Making it Work as Well as it Can

“The goal is to Move Coffee Forward, by creating the best sustainable supply chain.” - Alejandro Cadena

   3 Minutes Read

By James Gibbs
North America Sales Representative
  • Efficiency is key to the Caravela model and ultimately measures how well we deliver roasters' contracted coffee just in time. Efficiency enhances the ability to move coffee forward, and roastery productivity is often limited by how we maximize our resources while limiting waste. Caravela Coffee’s expertise as a vertically integrated green coffee importer, exporter, and supply chain management partner does not end as your coffee successfully arrives at the warehouse door. As part of the supply chain responsible for delivering great coffee to homes around the world, Caravela realizes the goal to move coffee forward includes answering the call of our roaster-partners and advising on a number of subjects including quality control, sample roasting, profile and production roasting, shipping logistics, or even safety.

    Here are a few general tips for coffee roasters, big and small, to move coffee forward while saving time and resources:

  • 1. Draw a Map (Workflow Evaluation):

  • This is usually easier said than done, and easiest when planning your roastery floor plan. When looking at your soon-to-be roastery, imagine what you will need when you grow and, if possible, be set up for success from the beginning. Draw a floor plan and identify how your green coffee is delivered, how it is stored, where it is weighed, where it is roasted, where the finished roasted is staged awaiting to be bagged, your bagging line, where finished bags are staged, how the roasted is leaving out the door. Every time you have to touch a product, you are adding value by creating waste, (this in the form of time and energy), so innovate as much as possible to limit redundant contact and maximize your margin.

  • 2. “Mise en place” (Everything in its Right Place):

  • We can only be as efficient and productive as the tools we have and their availability at a given time. It is the worst when you reach for something and it’s not there. One way to avoid this let down is to establish where every accessory is located from broom to butler, tape gun to date-stamp, ladder to recycling bin. Use that nifty workflow map you just created (1.) and identify where all these things will rest on it and you will be less likely to lose value by creating waste. While you’re at it, how about mark the space with an ID tag so your team knows what belongs there, even when it is not!

  • 3. Protect Yourself & Stretch Out:

  • Protect your most valuable asset, your health and the health of your team! Be sure to implement protective ware and wear in the workplace so all team members can show up every day, healthy and happy. Safety goggles, respirators for roaster operators, aprons, smocks, and jumpsuits to protect vulnerable skin when cleaning chaff or cooling trays, protective gloves when handling green and roasted, impact mats to save feet and backs, and even well-lit environments will keep the team on task safely. Take a few minutes before your shift, or in the beginning of the day, to warm up by performing a simple routine of slow stretches and calisthenics. Many of the movements made in a production facility are repetitive and can really wear down a body if you’re not careful. Creating a routine of stretches which mimic the repeated movements of a production floor will increase efficiency by saving the value of an employee’s health.

  • 4. Lists! Lists! Lists! (SOP):

  • We love standard operating procedures (SOP) and their corresponding checklists and appreciate how they keep everything on task! We also enjoy how they set up expectations for the collective team. We are thankful for how they make sense of the chaos of what would have been strewn burlap and GrainPro, loose green coffee, neglected and filthy roasting equipment and packaging equipment, sample trays full of potato chips, and poorly stamped and unsealed bags of coffee… nightmarish.

    When you are creating workflows (1.), take a moment and write out the steps each process takes. Identify when a particular task begins and ends.

    *Keep in mind an SOP is never finished. As your business continues to grow, the SOP will need to evolve accordingly from version 1.1, to version 1.2, and so on. This process attention-given-way there is clear direction for the new family of team members you are onboarding as your business is growing. SOP are a communication tool which ensure everyone, and every machine, is operating at their most efficient limit. They lead to saved time on training, or from accidents, and allows the roaster to invest more into their coffee and move coffee forward.

    These are only the glacial tip of small innovations companies can make in order to increase the efficiency, productivity, and health to maintain an organized and harmonious workplace. Please do be sure to ask a Caravela representative for more specifics to best your company’s model.

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