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LEAN MANUFACTURING VIEW FROM THE DESIGNER


Lean is certainly exerting a growing influence at the kitchen design and planning phase too, and is a useful tool for consultants. “As a design consultant I can


“We are not playing the role of designer, but we are helping the design team find the technology to reduce costs and increase quality”


quality, whether it is at the design stage for a new space or an existing space.” For example, kitchen expansion often requires additional equipment, some of which might be single-use, so Manitowoc is examining how to save space with multi-use equipment. “If you look at the kitchen from a Lean


perspective, some of the limitations are in due to the equipment and appliances as kitchen design becomes more sophisticated. So, we look at the entire kitchen to apply Lean principles to the equipment design to reduce both footprint and cost. This is our fitKitchen programme and this will allow us to innovate the kitchen of the future,” says Hanniffy. Manitowoc’s new service shows that kitchen operators – as well as equipment manufacturers – can apply Lean. It enables back-of-house improvements, such as streamlined preparation and waste reduction through constant analysis of standard menu items or optimisation of ordering processes through in-depth analysis of demand patterns. Kitchen workstations can now be reorganised in ways that echo how manufacturers organise more efficient production cells.


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take the Lean principle of making obvious what adds value and reducing what does not,” says Eric Norman. “Items that do not add value to the project would be considered waste in this equation. This approach would ensure that the client is receiving the best planning and design for their particular project by making sure that value is always front and centre. Another major part of Lean manufacturing is improving efficiency, which can of course be achieved when planning and designing a kitchen.” “Waste can mean many


different things. There could be waste of labour hours, food products, chemicals or paper supplies and so on. Lean identifies waste in three different ways – waste within the manufacturing process, waste created through unevenness in workload and waste through overburden. If we keep those three waste streams in mind as we design, it allows us to manage each one individually and work on the ultimate goal of eliminating that waste through effective design,” he adds. To Norman, addressing waste through unevenness equates to just-in- time


manufacturing. Each workstation takes charge of its own ingredients and managing their readiness. Waste through overburden refers to breaking down processes into standardised elements to ensure every task is done simply and completely. Reducing waste within the manufacturing process means looking at the kitchen as a whole and determining what adds value and what does not. “Kitchens are mini manufacturing facilities, so this can be one of the easiest areas to take a Lean approach,” Norman adds. “To streamline food preparation, for example, you could map out how food products move through the facility and are


prepared. Lean utilises work


cells in manufacturing and the kitchen can be thought of in the same way. Each workstation is a work cell and can be standardised to produce certain items.” Efficiency and improved


workflow are instinctively part of the consultant’s mindset, but Norman believes much could be gained through a conscious and deliberate focus on Lean principles. “We as designers are always striving to improve workflow, manage food costs and inventory, and keep what is important to the client at the forefront of our design and eliminate non-value add items,” he observes. “Many foodservice consultants do this on a daily basis and may not know that they are, in essence, following the Lean model. Consultants can use Lean more effectively by setting up a list of tools that would allow them to follow the Lean model through the design process.”


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