A collection of resources and commentary providing an introduction to supply chain management and related systems for students, practitioners, and anyone else interested in learning more about how to design, manufacture, transport, store, deliver, and manage products.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Lean Production at McDonalds
McDonalds has been one of the key
players in the fast food market since the mid twentieth century. It has been
faced by tough competition since then, which has affected every aspect of its
organisation. McDonlads has maintained its position in the market inspite of
all the competition by adopting the ‘lean’ focus.
The key ‘lean’ practices folowed by
McDonalds are described below.
The key principle of lean philosophy is to
instantaneously meet demand, and at the same time maintain quality and
McDonalds adopted the following strategies to deal
with the following sources of waste.
Earlier McDonalds used to prepare sandwiches in
batches and keep them warm in warming bins. This would reduce the serving time,
but it earned them a bad reputation as the wastage increased. To deal with
this, they have now started to keep patties, salad and other sides ready, and
combine them into finished sandwiches only once an order is placed. The time
taken during this process is a few minutes, enabling a quick response to any
demand change. Thus the risk of overproduction is eliminated.
The use of modern technology has helped to drastically
reduce the waiting time. A computer system communicates the order place by a
customer to the production staff as soon as the order is placed. The modern
cooking equipment and the highly skilled workforce at McDonalds prepare the
order in less than a minute. Thus the processing of the entire order takes only
three of minutes.
Processing wastes take place mainly because of
excessive handling of the products being processed. At McDonalds the ‘Speedy
System’ is used for assembling the order. This system which was introduced by
the McDonald brothers is still in use.
Food Production area at McDonalds
As seen in Figure1, the different operations are
united and linked in the order of the assembly line. This reduces handling of
the items, thereby reducing wastage during the order processing.
According to the lean manufacturing principles, the organization
should get rid of the inventory as holding it incurs opportunity cost. But McDonalds
should meet demand at all the times. So to deal with this requirement, it has a
sophisticated stock control system which helps to manage the process and
eliminate wastage due to overstocking.
Wastage due to defects is avoided by McDonalds by
simplifying the process. Their high standards are achieved by highly trained
and motivated staff on duty. As a result defects are reduced and consequently
wastage is reduced.
McDonalds places a great deal of importance on total
employee involvement. Emphasis is placed on working as a team and involve
everyone in the process. Every person, from the supplier to the staff serving
the customers, everyone is involved in the process, fostering a lean culture. Also
at McDonalds, they believe in multi-skilling, i.e every person should be aware
of every stage of the operation. This helps build knowledge in the team. Apart
from that, the assembly line system gives a sense of ownership and
responsibility to everyone involved in the process.
Achieving high quality with no wastage is the lean
principle. It would be unrealistic to believe that McDonalds has achieved that.
So they constantly try to improve as an organization and get closer to achieving
Dixon, Nicole. "An Analysis Of How Mc Donalds Delivers Its Products And Services." An Analysis Of How Mc Donalds Delivers Its Products And Services. N.p., 18 Mar. 2010. Web. 10 Sept. 2014.