Fast startup to quality production of food manufacturing machinery is the goal for both food manufacturers and equipment suppliers. With the shared objective to achieve a successful Site Acceptance Test, it is critical to have a management system that reliably achieves the result. Lean Daily Management is a proven approach to achieve shorter equipment startup time, so quality production can be quickly realized.

Lean-based systems are widely used in food manufacturing, and are based on the Toyota Production System. At its core, Lean emphasizes continuous flow of value in Gemba. Value is defined in this example as equipment producing at target performance levels for safety, quality, cost and efficiency. Gemba is where value is created; in this case it is the equipment installation site. Lean Daily Management is a collection of Lean principles, applied to equipment startup, which reduces the time to achieve quality production.

Lean Daily Management includes several key points: a daily meeting, a Gemba board, and 5S.  The daily meeting is held at the beginning of each work shift, with participation from all relevant stakeholders who are active in the current phase of the project.  Project managers from both customer and equipment vendor attend the meeting throughout the entire project lifecycle, as do equipment vendor engineers and technicians. Third party contractor attendance is also needed, and these team members change as the work content changes on the job site.  Customer and vendor executives are welcomed and encouraged to attend the meeting as their schedules allow. This gives management visibility into the project, and allows team members to ask for help, when needed.

The daily meeting is led by a project manager, and starts with a review of safety. Recent incident reports are reviewed, special work permits for the day are discussed, and a safety topic is addressed with the team. A work plan for the day is then reviewed, with the goal that all team members understand what is expected of them. The meeting closes with the opportunity for team members to ask for help or information. Requests that cannot be addressed in the meeting are recorded on the Gemba board, and the project manager leads their resolution.  The meetings are normally five to ten minutes in duration.

A Gemba board is most frequently a large white dry erase board, mounted on wheels, so it can be moved around the job site as work progresses. The board contains information and KPIs on the core categories of Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost. Safety has been addressed earlier in this article, while quality means performance of the machinery at specified levels. An example of quality is when the machine sterilization sequence achieves the proper kill rate in the specified time window. It can also mean that packages are properly sealed and meet inspection test requirements.

Delivery in a project context means adhering to the project timeline.  Schedules should be posted on the Gemba board in at least two timescales. First, is the overall project schedule, which shows at a high level all work needed to bring the equipment into production.  Second, is a plan for the next several days or week, communicating what each team member is focused on achieving.  Third, an optional timescale can show activity planned in the next several weeks, which gives team members the opportunity to help others or work ahead, if their own work is completed ahead of schedule.

Cost on the Gemba board means both the cost to implement the installation and startup phase of the project, and the cost to achieve quality production.  Actual progress compared with goals are easily tracked over time, and posted on the board so the team can receive feedback on their results.

5S is a core Lean tool, and its essence is a well-organized and clearly identified workplace.  This can be particularly challenging in a project environment, where the production floor begins as an empty field, and is transformed into a clean area for food production. At a high level, hand tools should be returned each day to toolboxes or workbenches, and materials should be stored in a central area and be well organized.  Signage and tape lines on the floor are ways to communicate where tools are materials are to be placed.  The benefit of the effort to implement 5S is that team members are more efficient in their work, which supports the goals of safety, quality, delivery and cost.

In summary, Lean Daily Management is a powerful approach to quickly and reliably bring food production machinery into quality production. Lean Daily Management is based on continuous improvement tools originating in the Toyota Production System, emphasizing Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost. This process brings together all the necessary stakeholders to the project site, so that value can be delivered and work can be progressed continuously. Team members and associates from all levels in the organization of food manufacturer and equipment supplier are welcomed into the process, thereby increasing engagement, which ultimately gets the job done faster and with higher quality.