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In the Lean manufacturing world “3P” (Production Preparation Process) is a method for product and production design (i.e. designing a production process and production space layout for a particular product). The goal is to develop a process or product that meets customer requirements in the “least-waste way”. It is not difficult to make the intellectual leap to using 3P in facility design and process improvements, particularly in healthcare where the activities of “producing” and “preparing” services for patients depends heavily on a well-tuned “process”.
This activity is typically accomplished by conducting a multi-day “3P event” in which a team rapidly creates and tests potential designs.   The goal is to optimize flow and value to the customer. The team focuses on the processes and space related to one service line or department and is comprised of cross-functional members essential to the work. 
During a 3P event the team undertakes the following activities:
•Use Lean tools and methods to “design out” waste from the start
•Brainstorm alternative ways to meet customer needs using different processes/flows
•Test and analyze each alternative
•Evaluate each alternative against defined criteria
Even though 3P is a Lean method from manufacturing, the translation to hospital design is simple. A team is designing a new space (not a product) but is still analyzing process and determining how to best meet the customer’s needs. The team develops options for the design, tests them via 2D models or mock-ups, and evaluates the design options against determined criteria. 
Charrette:   Any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. ... Each sub-group presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.  (Source: Wikipedia)
The Lean methodology 3P, combined with the common architectural practice of a charrettes is a successful way to guide users and design team representatives through problem solving and design solutions. Common charrette techniques are applied during the test and analyze activity of the 3P event. Sub-groups are challenged to brainstorm several alternatives to process flows and test different associated space layouts. The rigor applied during charrettes allows for breakthrough solutions and collaboration amongst the team.
The layout development and testing is often done using a design practice known as “gaming” with 2D pieces of the new space, as shown in the figure below.   

3P for Hospital Design


Contact the Lean Healthcare West office to learn more about 3P for Hospital Design: (503) 416-4700  or