More Restaurant Automation – Automating Waste?
Right after I posted this link with the Yo! Sushi video last week, I went out to run some errands.
I stopped to get a bagel and found this bagel transportation automation and took a quick video. The register is to the right, off frame. To the left is the area where employees toast and prep bagels. More after the video. This was cool to watch… but….
Would you design a bagel shop this way? Is this automating a poor layout? At least the bagel is sliced in the process, a step that is arguably “value” — if the customer wants their bagel cut and toasted.
Why is the bagel prep area so far from the register and where the bagels are stored? At least, as the customer, you don't have to pay and then go repeat your order.
So, as with a lot of automation… this is cool to watch, but is it worth the cost and capital expense? This uses energy and runs continuously, even when there are no customers. Is it worth the maintenance cost? What do you think?
I've seen a lot of examples, in factories and hospital pharmacies and laboratories, where they've basically automated a bad layout and a bad process. Even if you automate waste (transportation), it's still waste. Instead, you could change the layout and eliminate the need for automation — something that happens in many hospital labs.
Here's a link to a case study about M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, how they used Lean improvements to avoid a planned $2 Million automation expense. This case study is from ValuMetrix Services, the organization I used to work for, but I was not directly involved in that work.