Lean your Thanksgiving Dinner

While Lean is usually applied to the workplace, once you have opened your eyes to eliminating waste and increasing efficiency, the possibilities are endless. Today, we will take an example of how you can Lean your Thanksgiving celebration.

From a manufacturing point of view, a Thanksgiving dinner involves producing several different product lines (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, stuffing) and delivering them all at the same time. What can you do to reduce turnover time for the kitchen area? You could sort out the spices you are going to use and make sure they are easily reachable. Consider creating extra workspace, would an additional cutting board assist in the preparation time or would it create more dishes (waste) afterwards?

Consider who is able to help prepare the meals, are there some skill gaps? Can some tasks be handled by small, independent teams (say providing the drinks) while the higher skilled employees tackle the main courses?

Think about the concept of standard work, and how it can be applied to setting the table for a large crowd. Can you create a standard place setting and have others replicate it?

What about waste? 

For a meal, that could mean too much food (especially if it overwhelms your capacity to store it) or it could mean too many dirty dishes. Can you cook a meal in the same dish you are serving it in?

While it might seem a little bit silly to apply this sort of rigor to a casual event like Thanksgiving dinner, it is amazing the benefits Lean can provide to a whole range of situation. What can you do to make your life easier and Leaner?

November 24, 2014

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