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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

7 Ways

Hello Lean Nation,

Today I want to blog briefly on the concept of 7 ways. This concept is used frequently in new product/process development improvement. Formally know as Production Process Preparation, or 3P, 7 ways is a method used to encourage creativity to generate multiple solutions to meet a customer need.

The basic concept begins with a voice of the customer activity. I will blog about this separately at a later date. Once the needs from the voice of the customer analysis are identified, then a process map of the new work flow is created.

This process map then identifies the key function for analysis. 7 different solutions on how to accomplish the key function are then generated. Each alternative is then evaluated against the customer needs to identify a positive correlation, and negative correlation, or no correlation.

The scores can be summed up using a pugh analysis and the alternatives that best meet the customer needs are candidates to go forward for further refinement. An example is detailed for your review.

For brand new processes, the 7 ways can be generated by going back to nature. for example if we were going to create an automobile that could avoid a crash, what in nature could we study? I can think of two things off the top of my head. Birds flying in a flock and fish swimming in a school. Ever wonder why they never run into one another? Could nature have the answer to accident prevention? The answer is obviously yes.

Forcing the team to generate 7 alternatives leads to creativity. Coming up with 2 or 3 ways is pretty easy, but we need to get out of the box to get to 7.

I hope this approach comes in handy for you some day!

Lean blessings;

Ron Bercaw


  1. For the example posted, what is the problem being solved? I might have missed it...but this is a great summary and simple explanation of the 7 ways process. Thanks!

  2. I need to know the 7ways for the new process of manufacturing, can u please give an example regarding the same?