Pomegranates, a clean kitchen and process improvement

PomegranateI eat a lot of pomegranates these days. These fantastic fruits provide potent antioxidants and have anticancer properties. They also reduce blood pressure and atherosclerotic plaque. Pomegranates are in season and taste delicious.

But my wife was starting to hate them.

Deseeding

Like all things in life, I started out as a pomegranate deseeder novice.  Several months ago, I used to do this by hand on the counter.  It was a messy business that took seven or eight minutes and occasioned more than one complaint from my spouse. I didn’t eat that many because the sheer effort and cleanup involved.

Process breakthrough

A month ago, I had my first pomegranate peeling process improvement breakthrough.  After searching on the internet, I learned that peeling them underwater did away with the mess.  It also made it easy to separate the seeds from the white shell as the seeds sink and the white floats to the top where it can be thrown out. I progressed along happily, eating more than I did before because it was less of an ordeal and drew less ‘fire’.

Process improvement

My second breakthrough came last week. I randomly saw an ad for a pomegranate peeler. Intrigued, I checked it out.  While the device didn’t look that useful, I realized that I’d been cutting the fruit the wrong way – from top to bottom rather than across.  If you cut the pomegranate across, you can ‘pop’ the seeds out by turning the skin inside out.  Done underwater, it removes any of the mess and cuts the time required down to under a minute.

This is an excellent example of what companies could do with their own work. The key is to look for the things that are causing pain (or mess) and drawing criticism and attack those problems first.

But don’t rest on a win. It would be arrogant to think I’d found the tidiest solution to pomegranate mess on the first try. Keep improving up on success so that even the new processes are suspect in a way. It’s rare that a breakthrough like my first round is the last one you should expect.

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Categories: Continuous Improvement, Process Management

Author:Tom Molyneux

A business process strategist with a focus on real-time event management.

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2 Comments on “Pomegranates, a clean kitchen and process improvement”

  1. Nels Frostenson
    December 24, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    Hey Chris, why not just outsource it and drink the juice? Think with the end in mind…
    Merry Christmas – Nels

    • December 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      Nels, thanks for the Christmas wishes. I hope you have a happy holidays.

      In regards to your outsourcing suggestion: I attempted this. However, my children couldn’t meet the demanding SLA’s so I had to right-source the process again.

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