The Movie “The Founder” is the best example of LEAN 3P

I was on an American Airlines flight heading to Washington DC to work with a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course to company called CoStar. The following week I was to be engaged in a LEAN 3P event with a missile defense company called Aerojet Rocketdyne. Why are these details important, read on and I’ll tell you why…

While on the flight I was working on the curriculum that I was going to use for the LEAN 3P event. It was mostly complete. The curriculum was a “how-to” guide that the students could use to run 3P events in the future once we complete the initial event.

I was stuck on a simple way to explain 3P. I needed to clear my head because I had been thinking about this too long.

I put on my headphones and plugged them into the back of the small tablet attached on the back of the seat in front of me. I then scrolled through the list of the American Airlines free in-flight movies. Nothing looked interesting. I settled on a movie called “The Founder”. It was a movie about Ray Crock and the story behind the creation of McDonald’s. I thought “if it’s not good, it will at least be background noise to help me sleep”.

Fate was smiling down on me that afternoon. I was very interested with this movie because as an entrepreneur, I related to Ray Crock. The story of the founding of McDonald’s is full of lessons for a business owner. But, that wasn’t the reason fate was smiling on me …

In the movie, Ray met the original founders of McDonald’s , Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, California in 1954. He was enthralled by this small burger joint because of the speed that they could produce a burger, fries and a soda. It took less than a minute. He was used to a 20-30 minute wait at other restaurants.

The McDonald brothers go out to dinner with Ray and explain the history of McDonalds. This is where fate smiled down on me. During this conversation they explained how they designed their restaurant. Using chalk, a tennis court as a template and employees, they drew a mock-up of the kitchen on the tennis court. They then went through a number of scenarios creating imaginary hamburgers, fries, shakes and cokes from raw material to finished product in a bag given to the customer.

When I watched the McDonald’s brothers with their employees acting out multiple scenarios on the chalk mock-up they had drawn on the tennis court, I though “this has to be the best example of LEAN 3P that I have ever seen”.

Watch this YouTube video about the conversation between Ray Croc and the McDonald’s brothers. In this video is the scene with the McDonald’s brothers and their employee on a tennis court acting out multiple scenarios on a chalk drawing mock up of the McDonald’s kitchen.

Allan Coletta, who is the author of a new book titled “The Lean 3P Advantage: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Production Preparation Process” said in an interview that “Lean 3P (Production Preparation Process) is a LEAN event-driven process for developing a new product concurrently with the people that will produce it.” That is exactly what the McDonald’s brothers were doing with the mock-up. With the help of their employees, they designed and re-designed a kitchen in a cost effective environment until they had a proven design with the most effective flow.

Do you have any examples of simple but effective ways to describe LEAN 3P? If you do, please share below and help other LEAN teachers and mentors.

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