Business Center

PB&J Lean Simulation

By Corey Niemeyer and Chloe Sanders, Process Improvement Interns

August 14th, 2017

Hungry for Improvement? Just make a PB&J!

A newly designed process mapping simulation that uses the creation of a PB&J sandwich improves CDOT employees’ understanding of process mapping, the 8 wastes, and value-adding activities in a fun and interactive way.

Development of the simulation:

After a series of process mapping meetings that Corey Niemeyer and Cheryl Wright, members of the Office of Process Improvement (OPI), helped facilitate for the Environmental Department in Region 1, meeting attendees requested that OPI present a class on the fundamentals of Microsoft Visio, a process mapping software. Following the first Visio-specific class, another class was requested. Corey enlisted the help of Michael Shull, Process Improvement Intern, to help improve the class. Together they came up with an in-depth simulation that involves creating a PB&J sandwich using 5 different workstations/departments (inventory, toasting station, a manager, peanut butter station, and jelly station) and exhibits all of the 8 wastes (Waiting, Over Production, Re-Work, Motion, Processing, Intellectual, Inventory, and Transportation) that are commonly known in the Lean process improvement world.

Go/No-Go Checklist

This simulation was an absolute hit with OPI’s customers. After repeating the class for different groups, OPI incorporated it into a larger Innovation Coaching class that was rolled out to Lean Everyday Ideas Committees at their Bi-Annual statewide meeting in May. The simulation is a focal point of the course, as it demonstrates how a simple process can become overly complicated.  This is a fun simulation that leaves participates with a desire to find and eliminate waste in their day-to-day work.

We encourage everyone to participate in this opportunity when it comes to your team: a fun, collaborative, hands-on way to learn how to find and eliminate waste.

PB&J Lean Simulation Videos

Video example 1 of OPI PB&J Exercise

Video example 2 of OPI PB&J Exercise

Video example 3 of OPI PB&J Exercise

For more information or questions, contact Gary Vansuch, in the Office of Process Improvement.