2022-11-22

Making Thanksgiving Dinner Perfect with MTEK

In the US, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season where we are thankful for our health, the people, and new experiences in our lives during the year. While it has been a tough year in manufacturing and supply chains, there is no greater pressure on Thanksgiving Day than coming out with the perfect dinner for everyone to enjoy at the exact right time. I jest not.

This year I will be doing the cooking and since I will not have a madhouse of family at the house, I decided to go with a small turkey and ham with a few side dishes. I normally will deep fry two turkeys but this year I am going traditional by roasting. One item I enjoy making and eating is the butternut squash soup. Not everyone wants it and I just do not care even if it does make a mess in the kitchen. I make it anyway and enjoy the leftovers.

Now, coordinating the appetizers and either baking, deep frying, smoking the turkey with perfect execution with the casseroles, vegetables, and other fixings is no simple matter for the family chef of the day. Getting the timing correct so we can all sit down between the football games and this year’s World Cup takes a manufacturing execution system (MES) of miraculous proportions.

Integrating the recipes of materials for each side and entre is an orchestration and buffering inventory nightmare. Typically, there is always one item shortage that requires an extra trip to the grocery store, if one can be found open. Getting the work instructions and timing of synchronizing across the different recipes so the final assembly comes out at the exact due time is a lead time problem that only a scheduling solution can resolve correctly.

Then there is knowledge of the variables of cooking the turkey which has an algorithm that only an AI engine can resolve. Variables such as temperature, size of turkey, duration cooking, variability of specific oven, and even altitude go into delivering the perfectly moist turkey to the table. A built-in quality management solution into the MES is the only way to keep the tradition of the dinner in complete compliance.

A process and method driven MES solution is the best approach to this holiday dinner challenge. There are different solutions that may be automation focused or material and capacity planning oriented but these lack the complete control over the kitchen while removing the stress of our mother-in-law watching over our shoulders. The process focused solution is optimized on the recipe of ingredients, the work instructions on how to cook the dinner, and the integration of today’s digital ovens and refrigerators that maintain temperatures and inventory levels. One of the unique values of the process-driven approach to MES is that it considers the skills required of the master and sous chef, and their safety needs including the aprons and oven mitts required at each step.

This last capability is of extreme value as there have been many a times when cooking the turkey, we have some accident. We all at one time in our lives burnt our hand while basting the turkey or even worse, not had a fire extinguisher handy while doing a deep-frying turkey. Then there is always the neighbor that wants to borrow the deep fryer and shows up with a frozen turkey. We read about him the next day after they blew up the garage by putting a frozen turkey directly into the hot peanut oil.

As in all traditions, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorites. Started off playing football at the old grade school at 10am with whoever showed up and after forty years, the tradition continues with our kids and grandkids. We still try to relive our youth while none of us can catch, run, or pass like we used. Still, it is a fun time seeing and being thankful for those we see on the annual “Turkey Bowl Day” basis. Without the knowledge of our mom passing the process and recipes down to us, not sure how else, besides using a MES solution we could keep the traditions alive and manage the annual kitchen chaos. So, enjoy the holiday and Schedule a meeting with the leading process-driven MES solution or schedule a demo while enjoying some Thanksgiving leftovers.

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