The client, a bakery business, has recently relocated one of its major industrial size bakeries to a new site. Unfortunately, weak work practices had followed the relocation to the new site and the operation now suffered from poor housekeeping, low employee engagement and high levels of waste and defects. The client decided that a rapid transformation project was needed.

The Solution

After a quick operational review and initial disunions with the client, the initial phase focused on 5S. This started in the warehouse and was quickly implemented across the entire site. The business achieved dramatic improvements in housekeeping and cleanliness (essential in a food operation).

Secondly, visual standards, control boards (Kamishibai) and 5S auditing was established to ensure routine tasks were completed as planned. 5S was used to control material locations and to ensure that key ingredients were always available (together with a kanban system) where they were needed. The Kamishibai also included routine cleanliness and first levels maintenance tasks on key machinery to improve equipment performance and reduce downtime. Finally SMED methodology was used to decrease the time of change over from one product to another.

The introduced changes were then used as the platform to introduce a Management System – a structured way of both managing the changed operational flows as well as production processes. It was based around a KPI board and daily meeting in each department reviewing the performance. There was also a daily site level meeting in the production office. Key metrics of waste and labour cost were established for the first time. Each meeting resulted in a problem solving action plan and a continuous improvement strategy.
Finally key product lines were streamlined using value stream mapping and Kaizen events where all production line team members participated.

The Results

The client is now using the site as a benchmark for outstanding performance, cleanliness and efficiency.

  • Productivity has increased significantly as lines can be reset quickly.
  • The waiting time for raw materials has disappeared and control of key ingredients has improved significantly.
  • Downtime due to mechanical issues has dramatically reduced.
  • Food standards audits are performed daily and non-conformances are minimal and quickly dealt with.
  • Every area has a daily meeting where quality, cost and waste and reviewed and issues solved. This has resulted in major reductions in waste and labour.
  • Employees at all levels are now engaged in further improvements and supervisors are now working on further improvements.


Can similar Lean project be implemented in other industries?

Yes, it can, and it should!. It does require hard work with a dedicated team and the understanding that it will not happen overnight. However, once these changes have been put in place, the result is immediate. Please contact us to find out how we can help You.