to sanitation. At this level, the sanitation
process is monitored, measured, reviewed
and incorporated proactively as a part of the
production operation as a whole.
Some of the tools employed to review
and improve the process at this level
include theory of constraints, DMIAC (Define,
Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control),
critical path analysis, multi-variate testing
and fishbone diagramming. By working
on the more sophisticated aspects of the
sanitation process, you can stay ahead of
process shifts and maintain the gain.
Getting to Level 1
For manufacturers that address sanitation
as a separate event that halts operations,
have little to no engagement by the team of
operators and rely on one or two “sanitation
specialists” to complete the process, the
first order of business is to begin putting
management operating systems in place.
This includes training, identification and
assignment of roles, visual controls,
development of a sanitation process/
checklist for each machine and putting in
place protocols for verifying completion
of the process. These structures make
it possible to approach sanitation with
organization and consistency.
Getting to Level 2
The ability to control and incrementally
improve the sanitation cycle starts with a
good plan and solid standards for cleaning
each machine. However, success depends
on sanitation leadership managing resources
and controlling activities in real-time.
The sanitation leader should complete
an end-to-end observation of the
sanitation cycle to understand the steps
and requirements for the number of
operators and time. Once all of the steps
can be set for
end-to-end plan for
how the wash should be executed using
a Gantt chart. From there, it’s up to the
sanitation leadership to constantly monitor
the progress of the wash, identify areas for
improvement and adjust resources to ensure
a successful sanitation.
It’s valuable to look at each step through
the lens of the Seven Deadly Wastes
(TIMWOOD) with the goal of reducing wasted
movement or transportation, inventory,
movement, waiting and over-production.
Getting to Level 3
Understanding the biggest opportunities
for improvement in the sanitation cycle
requires a long, hard look at the actual
steps of sanitation, the number of people
involved and the amount of time required
to complete the tasks. Some of this can be
done by observation, but, very often, no one
person can sit on a line that is being cleaned
and catch 100 percent of the activities.
The best way to document these times is
to use both check sheets, where operators
complete the start and finish time for
each step, and multiple portable cameras
(operations should check with the human
resources department before filming
operators). Typically, tasks are broken down
by machine and sanitation step. Once the
analysis is complete and the top constrain
is known, the sanitation team can switch to
DMAIC/root cause analysis mode:
• Define the problem, where and how often
• Measure the exact steps or defects
• Analyze the data
• Improve through a fishbone diagram
exercise with the operators cleaning that
piece of equipment, and convert their
ideas into ranked improvement actions
with due dates and owners
• Control improvements by updating
standards and retraining the team
The most successful deployment of this
step-change improvement is typically
conducted over the four weeks of a month.
Week 1: Review data, select top source of
loss or constraint, define problem, develop
Week 2: Root cause analysis based on new
data, develop improvement plan.
Week 3: Execute/install improvements.
Week 4: Control improvement.
Then right back to Week 1: Pick a new
constraint or continue to work on the past
Starting this virtuous cycle of reviewing
the top constraints gives the team the
ability to step back and attack shifting
constraints on a higher level. Next, the
team must develop the on-the-spot good
lean manufacturing habits that ensure
incremental waste reduction during every
sanitation cycle. Repeated in perpetuity,
you can realize increasingly efficient
sanitation that is also effective.
The benefits extend beyond simply
achieving an effective sanitation cycle,
which obviously prevents foodborne illness,
life-threatening allergen contamination
and the resulting harm to consumers. By
folding in sanitation as a part of a fully
managed and monitored operation, it’s
possible to systematize the process, making
it a planned, managed event, which allows
for shorter runs, reduced finished goods
inventory and freed cash flows.
As a manufacturer, your goal is to make
the most of every minute, reduce downtime
and maximize productivity. Sanitation
is a critical and a regular part of F&B
manufacturing. It shouldn’t be viewed as a
disruption, but as an important part of the
By making a concerted effort to
achieve a balance between efficiency and
effectiveness of the sanitation process,
you can ensure safe product, reduce risk
and pose minimal disruption to operations.
If you’re still looking at sanitation as a
disruptive event, it may be time to rethink
your strategy. Cleaning up your sanitation
act can have a significant positive impact on
This diagram shows the three layers of sanitation operations.