During the 2016-2017 school year, under the guidance of Dublin City Schools' Coordinator of Operational Excellence Nathan Rohyans, Luis Visoso, a lean six sigma green belt intern from The Ohio State University conducted a project in the hopes of reducing the amount of food waste that was generated during school lunches.
Lean Six Sigma is a managerial philosophy used by many of the world’s leading private sector companies, including many located within our District. It is a data-driven problem solving methodology resulting in an improved process or outcome when deployed correctly.
"It was revealed that at the elementary level, Dublin City Schools was experiencing a high amount of food waste due to an ineffective way of determining what each student wanted to eat for lunch," said Rohyans.
Historically, elementary teachers would ask each student what they wanted based on four different choices and then would have to submit that information to the cafeteria staff. The cafeteria staff would then make estimates of how much food to make based on the students' choices. However, once students got to the lunch line, they would often change their mind and get something else to eat, creating excess food that would have to be wasted.
At the beginning of the project, Visoso created a software in Excel that essentially calculated the optimal food amount for each menu item, based on historical data. For example, if pizza were matched up with chicken nuggets, the results would show that these options are very similar in how much they are liked, about 50/50. However, if pizza were matched up with meatloaf, the results would be closer to 80/20 since meatloaf is less popular. These predictions helped take the guesswork out of choosing how much food to make each day.
"I loved the software that Luis came up with," said Director of Food Services Juli Varsanyi. "Since these pilot schools went so well, I would like to implement the project into all of our elementary schools in the future.”