Wheat is an extremely important worldwide product. Over two-thirds of wheat produced is used as food. Wheat provides 20% of the global population’s daily protein intake. However, wheat also has several other uses in paper, pharmaceuticals, adhesives, and soap*. Lean and Six Sigma methodologies are used to improve wheat production, including harvesting, milling into flour, storage, and packaging. We’ll look at three applications from Africa, Indonesia, and Brazil and finish with videos of current wheat harvesting and how wheat was harvested in 1880.

*Source: All You Need to Know about Wheat


Using Lean Manufacturing Tools to Improve Grain Milling Performance: Africa


In a case study titled “Developing a Lean Value Chain for Botswana’s Grain Milling Industry – A Case Study Of a Wheat Milling Company,” authors Leaname Thaolang and Norman Gwangwava discuss the use of Lean Manufacturing tools to enhance the performance in the grain milling industry.

The case study includes:

  • High-Level Flour Milling Process Flowchart
  • Milling Supply Chain Process Map
  • SIPOC for Flour Milling Company
  • 6S (5S + Safety) Implementation
  • Impact of 6S Implementation
You can read the case study here.


Lean Six Sigma Applied to Reduce Wheat Flour Packaging Waste: Indonesia


In a paper titled “Reducing waste on wheat flour packaging: an analysis of Lean Six Sigma,” authors Sucipto Sucipto, E. Susilowati, and U. Effendi discuss the use of Lean Six Sigma to reduce waste in wheat flour packaging.


Measurements determined that the largest waste is a broken pack.

The paper includes:

  • Shigeo Style Value Stream Map for Wheat Flour Packaging
  • Fishbone Diagram for Broken Pack for Flour Packaging
  • FMEA for Flour Packaging Process
  • Improvement Suggestions Based on FMEA

Recommendations to Improve Wheat Flour Packaging Efficiency:

  • On-the-Job Training
  • Allocating Workers at Rest Time
  • Packaging Audits for Suppliers
  • Adding Workers
You can read the paper here.
[Citation: Sucipto et al 2020 IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 475 01200]


Applying Lean Manufacturing Tools  and Total Productive Maintenance to Improve the Supply System of Wheat Flour Silos: Brazil


In an article titled “Improvement in the Supply System of Wheat Flour Silos,” authors Fabricio Henrique Bernardo Sant’ana and  Anderson Figueiredo da Cos discuss the use of Lean Manufacturing tools and total productive maintenance to improve the supply system of wheat flour silos.

The article includes:

  • Materials and Methods Used in Silo System
  • Supply Times Data for Bag Emptying
  • Toast Flour Quantity Over Time
  • Cake Flour Quantity Over Time
  • Average Consumption of Flour Per Production Line
  • Macro Process Flow
  • Macro SIPOC
You can read the article here.


Wheat Harvesting in Australia


See the harvest of wheat in Australia in this video from Finchys Australia.


You can watch the video here.


Wheat Harvesting in the 1880s


See typical wheat harvesting in the 1880s in this video from The Henry Ford.


You can watch the video here.


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