Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Applying Lean in the kitchen: Kids loading dishes...

In my previous post, we have been working to use continuous flow to help make it easier to process the dishes. Here is my innovation to help the kids to use flow rather than "batch and queue" dirty dishes:

Yeah, it's not going to win any art prizes but it is effective in getting the kids to put their plates and silverware in the dishwasher. The sign was designed to cover the drain hole in the sink and I placed it under a plastic lid to keep it from getting wet. So, when the kidlets come to the kitchen sink, they see the instructions. This signage only comes out when the washer is empty and has room for the next load of dirty dishes. My process is the run the wash cycle just before bedtime and put away the clean dishes when the coffee is brewing first thing in the morning. Because of this, the dishwasher and sign are out all day capturing used dishes. I haven't measured the success rate but I believe it's about 80% of the dirty dinnerware gets put in. The kids follow the sign to the letter...which leads me to my next improvement and change the sign soon to read, "Rinse your dish and place it in the washer". ;)
My oldest daughter came home from college and told me that she was going to put her utensils in the sink but she saw the sign and put them in the washer. Even college students can be trained...
My next post is about shaving down the time to put away clean dishes and our "world record" unloading time. See you then!
What have you improved today?
Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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