Lean Lunch

By Ron Updated on June 4th, 2007

This is a picture of the taco salad I had for lunch today.

OK, so “lean” in the truest sense may be a bit of an oxymoron since there was probably enough calories in this meal to last me a few days but I digress.

Anyhow, I am always looking for waste and usually have no trouble spotting it. Today at lunch I decided to study the man who assembled my taco salad. What I saw was actually rather impressive.

He had all of the ingredients he needed at point of use (POU). He had designed his work center in such a way that there was little to no wasted motion. He picked up the shell and commenced to add ingredient after ingredient with little effort and with very little reaching. I did not time him but the various steps in this process seemed very balanced and fluid. I wonder what the guy would do if I pulled out a stopwatch next time? Hmm… stay tuned.

To be fair and balanced there are still opportunities for improvement here. He did have lots of shells and various ingredients (inventory) on hand. I am not sure if his “supermarket” was properly sized. So this is a possible area of investigation. Also, I did get lunch a little early today and the crowd was small… and I have seen this same work center struggle to keep up during peak demand. But all in all, it was a job well done.

Finally, thinking of the Kano model there was one final “delighter” experience for me today. In the past, the shell used for the taco salad has been so big the container would not close. Instead, you often have had to break the edges off a bit to close the lid. This has happened so many times I have grown used to it.

But guess what? Today, when the nice man placed the shell in the box it fit perfectly! Even after stacking all the “stuff” in the shell the lid closed perfectly and none of the stuff touched the top of the lid! I was totally impressed. I know… it is just a taco salad.

It is obvious the taco salad man took time to really understand “value” in the eyes of the customer. I left a happy man. And in case you wondered, the taco salad was quite good!

Until next time, I wish you all the best on your journey towards continuous improvement.

  1. Anonymous

    January 21, 2007 - 2:46 pm

    what is the Kano model?

  2. Ron Pereira

    January 21, 2007 - 6:15 pm

    Good question. Check out this link and see if it helps.


    I think cupholders in a car are a great example here. How many people have you heard brag about the 32 cup holders their minivan has? This is an example of a delighter… but soon this will simply be expected.

  3. Reynaldo Hughes

    November 12, 2008 - 9:28 pm


Have something to say?

Leave your comment and let's talk!

Start your Lean & Six Sigma training today.