Improving labor productivity, food yield and logistics in airline catering

The Challenge:

Senior executives at Cara Operations Ltd invited Carpedia to conduct an analysis of the three largest flight kitchens (Toronto, Vancouver, and Montréal). The object of the analysis was to determine whether an external party could expedite the organization’s continuous improvement efforts.

ASD operates flight kitchens in airports providing meal beverage and commissary services to most airlines arriving and departing in Canada. In an increasingly competitive airline industry Cara was determined to reduce operating costs while providing a superior level of quality and service.

The unique aspect to this client is the time sensitivity nature of the business. The business runs just-in-time with a requirement to be flexible in order to accommodate last minute changes to airline schedules and loads. Service and quality are of the utmost importance.

With the above in mind Carpedia was brought in to reduce operating costs and to train internal managers to execute similar initiatives.

The Results:

In the 3 locations improvements were made in the various functional areas. Some examples of the improvements include:

Food Production is tracking an average of 13% improvement in productivity

  • Set up time was significantly reduced by matching workloads to shifts and breaks.
  • The optimal use of solo stations and belt line assembly was determined to maximize uptime.
  • Multiple handling of products was reduced by introducing a decanting process.

Tray Assembly is tracking an average of 11% improvement

  • Several lines were reconfigured and combined by balancing positions.
  • Solo stations were reconfigured to feed product directly on the line minimizing downtime caused by replenishment.

Final Assembly is tracking an average of 4% improvement

  • A 5S of available fridges was conducted ensuring stocked supplies.
  • Manual ready-boards were introduced removing redundant positions.

Transportation is tracking an average of 8% improvement

  • A “taxi stand” approach was developed reducing time waiting for flights and allowing for flexibility to deal with weather and flight delays.
  • Crewing guidelines were modified to schedule teams or individuals according to aircraft requirements.
  • Shift start times were modified to minimize overtime and maximize coverage during peaks.
  • A task confirmation system was developed to monitor resource availability throughout the shift and provide early identification of potential service delays.

Commissary is tracking an average of 17% improvement

  • The domestic bar-building process was modified to focus on sub-assemblies instead of entire flights – reducing lost time, managing shortages, increasing capacity, and consolidating shifts (3 to 2).
  • A runner position was established to reduce equipment search time.
  • The area layout was modified to improve workflow.

The Client Experience

“Over the year, Carpedia set up shop in our Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal locations. Throughout the engagement, our managers benefited from the one-on-one attention your consultants provided to help them measure and address the level of active management.”

Senior Vice President, Cara Operations Limited

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