LEAN Thinking Drives Burlodge

The Serious Savings behind Improved Ergonomics and Efficiencies

As the saying goes, ‘Change your perspective and you can change your world.’ At Burlodge, we actively embrace that thinking by continually taking strides to examine and reassess how we can help foodservice managers do a better job of improving efficiencies while increasing client satisfaction. We firmly believe that focusing on small details can help make significant progress, but on occasion we admit that larger measures are required to effect noticeable change.

That leap forward for many clients will be found in our Lean System. This suite of operational tools and strategies aims to help clients operate more efficiently and economically. It’s helped distinguish the Burlodge brand from others and, thanks to the generosity of a number of pioneering clients who worked in close collaboration with us since 2009, we’ve been able to evolve a trio of Lean services, including Leaning Tray Assembly, Leaning the Department and Leaning Culture.

It bears pointing out that as food equipment professionals at Burlodge we’re always mindful of the human component with respect to how people work with our equipment. Better design should inherently facilitate easier operations and this is the inspiration for our Lean System: ergonomic design that accommodates natural human movement. Staff are not forced to overextend their reach or physically exert themselves in a way that strains the body. On the contrary, this design intends to enhance the efficiency of an operation regardless of the person using the equipment.

Leaning Tray Assembly

Discussions with clients have for years revolved around rethinking how meal trays were assembled. While industry buzz revolved around tray assembly PODS, no one had devised the equipment specifically for a POD arrangement. That was the inspiration for B-Lean as we had to effectively revolutionize our approach to service. Casting aside conventional tray assembly we focused instead on a more logical, free-flowing and thoroughly ‘human’ strategy.

The breakthrough of B-Lean is found in its remarkable adaptability. Here is a system that comprises a range of different components to create work cells that best suit the setting. Equipment is added or removed based on available space and how best to maximize the meal service efficiency. Workflow can adapt at a moment’s notice, while restocking, cleaning and mobilizing individual parts is made more effortless than ever.

The ergonomically designed, pod-based approach ensures everything required to assemble a meal – food options, trays, flatware and condiments – is within easy reach, while managing, piecing together, moving and cleaning is remarkably improved. In addition, portioned food slides and condiment bins operate on a gravity-feed design while tray roller tables, basket and tray lowerators, entrée stations and dishware carts all promote ease of accessibility.

The results for those facilities that embraced B-Lean have been dramatic. A proven time–savings of between 30-40% has an immediate impact on bottom line financials, while the savings in labour or the reallocation of labour sources has registered an increase in patient satisfaction scores. It bears noting that a number of clients are implementing B-Lean as they change over to a Spoken Menu, as this allows staff to spend more time visiting patients bedside to take menu orders. That increase in face-time has helped up satisfaction rates as well.

Leaning the Department

As a first measure of promoting a Lean approach among our clients, Burlodge took the initiative of training four of our staff members in the summer and early fall of 2012 to become Green Belt Certified through recognized agency, Leading Edge. Fully versed in the dynamics, theory and application of Lean thinking, these core members are building upon their past operations experience in helping to work with clients to develop specific strategies aimed at auditing and creating specific Lean paths that respond to the specifics issues that each client needs to refine. For those clients now looking to develop greater efficiencies, the Burlodge Green Belt team can help conduct a proper assessment and strategy of foodservice operations.

Leaning the Culture

Nicole Evans of Burlodge went through and received her Green Belt in Lean training recently and has now gone on to earn her certified White Belt Trainer status through Leading Edge. This means Nicole can present one-day seminars to healthcare staff to help them acquire their White Belt Certification, which we think is only going to grow in demand.

This one-day White Belt program introduces the basic Lean tools and the accompanying philosophy around improvement. Participants will understand the fundamentals of Lean Thinking and the benefits of successfully implementing these principles. Personnel from both the management and support resources side of an operation will learn the questions that need to be asked in helping to generate worthwhile data and developing hands-on projects. They learn to plan, control and oversee the implementation and continuation of this program to help strengthen the operation from within.

Learning Outcomes

The certification process is thorough and provides hands-on scenarios for foodservice professionals to help communicate the key messages and then readily put Lean principles into action. Naturally the course goes hand-in-hand with the implementation of the B-Lean tray assembly, but even if B-Lean is not used at the facility, the program is always helpful in promoting a culture of value-oriented thinking.

Perhaps that’s the first step your foodservice operation needs to better appreciate what the B-Lean system can mean for sustainable, long-term change that will improve efficiencies throughout your organization. When you’re ready to change your perspective on how your operation can do more with less, just let us know and we’ll help you to start thinking Lean, too.