Lean manufacturing and the coffee roast

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The coffee category of the hot beverage industry is thriving, with the number of coffee drinkers growing each year. Cafes and coffee vans are everywhere, meeting our seemingly unstoppable need for a regular caffeine fix.

The demand for coffee has prompted a surge of new bean-roasting business enterprises to support this ever-increasing thirst for quality coffee, new flavours and taste. This boutique coffee roasting industry is also helping to meet the continuing consumer trend seeing a greater demand for locally produced, premium and artesian products.

An automated roast

Coffee manufacturing is a very competitive business, whether you run a small boutique roasting facility or manage large scale operations. Automation is one of the most productive ways to improve manufacturing inventory efficiencies in the coffee roasting process. Automating your operations provides real-time visibility. This allows you to identify any slight variation in the inventory manufacturing process and optimises raw material consumption while also minimising waste.

Keeping it lean

Lean manufacturing or ‘lean’, is a business model that employs specific methods to minimise manufacturing waste without sacrificing productivity. Lean manufacturing is a value-add for coffee roasters looking to implement continuous improvements and total quality management.

Taking a lean approach will help small producers who are looking to scale up and expand. Coffee roasters can reap the benefits of a lean system that reduces waste of manufacturing inventory and coffee bean spoilage. This in turn, leads to greater all-round profitability.

Designing for success

Operational design and layout is a core component of successful lean manufacturing. Mix model assembly lines allow manufacturers to produce different coffee roasts from light to dark, continental to espresso using the same assembly. Mix modelling helps to eliminate challenging assembly line changeovers, reduce manufacturing inventory and any upstream variability.

Using a Systematic Layout Plan is a practical and organised method of rearranging existing facilities or for designing the efficient layout of new ones. The idea of systematic layout planning is to arrange the workplace in a way that optimises efficiencies, by locating areas with high frequency close to those which have logical relationships with others.

This means arranging the workplace in such a way as to permit the quickest material flow in processing the product. Allowing your manufacturing inventory to be produced at the lowest cost, with least amount of handling.

Keeping it fresh with lean manufacturing

The success or failure of your coffee manufacturing business is keeping the coffee fresh on the shelves. To achieve this the coffee needs to be correctly packaged as quickly as possible after grinding.

The procedures and planning necessary for efficient lean operations takes into consideration each step of the process to ensure a systematic flow. Therefore, the necessary tools and equipment required for each stage are needed on-hand and correctly located together to ensure speed and ease of reach.

Oxygen is the enemy to a perfect roast. Imagine having the packaging point at the opposite end of the building to the grinding procedures only to find inadequate stocks of coffee bags and pouches, it would be a very bitter brew indeed!

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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