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Implementation of Lean Principles in a Food Manufacturing Company

Kennedy, I and Plunkett, A and Haider, J (2013) Implementation of Lean Principles in a Food Manufacturing Company. In: 23rd International Conference on Flexible Automation & Intelligent Manufacturing, 26 June 2013 - 28 June 2013, Porto, Portugal.

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Abstract

Lean is a powerful tool, which can bring significant benefit to manufacturing industries by creating value through reduction of waste. Although the lean concept has become very popular in mass production industries such as the automotive industry, more recently the concept has been adopted in different batch processing industries and service sectors. The application of lean tools into the food processing industry has not received the same level of attention compared to the traditional manufacturing industries. The paper focuses on implementation of lean tools in a food manufacturing company in UK. The company produces diverse ranges of meat-free and dairy-free food products such as vegetable burgers, sausages, cutlets etc., and supply to the major supermarket chains in UK. In general, the typical manufacturing cycle includes raw material preparation, cooking, mixing, forming into a desired shape, coating with a crumb mixture, and frying. Finally, the products are frozen and then packaged. First, lean tools and lean practices in food manufacturing industries have been briefly presented. The implementation of lean into the company started with reviewing the products, manufacturing processes, technical facilities, and process flow charts. Key areas have been identified to achieve tangible benefits by implementing lean tools such as waste elimination, 5S, single minute exchanges of dies (SMED), Andon system, visual management, work standardisation etc. The results have been presented in the form of a case study. The paper concludes that lean tools can be successfully implemented in a food manufacturing company to improve production efficiency, to improve product quality, and to reduce production cost by reducing waste and adding value. The information presented will be of interest to general food manufacturers and in particular to frozen food manufacturers.

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