Food Waste Tracking Company Applies Lean Six Sigma to Improve Foodservice Industry

Food Waste Tracking Company Applies Lean Six Sigma to Improve Foodservice Industry

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Given the problems of hunger in some parts of the world, it’s a sad fact that food waste still plagues the food industry. By the estimations of a recent report from Boston Consulting Group, about 1.6 billion tons of food worth $1.2 trillion goes to waste every year.

An Oregon-based software company is attempting to change that with the first automated food tracking system. The company, called LeanPath, used methodologies found in Lean Six Sigma to help design the program.

As with other Lean Six Sigma-focused approaches, they are looking to cut waste. In this case, it involves the costs associated with wasted food.

How Food Is Wasted

The connection between LeanPath and Lean Six Sigma can be seen in the company’s four principal areas for reducing food waste: measure, analyze, optimize and empower. It bears a close resemblance to Six Sigma’s DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) and DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify) methodologies.

How does food get wasted? LeanPath CEO Andrew Shakman said some of the reasons include decisions made by foodservice operators that include:

  • Making too much food because of fear they will run out of food for customers
  • Overstocking items on the shelf at grocery stores
  • Throwing out perfectly fine food over concerns about food safety

The stated goal of LeanPath is to “end avoidable food waste in our world.” With so many issues connected with food waste – including hunger, greenhouse gases, land use and water resources – solving the food waste problem can also help with many other issues.

Designing the Software

As with Lean Six Sigma, LeanPath’s software first turns to data collection and analysis to define the problem – in this case, how much food is being wasted.

The tracking system allows food-related companies – from restaurants and grocery stores to wholesalers – to track how much food they stock and how much is sold. More importantly, it allows them to see how and why the food was wasted.

It also allows them to test different strategies and determine which works best to minimize the problem.

By telescoping in on the details of how wasted food happens, organizations can then take steps to better manage food supply and cut back on waste. LeanPath now works with 1,200 kitchens around the world.

Not Alone

Other companies also have taken a Lean Six Sigma-oriented approach to cutting waste and solving challenges. Starbucks used Lean to design an approach to customer service that combines efficiency with human contact. Whole Foods also used Six Sigma methods to define how it operates each store.

Perhaps the closest example to what LeanPath is attempting to accomplish comes from college students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, who used Six Sigma practices to reduce food waste on the college campus.

 

The post Food Waste Tracking Company Applies Lean Six Sigma to Improve Foodservice Industry appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.




Original: https://www.sixsigmadaily.com/food-waste-tracking-company-applies-lean-six-sigma-to-improve-foodservice-industry/
By: James LoPresti
Posted: September 14, 2018, 11:00 am

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