The Lean Bakery is an excellent introduction to lean thinking and problem solving. It’s a quick, entertaining story about a baker in Barcelona who saved his business with lean thinking and successfully expanded it through rapid experimentation and problem solving.
Café 365 supplies over 100 cafés (shops) daily with freshly baked bread and products, from a small 7,000 sq. ft. factory. The authors/owners believe that running experiments to remove waste is the best way to get closer to your customers. The book includes an example of their approach to lean problem solving—complete with worksheets—and an invitation to run your own experiments.
Juan Antonio Tena faced a capacity crisis in 2005. He thought he needed more factory space and freezers to grow from 6 to 9 shops. But this expansion project would be very expensive and put his entire business at risk. He picked up a copy of Lean Thinking by Jim Womack at the airport and read it on vacation. He returned home ready to experiment with removing waste instead of expanding. He has been applying lean thinking ever since with remarkable results.
His wife and co-author, Emi Castro is in charge of the shops. They introduced lean thinking to the shops in 2010. They have created a simple yet powerful pull and supply system that allows a café to serve thousands of customers daily with a storage space the size of a bedroom closet. They also studied and reconfigured the roles of café staff into A + B work. The majority of shops can serve all their customers and maintain the space with just 2 workers.