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Lean Six Sigma Helps Feed People In Need 45% Faster - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Charitable organizations often have improvement opportunities, but typically don’t have the resources of businesses. The BW Food Pantry was fortunate to have Darleen Grandison, who helped them improve their Food Box Process. Charities often rely heavily on volunteers, and it is crucial to use this help wisely – not wasting their time. The Food Box Process took 20 minutes to pack a box, limiting the capacity of the organization, and risking the loss of volunteers.

Darleen analyzed the process, and successfully applied many of the principles of Lean that she learned from GoLeanSixSigma.com. Food storage was reorganized to provide easy access and foster flow. The workspace layout was made more compact, reducing the walking distance and space requirements.

In less than a month she was able to cut cycle time to 9 minutes, reducing the walking time by 45%. While this greatly benefited the BW Food Pantry, the learning from this project can be directly applied to many other food pantries throughout the world!

– Bill Eureka, GoLeanSixSigma.com Master Black Belt Coach

Executive Summary

Business Case

Volunteers are overworked because it takes too long to prepare food boxes. Currently, the total cycle time for food box preparation is an average of 20 minutes. If this continues, the food pantry may loose volunteers who are vital to the operation of the food pantry as well as the other social programs offered through the developmental center; thus, impacting the chances of obtaining new clients.

Root Cause Analysis

  • Data showed pack food box time took longer because:
  • Food was too far from packing tables
  • Boxers, packers, and stackers crossed paths
  • Food box content changed while packing because items were not count prior to packing
  • There were no visuals of box content
  • Packing occurred on both sides of tables contributing to the congestion

Solutions Implemented

  1. Created designated zones for dry goods, canned goods, and juices/water
  2. Restructured floor layout to allow for continuous flow and to avoid overcrowding
  3. Sorted and counted food items to determine the quantities of the box content
  4. Posted visuals of box content
  5. Repositioned volunteers (packers) to work from one side of table

Project Results

  • Reduced the packed food box cycle time from 20 minutes to 9 minutes
  • Reduced the box preparation lead time by 55 minutes

Graphical Display of Improvement

BW Food Pantry Process Improvement Data - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Words

  • Boxer: Volunteer responsible for assembling boxes
  • Customer: Volunteer who delivers, unloads, assembles, packs, and stacks food items
  • Food Items: Canned goods, dry goods, and juices/water
  • Food Box Cycle Time: Time from when first food item is placed in the box until the last food item is placed in the box
  • Food Box Preparation Lead Time: Total cycle time from when request received until the last packed food box is stacked
  • Packer: Volunteer responsible for sorting, counting, and packing food items
  • Stacker: Volunteer responsible for unloading and stacking food items

Project Charter

Project Name: Reducing Food Box Preparation Cycle Time at BW Food Pantry

Problem Statement

Volunteers are overworked because it takes too long to prepare food boxes. Currently, the total cycle time for food box preparation is an average of 20 minutes. If this continues, the food pantry may loose volunteers who are vital to the operation of the food pantry as well as the other social programs offered through the developmental center; thus, impacting the chances of obtaining new clients.

Goal Statement

Decrease the food boxes total cycle time from 20 minutes to 14 minutes by September 30.

Scope

  • Process Start: First item placed in food box.
  • Process End: Last item placed in food box.
  • In: Prep Area Floor Layout, Process Steps, Box Content
  • Out: Cardboard Box Shortage, Warehouse Layout, Back Pantry Storage Area, Breads and Meat Distribution

Business Case & Benefits

Cycle time improvement for food box preparation will result in an enhanced volunteer experience. Cycle Time improvement could translate into monetary benefits because it will be seen as a well organized operation which could increase volunteerism in other areas allowing for addition clients for other service areas as well as reduce risk of injury.

Timeline

PhasePlannedActual
DefineJuly 25July 27
Measure July 31August 8
AnalyzeAugust 8August 11
ImproveAugust 15August 15
ControlSeptember 30August 22

Team Members

PositionPersonTime Commitment
Team LeadDarleen20%
SponsorIvory5%
Team MemberTomeka20%
Team MemberCindy10%
Team MemberMichael15%
Team MemberVal10%

Voice of the Customer Translation Matrix

Voice of the Customer Translation Matrix - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The project needs to address the overall Lead Time of food box preparation which impact customer wait time and motion.

SIPOC

SIPOC - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The scope of this project goes from time food donations are picked up from partners until the last packed food box is stacked.

As-Is Spaghetti Map

As-Is Spaghetti Map - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The Prep Area is congested with food, people and equipment. Packing food boxes requires a lot of walking back and forth.

Data Collection Plan

Data Collection Plan - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Data collection was assigned primarily to the Leads of the team to collect data for a week.

Baseline Data – Cycle Time

Baseline Data - Cycle Time - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The baseline data shows that food box cycle time is an averages 20 minutes.

Fishbone Diagram

Fishbone Diagram - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Initial brainstorming indicates that box content changes and small space might be potential root causes.

5 Whys

5 Whys - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Root Causes Analysis will focus on layout of space and box content.

Value-Added Flow Analysis

Value-Added Flow Analysis - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The majority of the steps are non-value added or non-value added but required leaving opportunity to eliminate waste.

Root Cause Hypothesis

Root Cause Hypothesis - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Knowledge of box content will reduce defects, waiting, and waste and improvement of floor layout will reduce congestion; thus, reducing motion.

Box Content Changes

Box Content Changes - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: An average of 80% of food boxes has content changes.

Verification of Root Causes

Verification of Root Causes - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Impact Effort Matrix

Impact Effort Matrix - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The team changed the layout of tables and food by creating zones, sorted and counted to determine quantity, positioned packers to work on one side of table, and posted visual of box content.

Risk Management

FMEA Form - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Improving layout relieves overcrowding and crossing paths. Counting, sorting, and posting visuals reduces defects, and waiting as well as lowers the risk of running out of a food item.

Monitoring & Response Plan

Monitoring & Response Plan - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The monitoring plan factors in both the leading indicators of assembling boxes, sorting and counting, and packing food boxes along with the project “Y” of Food Box Cycle Time.

BW Food Pantry Process Improvement Data

BW Food Pantry Process Improvement Data - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The improvements reduced the cycle time from 20 minutes to 9 minutes.

Innovation Transfer Opportunities

Innovation Transfer Opportunities - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: The improvements can be immediately transferred to other social services event and programs for time savings.

Appendix

BW Food Pantry Box Preparation Process

BW Food Pantry Box preparation Process - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Process has non-value-added steps.

BW Food Pantry Box preparation Process - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Improvements reduce defects, motion and waiting; thus decreasing the process time 55 minutes.

Improved Spaghetti Map

Improved Spaghetti Map - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Key Takeaway: Moving food donations closer and packing from one side of the table improved the traffic flow. Making box content known nd providing a visual also helped to improve cycle time.

Project Storyboard

Darleen Grandison

Darleen Grandison studied Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University and began her career in the Space Program. She is a certified Project Management Professional and has worked in engineering and software quality for over 20 years.

Bill Eureka

Bill Eureka is a Senior Consultant at GoLeanSixSigma.com and has over 40 years of success helping leading organizations achieve their continuous improvement goals. He’s an experienced trainer, mentor and coach with the ability to relate to all levels within an organization. Bill is also a Professor in the School of Business at Davenport University.