Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Applying Lean to the kitchen; Fewer dishes, less work!

I have been using flow to reduce the work for dishes and reduce the number of utensils used in a day. Collecting some data, I determined that we were using around 21 cups a day as a family of six. In other words, we were using reusable cups like they were disposable. Also, the dishes piled up in the sink in a batch and queue system all the time making more work for my wife and I after a hard days work. So, kaizen to the rescue.
  • The device below is a small cup holder I made out of a shoebox to "meter" the cup use to reduce one and done usage.
  • In the morning everyone gets a cup-upside down means it clean so they get a fresh one everyday.
  • The cup is flipped over when it’s first used and remains upright and used all day.

  • Each hole has the initial of the persons name next to it for each person’s home position.

  • The rubber band has their name on it and they can put it on so if they take the cup away it won’t get mixed up with the others.

This improvement alone has reduced the number of dishes used by a significant amount and we're down to about one washer load a day. So, we're using fewer dishes, less water to wash, less dishwasher detergent, and less energy because we are doing fewer loads. The other nice benefit is that we are seeing a cleaner kitchen and with the next kaizen I will show you, the kids are doing more of the work.

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

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