Formula for Success is Rise Early, Work Hard, and Strike Oil

By: Puneet Kumar Vasudev

Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once. Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility. I work as a student process improvement coordinator at Auxiliary Services.  I have been working on an improvement project with Kathy Wardynski, Manager or Purchasing and Process Improvement, looking at fryer oil consumption. Wadsworth Hall was consuming more than twice the amount of oil as compared to the oil consumption of any of the residential halls when the figures of oil consumption per number of students catered was compared.

According to the work instruction at each work station in Wadsworth Hall, fryer oil is cleaned daily during the last shift and the oil is changed on every Saturday, if needed. The oil change instructions require a dip test with a tester in which a paper strip is dipped in oil and the color on the strip left by the oil is compared with the chart to indicate whether it is fit for use or not. This practice was not being followed effectively.  This led to two different situations, either the oil was being changed even if it would have been good for 3-4 more days or oil change was delayed leading to bad food quality.

Since oil quality measurement was a concern, it was decided to remove the ambiguity related to existing oil testing method, with a new digital oil tester. In addition to the new tester, a data capture sheet was drafted to monitor the deterioration in oil condition and oil changes of different work stations.  Oil is now changed as needed, at any given day of the week.  Through the data collection at Wadsworth Hall we hope to come out with new data and figures to implement more improvements with fryer oil consumption.   

It is estimated that the small changes made will save $5,000 per year in fryer oil consumption at Wadsworth Hall.

Fryer Oil in Use
Digital Fryer Oil Tester

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