Operations Standardization – McDonald’s Speedee System

Movie Review

Recently, I managed to watch a show on the plane that started with operations standardization as a springboard to become a multi-national company.

The Founder“, starring Michael Keaton described about how McDonald’s came to be one of the largest fast food chain in the world.

Aside from the plot detailing the relationship between Ray Kroc and the McDonald’s brothers, there is also another part highlighting the Speedee System which the brothers setup.

This system is one of the key factor that differentiates McDonald’s from the other restaurants.

Lessons learnt

There are a couple of lessons I got from the clip.

  • Standardization. “Every McDonald’s burger has 2 pickles, onions, and a precise shot of ketchup and mustard.” “…a fresh delicious burger from grill to counter in 30 seconds.”
    • By performing an activity or process in a similar manner repeatedly, you can ensure the speed and timing required for the completion.
    • This will indirectly impact the productivity measurements.
    • The customers will also be certain of what they are going to receive.
  • Be innovative, think out of the box. “Why don’t we move the stand we got, put it on the truck?” “Why don’t we saw the building in half?”
    • Doing things differently will sometimes produce unexpected superb results.
    • Don’t get stuck in the mess and entangled with all the negativity.
    • Try to see things from another perspective.
  • Pareto Principle. “The bulk of the sales are only in 3 items. Hamburgers, French fries and soft drinks. 87%.” “Let’s focus on what sells.”
    • Concentrate on the important or major things that will bring the biggest impact.
    • Channel your energy to tackle these first.
  • Eliminate waste. Car hops, disposable paper packaging,cigarette machine, jukeboxes.
    • Put to good use whatever resources you have, increasing the throughput of the operations.
  • Be adventurous. “We are talking about shutting down a thriving business for months. People are going to think we are crazy.”
    • Dare to think differently.
    • Challenge the status quo to come up with fantastic ideas.
  • Trial and error. “He would do it over and over again, thrashing it out, choreographing it out like some crazy burger pallet.” “Hold it, I still think there’s a third version.”
    • Be prepared to do lots of testing. The Wright Brothers did not manage to fly on their first trial.
    • You will taste the sweetness of success after you endure the mundane repeated trials.
  • “It’s a symphony of efficiency. Not a waste of motion.”
    • A quote from the McDonald brother.

There are some more learning relating to marketing and business in this movie, but for now, the emphasis is on the above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *