Food Services Kanban in Yorkton Saves Time & Eliminates Waste

Congratulations to the Food Services team in the Sunrise Health Region on their success with their recent Kanban report-out.

Food Services KanbanResults include fresher food, less waste, and a more efficient process for ordering and receiving food, saving staff’s time so they can help provide faster service to patients. “Kanban” is a Japanese word meaning “visible record” or“visible part.” Kanbans are signals used to replenish the inventory of items used repetitively within a facility and reduce or eliminate waste whenever possible.

The Food Services team recently participated in a value stream mapping and future state mapping exercise at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre. Their goal was to help identify issues such as outdated stock due to over-ordering, an unreliable process to use products on a “first in, first out” basis, orders not being based on consumption, and no common communications processes between users and order processing. They focused on improving ordering goods, receiving goods and the process for taking supplies out of inventory.

Throughout the week-long exercise, the team analyzed many processes and procedures based on the current state to help move toward the desired future state. Successes included:
• Customized shelving units to allow for an easier transition to first in, first out usage.
• Better allocated freezer space.
• Formerly, staff took about 311 steps and 45 minutes to complete an order. After the Kanban, they now take about 34 steps and 15 minutes to complete an order, saving time and increasing efficiency.

– Originally published in Transforming Health Care Through Lean – Spring 2013. Submitted by Sunrise Health Region.

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