Food banks are essential organizations to help the needy. Lean and Six Sigma aid in improving their processes and reducing waste. We’ll look at four applications from Singapore, Boston, Poland, and Seattle. Then we’ll see a video of a food bank operation in Nevada.


Using Lean Six Sigma to Improve Food Bank Vending Machine Replenishment: Singapore


In a case study titled “Application of Lean Six Sigma to Improve The Food Bank Singapore’s Vending Machine Replenishment Process – A Case Study,” authors Julian See and Huay Ling Tay discuss the application of Lean Six Sigma in improving the packing and replenishing of food bank vending machines.

The case study includes:

  • SIPOC for Food Bank Vending Machines Replenishment Process
  • As-Is Process Map
  • Spaghetti Diagram
  • Process Value and Time Analysis Table
  • 5S Application: Before and After
  • To-Be Process Map

Applying Lean Six Sigma led to a reduction in packing time with less manpower involved at the warehouse and a significant decrease in food wastage at the food bank vending machines. The new packing process achieved almost a 36% reduction in packing time with two volunteers instead of three volunteers in the initial process.

You can read the case study here.


Lean Applied to Food Bank Cross-Dock Operations: Boston


In a case study titled “Applying Lean to Non-Profit Organizations: A Food Bank Case Study,” authors Wiljeana J. Glover, Thanapol Poopunsr, and Robert Hurley discuss the application of Lean methodology in an urban food bank to improve cross-dock operations to achieve just-in-time delivery of frozen and refrigerated items to agencies.

The case study includes:

  • Current Process Map
  • Docking Area Before Improvements
  • Targeted Process Map
  • Docking Area After Improvements

As a result of the project the lead time to fulfillment, i.e., placing refrigerated and

frozen items onto the shipping dock was reduced to 20 minutes or less from 4 hours at the start of the project.

You can read the case study here.


Implementing Lean Management in A Food Bank: Wrocław, Poland


In a case study titled “Implementation of Lean management in non-governmental organizations Wrocław food bank case study,” author Maciej Pieńkowski discusses the applicability of the 5-step Lean management process in the non-governmental organization environment and identifies potential barriers.

The case study includes:

  • Current State Value Stream Map
  • Future State Value Stream Map
  • 5S Before and After Results
  • Standard Worksheet for Delivery Packaging
  • Goals Realization Summary

Click on the following link to download the case study.


Using Kaizen to Improve Food Bank Operation: Seattle


A short article titled “Kaizen at the meat station revitalizes food bank,” from Lean Manufacturing Times discusses the use of Kaizen to improve food bank operations at the meat and produce stations.

In a year they were able to reduce wait times at the Food Bank by more than half.

You can read the article here.


How a Food Bank Works


See the Nevada Three Square Food Bank operation.


You can watch their video here.



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