Essay: Lean Manufacturing in Beverage and Food Industry
For companies with large batch processing for instance, beverage and food industries, it seems like lean manufacturing does not apply to them since it is not seen as if they ease the production processes. The food industry sells its food products through product mixing centers or large distribution. It is also true that their production is through forecasted demands, which end up to a very large gap between the production levels and the real demand levels. This results to large inventory levels especially for the finished goods. Food products are known to be different in their shelf life and lead times. For instance, some agricultural products have long maturing periods; others have very long procurement times while others have short shelf life. Combinations of shelf life, procurement periods and lead times make the management of this sector of business a bit complicated (Rockwell Automation).
There are several obstacles, which make it difficult to adopt lean manufacturing systems in the business of beverages and food. Despite the fact that the products to be marketed are processed just the same way other manufacturing companies process, food sector businesses have to consider health and safety practices. The existing leadership is not challenging and persistent and this makes it difficult to adopt the lean manufacturing practices. The vision of these firms is not clear and thus they do not really know what it is that they will achieve. It is proved difficult to link the kaizen processes with the normal work since it appears like a separate program rather than a separate work for everyone. The management of these firms is not patient enough and are not prepared to follow through the process to ensure its success. The management too do not view lean as a strategy that will help in achieving the competitive edge.