The global tea market was valued at nearly 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and is expected to rise to over 318 billion dollars by 2025*. Tea is produced commercially in over 60 countries. Lean and Six Sigma are used to improve production and distribution and reduce waste. We’ll look at applications from the UK, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Kenya and finish with a video the processing steps for black tea.

*Source: Statista


Applying Lean Tools in Tea Manufacturing: UK


In a paper titled “Applying Lean thinking in the Food Supply Chains: A Case Study,” author Ilias Vlachos discusses the implementation strategy and application of Lean tools at a UK-based tea manufacturer with operations in five different countries.

The company, AlphaTea, implemented Lean in three stages: (1) Preparation, (2) Diagnosis and

(3) Lean Operations and Control. All three stages are discussed in the paper.

The paper includes:

  • Lean Action Plan
  • Interim Diagnosis of Lean Action Plan
  • Tea Value Stream and Process Activities
  • Yearly Lead Time Analysis
  • Ideal State of Internal Operations

You can access the paper here.

[Citation: Vlachos, I (2015) Applying Lean Thinking to Reduce

Uncertainty and Waste in Global Food Supply Chain. In: Proceedings of EURAM 2015.

EURAM 2015: 15th Annual Conference, 17-20 Jun 2015, Warsaw, Poland. EURAM]


Achieving Sustainable Business Performance Through Transformation Leadership, Lean Manufacturing, and Strategic Sourcing: Sri Lanka


In a case, a study titled “Sustainable Business Performance through Transformational Leadership: A Case Study on a Leading Tea Manufacturing Company in Sri Lanka,” author Samantha Rathnayake discusses how a major tea manufacturer achieved sustainable business performance through transformational leadership, Lean manufacturing and strategic sourcing of raw material.

The case study includes:

  • Volume Growth of Ceytea
  • Ceytea Turnover
  • Ceytea Gross Margin
  • Ceytea Financial Performance
  • Absenteeism Reduction of Workforce
  • Water, Energy, SOx , CO2 , and Recyclable Waste Reductions over Five Year Period
  • Training Hours Per Factory Employee over Five Year Period

Lean manufacturing techniques implemented through empowered human capital were also evident at Ceytea, supporting its journey to manufacturing excellence via total productive management and continuous improvement.

You can access the case study here.


Statistical Quality Control and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis Applied to Bottled Tea Packaging: Indonesia


In a paper titled “Quality control of bottled tea packaging using the Statistical Quality Control (SQC) and the Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA),” authors A. L. Rucitra and J. Amelia discuss the use of statistical quality control and FMEA to identify the potential risk of bottled tea packaging and to reduce defects to increase the productivity of the company.

The paper includes:

  • Production and Damage Types by Month in 2018
  • Pareto Chart of Damage Types
  • Laney P Chart
  • Cause and Effect Diagram of Primary Packaging Damage
  • Risk Process of Tea Packaging
  • FMEA Risk Calculations

You can access the paper here.

[Citation: A L Rucitra and J Amelia 2021 IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 733 012057]


Lean Manufacturing Practices and Performance of Tea Processing Firms: Kenya


In a master’s thesis titled “Lean manufacturing practices and performance of tea processing firms in Kisii, Kenya” author Magutu Albert Ondego discusses the use of Lean Manufacturing at Kenyan tea processing firms.

You can access the thesis here.


Tea Processing Steps from Madar Tea Company India.

See the processing steps for black tea  from planting to final product.

You can watch the video here.


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