One of my new hobbies is cooking and I am reading and trying recipes, working on techniques, reading/listening to cook books as well as books on the food business in general. What I am wondering about and would like feedback on is the Lean process and the past and present fast food business. Here is my quandary and I am probably looking at it all wrong but lean looks at value from the customers perspective. So from that perspective, the customer wants a fast, reasonably inexspensive meal that tastes okay or good. Not great, not free and not instantaneous. Seems reasonable. Most of the fast food chains deliver on that as well as making fresh at the point of consumption. I don’t think they are shipping Big Mac’s and Whopper’s on boats across continents but who knows? The raw materials are there and may have been processed elsewhere but the final assembly is right there and usually right after I order. Flow / Pull / Creating and watching signals. All sounds good. Seeking perfection? I don’t know but think about food safety regulations and quality standards and that the consistency of taste, delivery and service is virtually the same across whole continents and this is performed by 15 and 16 year old kids who probably would do something else than this. To me it is amazing what standard work and processes can do. But with all that, how do I get around the chronic issues that are believed to be long term health consequences of this type of diet? Is the customer always right in acute situations but long term be terribly wrong? How do the organizations deal with this? May be the data / information is being poorly reviewed and the long term effects have been overstated. I can get that. I can see the companies stating that we can only make what the customer will buy. I get that too. What I am struggling with is how an organization balances what the customer is truly asking for right now and strike the balance between instant gratification and long term impacts. I do not see this balance being struck by government intervention or sloppy legislation. The untintended consequences of those type of actions can outweigh what was intended. What I am seeking is an organic solution. Something in the process way back at the idea or at least R&D stage to state, not only are we going to make this what the customer wants and do it profitably but how do we create sustainability not of just ourselves or a vague environmental drive but our customers. I struggle with this and any help will be appreciated. “Sir, can I take your order?” I don’t know.

Advertisements