Design Review
  6. Development of the Project Implementation/Deployment Plan

Lean 3P Steps Explained

  • Define Goals and also needs for the product or design process: Then, the work team seeks to understand the needs that must be met by the main client. As such, they will evaluate components and raw materials to assess the role each plays in the process or product.
  • Diagram: A FishBone or other diagram is created to demonstrate the flow of raw material to finished product. Then, the project team analyzes each branch of the diagram, and brainstorms ideas to help describe the change..
  • Find and analyze examples in nature: The project team then tries to find examples of each keyword in nature. The examples that best exemplify and helps us better understand how our process would occur in nature, will then be chosen. Next, team members will then emphasize how nature works in the example and why. Each of the unique qualities of the natural process are dissected.  Consequently, team members discuss how the natural process can then be applied to the manufacturing process stage.
  • Sketch and evaluate the process: Sub-teams are formed and each member of these teams will draw different methods of carrying out the process in question. Afterword, each sketch is evaluated. Following the sketching, the best of the best are chosen to develop the prototype of the process and the product.
    Build, Test and Select Prototypes: The team’s prototypes are evaluated along with the chosen process. Often times over several days, working with different variations of the prototypes to ensure that the criteria are met.
  • Review the design or process: Once a concept has been selected for further refinement, it is presented to a larger group (including the original product designers) for feedback.
    Develop a project execution plan: If the project is selected to proceed, the team, will then, selects a project leader. As such, The leaders helps determine the timing, process, resource needs, as well as the distribution of responsibilities for its completion.
Fishbone for Lean 3P MeS SoftwAre Ujigami


+1 : People!

Emphatically, the people aspect of any business is paramount to achieving success.  It’s important, from a leadership standpoint, to have a strong strategy for attracting and developing the right people and tools such as highly flexible MES Software system.


Have a goal and/or purpose for each employee or prospected employee.


Define very clear roles, responsibilities, exceptions and ensure they are understood


Teach them using all available tools such as process map, images, video and mentorship. Educate them to understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. Confirm they understand what success is and what failure is


Supply them with excellent training, supply a trainer or mentor they can shadow, allow them to do “practice runs” where possible


Encourage 2-way communication so they know they can share possible improvements and learn from others


A focused roadmap to help us assist employees is the Deming 14 key principles for management to follow:

Dr. Deming’s 14 Points for Management


Lean Six-Sigma – 3P and the Environment

The potential benefits of applying Lean Six-Sigma 3Ps are the elimination of waste in the product and process. Therefore, these techniques can have a profound impact on environmental quality, avoiding design approaches that produce detrimental environmental impacts. Additionally, Lean 3P looks to the nature of design models, where processes are inherently waste-free. Whereas, above all, it also lowers the material and energy requirements for production. Therefore, the elimination of inventory and warehouses ensures less space is taken used or wasted. As such, reducing the environmental impacts associated with that space. Some possible examples are e.g.: materials like less use of heating, cooling, lighting, more cleaning and maintenance, more useful space.

Lean 3P eliminates or replaces process steps with one that requires less cycle time, materials, and/or cost. Lean 3P also encourages the design of products that are less complex. This , in-turn, often translates to less use of parts, as such, fewer materials or types of materials. These designs improve the ease of disassembly and recycling of products, requirements of public environmental agencies.

Failure to incorporate environmental considerations into a 3P process potentially leads to the disregard of pollution prevention and sustainability options.

3P +1 In Summary

The objective of the Lean Six-Sigma three Ps (3P) +1 is to:

Develop a sustainable process or design of a new product that meets the customer’s requirements in the most lean way possible. Additionally, experts suggest focusing on the least amount of waste, the maximum added value and to therefore, generate the least environmental impact.  Some Industry 4.0 Tools like MES Software SyStems are being harnessed to enhance and solidify manufacturing quality, process improvements and employee capabilities.


iIoTIndustry 4.0Lean Six-Sigma 3P +1