This paper will explore how lean management can be applied to improve identified areas at Come Again Restaurant. The restaurant is co-owned by two partners and has about ten employees. Lean management is an organization management approach that supports the concept of continuous improvement, a long-term technique to work that aims to achieve small, incremental changes in operations to improve efficiency and quality. It is based on the Toyota production system, which was pioneered in the 1940s. The approach aims to attain value for customers by optimizing resources and establishing a steady workflow so far as client needs are concerned. It seeks to eliminate wastage of time, effort, or funds by defining effective business processes. It is based on the fundamental notion of respect for people.
Overview of Lean Management Principles
There are several philosophies, which guide the type of management approaches used by organizational leaders. According to Do (2017), lean management is based on five principles which include:
- Defining value: Value refers to what the customer desires regardless of whether they know it and can express it or not. The use of qualitative and quantitative approaches such as unstructured interviews and questionnaires can be used to gather customer insights, especially for new products.
- Mapping the value stream: After identifying customer values, this phase uses them as a reference point to generate all the activities which result in these values. Activities that are considered waste and useless are discarded from the stream.
- Creating flow: Once the waste has been eliminated from the identified values, what follows is the process of ensuring that subsequent steps are implemented without barriers. Examples of measures to take in achieving the flow are splitting the phases further, redesigning the production steps, and employee training.
- Using a pull system: This phase promotes Just-In-Time delivery and manufacturing by enabling employees to make products only on demand and in the desired amount. Systems operating in this manner focus on the needs of the end consumers. Hence, there is a surety that the products produced would fulfill client requirements.
- Pursuing perfection: While the first four steps are concerned with waste removal, this phase focuses on practicing lean management to make it a constant improvement program. Employees are encouraged to seek to become perfect while maintaining focus on delivering useful solutions to customer demands.
Application of Lean Management Principles
The following are the restaurant areas which this paper will address:
Maintaining Cleanliness and Order
The restaurant’s employees should make a habit of keeping it clean and in order while adopting lean management. They should learn how to organize and utilize the restaurant space effectively (Rauch et al, 2020). The owners should consider waste management, recycling, and reduction. Waste must be disposed of promptly without having to accumulate it. Furthermore, the restaurant should incorporate the Just-In-Time approach in settling orders such that food is cooked after a customer places an order. This will prevent food wastage in case not all of it is sold.
Redesigning of Menus
When incorporating lean into their operation, Come Again Restaurant should remake its menus to fit new and returning customers’ specific needs. Cross-selling food on different plates can be a practice worth incorporating into the new menu since it will better manage resources (Rauch et al, 2020). The management can consider using seasonal goods, which the eatery can purchase at relatively lower prices, depending on the time and season, thus significantly reducing wastage.
Creation of a Culture of Learning
The fifth lean principle requires that an organization should be a learning environment. The management of Come Again Restaurant has to create learning amongst the staff. The workers should be urged to spare time to read novels, documentaries, magazines, or any other materials of educational value to pursue perfection. Furthermore, they can attend workshops, boot camps, or seminars that are avenues for acquiring knowledge and networks useful in professional and career growth (Rauch et al, 2020).
It is also essential that the management provide a platform for the staff to share the experiences and know-how acquired from the stated sources. The organization can also encourage workers to take part-time classes to improve their academic qualifications, which may merit their promotion. However, it is incumbent for every employee to endeavor to attain perfection while delivering services based on client demands.
Potential Challenges in Implementing Lean Management
Several companies are implementing lean in an attempt to operate in the highly competitive business environment comfortably. Although this concept is simple and based on cost reduction by eradicating waste, several organizations, including Come Again Restaurant, face problems in executing it. The challenges are highlighted as follows:
- Inability by top management to comprehend core lean principles: In their efforts to apply lean, business owners may unknowingly create more waste through activities such as staff training and enlightening the managers on the usefulness of this technique.
- Taking lean management as a cost reduction approach only: As stated earlier, methodology focused on other critical aspects of a business, other than reducing cost. Organization administration usually delegates the responsibility of implementing lean to the financial managers concerned with profits and losses and efficiently fixing financial problems. These leaders realize that the technique also advocates for customer value, which is a crucial requirement of the lean approach. Once client needs are not understood, as required by the first principle, it becomes challenging to apply the concept in the organization’s day-to-day running effectively.
- Inadequate communication and leadership when implementing the program: The top management can initiate the lean concept but fail to give it the support to make it effective. The eatery ought to back the program through communication or supervision. In so doing, other employees will get motivated in the course, thereby cooperating with the administration to make lean management successful. Managers may be preoccupied with other business agendas, such as achieving financial benefits. The leaders can also be negligent in taking responsibility or lacking understanding of implementing the technique.
- The discrepancy in defining value: Service-based organizations may find it difficult to define value, which is the first of the five lean principles. This is attributed to the imperceptibility nature of services and the volatility of customer needs. Usually, value is determined by the clients, and there can be no structured method of defining value.
Do, D. (2017). The five principles of lean. The Lean Way. Web.
Rauch, E., Matt, D. T., & Linder, C. (2020). Lean management in hospitality: Methods, applications and future directions. International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 36(3), 303-326.