Go Lean!

Health care foodservice departments today are under considerable pressure to do more with less. Management is challenged to find savings, create efficiencies, provide safe work environments and invest wisely in sustainable yet flexible technologies. As a company that’s been a part of the health care foodservice industry for 25 years Burlodge is able to leverage its worldwide experience to develop new technologies that meet today’s demands. An excellent example of this is one of our recent developments: B-Lean.

Launched in 2007, the B-Lean project was developed as an equipment solution for a number of worldwide clients aimed at helping them to implement a small sized tray line assembly work cell to meet space challenges. As the concept evolved, it became clear that it mirrored Toyota’s highly successful Lean Principle of production. In effect, this was a method of producing a finished product through the removal of waste while implementing flow, rather than relying on a batch and queue approach.

To Toyota, the main method of lean is the reduction of three types of waste: muda or “non-value-adding work”, muri or “overburden”, and mura or “unevenness”. By addressing these waste areas, tools can then be developed to work around different situations. It was important to develop the B-Lean with Lean Thinking in mind and provide more than equipment. It was vital that Burlodge provide a system.

Perfect Flow

In short, Lean implementation focuses on getting the right things to the right place at the right time, and doing so in the right quantity. The goal is to achieve perfect flow while minimizing waste, remaining flexible and adapting to change. As these systems were developed and implemented they have evolved, providing operators with a considerable number of options to choose from. Burlodge offers two B-Lean Equipment systems that are interchangeable. Apart from the creation of new and improved design features of the B-Lean equipment, Burlodge has also gleaned some key insights about implementing Lean System thinking in the kitchen.

The concept of Lean must be understood, appreciated, and embraced by employees as they will soon own the equipment and operate it, which means owning the process and delivering value. The cultural and managerial factors of Lean are just as important as—if not more important—than the actual tools or methods of production itself. Unsuccessful Lean tool implementation without sustained benefit is often blamed on a weak understanding of Lean within the organization. This is why Burlodge has developed B-Lean as a system so that our experts can help move the Lean concept forward through successful implementation.

An Adaptable Approach

Providing the necessary tools and support, The B-Lean System by Burlodge allows operators to abandon conventional tray line assembly of patient meals and establish a very effective new Lean world that can adapt to an operation’s everyday challenges. This Lean System uses a very flexible work cell design that can be configured into an array of work cell formats on the fly. The equipment system is comprised of components that can be used when needed and placed where it makes the most sense to maintain continuous flow based on circumstances or production patterns.

Increasingly, there are more locations trying to provide different models of meal delivery under one roof, whether it’s driven by client or patient need, and/or ability. Some locations wish to offer a room service system to one client group while at the same time provide pre-assembled trays to the balance of the hospital. Space as well as existing tray line placement and construction are major barriers to overcome in these situations. That’s why the B-Lean System equipment has been developed to be perfectly flexible so it can be implemented in all different spaces and for a variety of needs.

The Benefits of B-Lean

The B-Lean solution from Burlodge will provide the following benefits to an operation:

  1. Capital avoidance associated with the replacement of existing tray lines (in need of replacement due to age or length)
  2. Less staff to operate – depending on the current benchmark, the facility could save between 15-30% in labour at the tray line
  3. Improved ergonomics for the staff – often seen as a soft cost but in some cases the cost of illness due to repetitive strain, or absence due to muscle ache due to poor working conditions (twisting, crouching) can be quantified and B-Lean reduces these environmentally related injuries or non-productive time
  4. Less space is required which often allows the operation to give back space or use the space for revenue generating activities or other essential, value oriented initiatives
  5. Improved tray accuracy – in a recent B-Lean study, tray accuracy improved by 20% after Lean principles were put in place
  6. Less maintenance cost with B-Lean equipment (B-Lean 1 and 2) than traditional electronic equipment and less down-time. All this is less risk overall.
  7. Greater flexibility to adapt to the future as well as greater flexibility to adapt throughout the day to each meal period’s special requirements