Toyota Takes Lean to the Bank... the Food Bank

I just read this great article by Mona El-Naggar in The New York Times yesterday. Many large corporations donate money to important charities, such as food banks, all around the world, but Toyota donated something to the Food Bank for New York City that might prove more valuable than a cash outlay -- expertise on how to reduce money-draining waste and improve inefficient processes.

Look at the statistics reported in the article:
  • At a soup kitchen in Harlem, Toyota’s engineers cut down the wait time for dinner to 18 minutes from as long as 90. 
  • At a food pantry on Staten Island, they reduced the time people spent filling their bags to 6 minutes from 11. 
  • And at a warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where volunteers were packing boxes of supplies for victims of Hurricane Sandy, a dose of kaizen cut the time it took to pack one box to 11 seconds from 3 minutes. 
There have been many books published on the adoption of Lean tools and techniques to the service industry, but this article presents direct and measurable benefits by the immediate application of  tools such as kaizen.

Here's a link to some photographs that illustrate the improvements accomplished.

Please share your thoughts on this article. Many readers of this blog have directed or participated in the application of Lean concepts to service industries -- Do you think the Food Bank for New York City could become a benchmark for other nonprofit anti-hunger organizations?