Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lean Manufacturing in the Food Service Industry

Lean manufacturing is an organization’s viewpoint to add value for the customer with less work, and also to classify the resources which don’t bring any value as waste. While Toyota created the principles of modern lean manufacturing by creating an extremely efficient and consistent manufacturing system, this practice also applies to many other industries such as healthcare, services and banking.

One of the industries that makes great use of lean manufacturing is the food service industry. The concept is basically to improve every process in preparation of the food and it states that the better utilization of resources will decrease the amount of waste.

For a food service industry, one of the main areas where lean manufacturing can be applied to is the food preparation area, or the kitchen. Each time a standard menu item is prepared, chefs can analyze the ingredients and restructure the process to eliminate waste. Furthermore, each time an item is ordered, based on the customer preferences, the ordering process can be changed in a way that it will allow to complete the orders with the minimum possible waste.

While the food preparing area is an important place to implement lean manufacturing techniques, the food serving area is also crucial in terms of eliminating waste. This area includes the serving area (tables) and/or cash registers. Since this is a customer facing area, the training of the staff working in this area has a high importance in adding more value to the customers. The analysis of the food pathways between the kitchen and this area might also show the best way of flow, which would decrease the time spent between the preparation and the service of the food. Ensuring that there are no any two people with overlapping jobs and determining the points where the waste can be reduced such as decreasing the number of paper products offered are also good practices in eliminating waste and increasing customer satisfaction.

Although lean manufacturing is a very popular practice in the food services industry which increases the value added to the customer, it is often hard to implement it as there are some obstacles such as lack of customer patience and constant visibility by the management. Thus, the following question comes to mind: is lean manufacturing the best practice to add more value to the customer, or would dealing with those obstacles be more beneficial in terms of the value added?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.