Do you see Lean tools used in real life? Why, YES absolutely!

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Do you see Lean tools used in real life? Why, YES absolutely!

Are you someone who likes to cook or bake?  Do you have a preferred type of recipe book?  I do.  In my case the recipe must have a photograph of the dish I am making.  Why you say, well that is how I know what it is meant to turn out like or at minimum the photograph is a suggestion for serving the dish for me.

Well, let’s look at a recipe & how some of the Lean tools have been applied to something like a recipe.  Most recipes consist of a number of parts namely; (i) a photograph of the dish, (ii) the ingredients and equipment required & (iii) the method which includes the oven temperature and cooking time.  Now how is Lean relevant here?  Well the list of ingredients & equipment are your typical tools to do the job.  The method is the one best way this chef or cook believes to achieve this recipe.

So let’s look at a recipe again & its components and show you what & how some of the Lean tools are used:-

  1. Picture of the dish – This is a great example of how to use ‘Visual Management’.  This is a visual representation of the dish you are about to make.  Often this is the reason why some of us make the dish.
  2. Ingredients & equipment listed – This is an example of 5S.  The listing of the tools to do the job whether they are ingredients or equipment needed to reproduce the dish.  This helps to avoid having unnecessary clutter on the counter or tools that will not assist you during this process.  It also ensures the right quantity of the ingredients to get the best results.
  3. Method – This is Standard work.  The one best way to conduct this recipe with a guaranteed outcome.  You will follow each step in the order in which it is called out every time you make this dish.  Everyone else reading this recipe will also do the same.  By following these steps this also guarantees the amount of preparation time & cooking time required.

Another way of looking at the Cooking time is the use of Takt time.  This tells you how long it takes to cook the dish & in this amount of time it will be ready.  So if you were reproducing this recipe by making one at a time, this is the duration in which each one will take.  Therefore, giving you predictability on when the dish will be ready.

Now without even realizing it, you have used a series of Lean tools while produce something tasty. Happy cooking!!

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Submitted by our Lean Six Sigma Tutor, Nicola Donohoe


Nicola Donohue

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