Case Study: Maximizing Flow
When approached with a challenge it is typical for the Duke team to ask a series of questions to learn more about the challenges facing the client. At a recent meeting with a Food Service Director for a public school district in the Midwestern United States, our team asked “What are your pain points and constraints?” More often than not, there is not an immediate, clear answer to this question. However, in this case the simple, quick response was “Flow.”
At the invitation of that prospective customer the Duke team visited the district’s flagship high school. Sure enough, “flow” was a big problem – the school’s cafeteria had only a single entry point to feed two lines of food service. This setup created an imbalanced flow in the serving area as well as an imbalanced work load for the cafeteria staff.
After a review by the Duke team, a solution was devised which naturally funneled students more rapidly and more evenly to the respective food lines; which also balanced out the work load among the staff. In the process, the Duke team was able to create a more aesthetically pleasing system which replaced the mismatched counters and other system components. Additionally, this new system was designed to match the existing color scheme. By getting students through the two lines faster, students had time to visit (and spend money at) the beverage and snack bar in the cafeteria, resulting in increased revenue of approximately $1,600 per month for the school.