Setting up an Efficient Central Kitchen

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It can be overwhelming to keep track of everything that occurs in a central kitchen. Each finished good has a unique set of materials and processes tied to it. The more products you offer, the more complicated tracking material flow and production gets. Here are two things you need to stay on top of when mapping out your central kitchen.

Unit of Measure

It’s easy to get confused with units of measure (UOMs). Recipes are usually presented with varying weight and volume UOMs, making it hard to get an accurate representation of materials. Our recommendation is to build your item database with multiple UOM fields. This helps in a few ways:

  • You aren’t restricted to the first UOM you chose to enter
  • You can convert between different UOMs
    • This will help your procurement and production teams understand what they need
  • You can monitor inventory in the appropriate “warehouse” UOM (cases, pallets)

Getting this item information set up is essential to the next step in the process.

Bills Of Materials

Once your UOMs are properly configured, you’ll need to set up your bills of materials (BOMs). Structured BOMs connect your raw materials and packaging to your finished goods. Without them, it won’t be possible to track what’s needed to produce a target sales volume. Moreover, without correct UOMs, your BOMs aren’t useful because they won’t quantify the raw materials accurately. This is what a good BOM should look like:

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In the “Greek Pasta Salad” example, depending on how items are purchased, many of these items require processing (transformation) before being mixed together. These processes require their own BOMs as well. This creates multiple levels of production and can get confusing – but when done correctly, it centralizes data and makes tracking processes throughout the operation much easier.

Choosing Technology & Equipment

Completing the exercise above will open your eyes to the level of detail required to keep your central kitchen well organized. The best way to maintain this is to implement software to manage your operation. Identifying the best WMS/MES solution for your business will allow you to continue to add products and grow. On the hardware side, having BOMs and using sales forecasts will help you approximate the scale of production and the required equipment. Having the data to support your technology and equipment decisions will help you invest your capital wisely.

 

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