Lessons from the buffet.

I had lunch a few months ago with a client, just at the local club, nothing fancy, as we discussed the very challenging problems of  operational flow through his plant. It was a buffet, simple, serve yourself, and as luck would have it, a couple of tour busses landed at about the same time we did, and the lines were awful.

Stay with me here!.

Somebody very smart realised the problem, and did two things.

First, they moved the tables a couple of feet from the wall, encroaching on the unused dance floor, so people could use both sides, doubled the speed,

Second, they broke the tables up, so the clearly entre type stuff was separated from the mains by a couple of feet, encouraging people to go once for entre, and back later for mains. Lines disappeared as if by magic!

The point: watching this happen, the penny dropped, and now my clients factory now looks markedly different to what it was,  and cycle time has dropped, as has inventory, waste, and outside storage. What has increased is throughput, and the number of smiles on the staffs faces as they work in an environment much less  cluttered, less driven by the urgent order being expedited, and much more productive.

About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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