DEMEP proposed a 3P (Product, Preparation, Process) Kaizen Event for Dentsply, bringing together 15 employees from all areas of the company to participate. A typical 3P event occurs early in the product design and initiates the co-development of product and process to meet business targets. In this event, the product design could not be altered, so the team focused on examining how the new technology could be integrated into the manufacturing process.
The cross-functional team from Dentsply worked with the experts from DEMEP to map the process, determining the critical process design parameters and analyzing demand for all the products in the value stream. Next, DEMEP divided the team into two sub-groups to develop alternatives for the process. The groups created full scale mockups to evaluate alternative designs against the established parameters. The team then converged on a final design, combining attributes of both designs. A new full scale mockup simulated the manufacturing process, allowing the team to see how the system would work prior to actual implementation. This way, the company could foresee potential bottlenecks and avoid costly mistakes in advance of using the equipment. Finally, a project owner took all of the action items developed during the 3P and made sure they were seen through to completion. Dentsply built a new testing laboratory closer to the production process and the company successfully utilized the new technology to produce a higher quality product at a faster rate.