Tuesday, July 18, 2017

71. Lean Impact Coming Clearer

18. July, 2017
KOPAKAMA is two years in to their "Lean Journey" or the "Journey to World Class" is another way I like to phrase it. They started training after the 2016 harvest was already past, so this 2017 season was the first chance they had to really use their new skills. Artisan guided the planning of two key KAIZEN projects (improvement projects) where the metrics were a bit tricky. One was to reduce "cut beans" coming from the depulper and the other was to increase the percent of well-picked cherry arriving at reception. KOPAKAMA staff implemented the third KAIZEN completely on their own. That one was to reduce water usage in the grading channels.

These KAIZENs are part of the "Real Impact" phase of the Lean training. This means that the KAIZEN projects should result in measurable impacts on the bottom line (profits). It will be a few more months before we have profit & loss statements to confirm that kind of impact, but meanwhile there are outcomes that are positive signs.

KAYITARE Gervais, Operations Manager for KOPAKAMA, shared how he felt about the results of the data collection effort to improve quality in the reception area:

"The defect graphs are helpful. They will be used especially to show to the cherry collectors the level of defects they have in their area of working hence ask them to improve in the next season. This exercise is like a tool for sensitization. Next season we plan to expand it on the second station (Nyagatare)."

Below is one example of the type of data he can now track. It shows the % of defective cherry each of his 35 collection sites delivered the last time they brought cherry to the coffee washing station. The metric is taken by the reception staff at the time the cherry is delivered. They use a small, mechanical scale. They scoop a small bowl of cherries out of one of the sacks from the collection site after it's weighed. Later, after all the farmers have gone home and the staff have time, they carefully weigh 300g of the sample. Then they sort the sample into 5 categories. One category is "well-picked", the others are various defects. The staff record these 5 numbers on with a form on a clipboard. These are collected each night and eventually Gervais enters them into a prepared spreadsheet.