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Digital Obeya: The Transformation from Grains to Spirits at The Grain Republic

8 minutes read
Bag of grain which the grain republic will distill and turn into beer through processes tracked using Lean practices in their digital Obeya

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Crafting exceptional spirits requires not only a passion for the art but also an efficient and organized approach to distillery management. In a recent webinar, Roelof, the founder of the Grain Republic, shared insights into the distillery’s unique journey from grains to spirits, emphasizing the pivotal role of digital Obeya in streamlining their production process. iObeya proves to be a diverse solution that not only aids enterprises facing traditional challenges in lean implementation but also extends its transformative capabilities to smaller businesses aspiring to scale and visualize their processes for maximum efficiency. Join us as we explore how this powerful approach transcends the boundaries of visual management , bringing about operational transformation in the realm of distillery craftsmanship.

Four of the Benefits of Visualizing Distillery Management with Obeya are: Managing Every Step, Flexibility and Efficiency, Success Boards and Strategy Planning, & Cascade Effect.

Visualizing Distillery Management with Digital Obeya

The distillery is committed to local sourcing and its collaboration with farmers in the northern area of Holland. The Grain Republic, originally founded as Quinn and now known as Eraneos, has evolved into a multifaceted venture encompassing a bakery, brewery, distillery, and restaurant—all housed within a beautifully restored old train locomotive.

Acknowledging the visual nature of his team, Roelof highlights the decision to utilize digital Obeya for distillery management. He emphasized the importance of visual tools over traditional spreadsheets, stating, “All the people in the distillery and the brewery are very visualized. They are really into making things and seeing things. They don’t like spreadsheets.”

The visual nature of digital Obeya not only caters to the team’s preferences but also enhances communication by providing a clear and shared visual representation of the entire distillery process. This not only simplifies complex concepts for team members but fosters a collaborative environment where everyone can actively contribute to decision-making.

From Grain to Drinks: Managing Every Step

The digital Obeya platform serves as the backbone of Grain Republic’s management strategy, enabling a comprehensive view of the entire distillery operation. Roelof illustrated the step-by-step process, explaining, “We made a very easy way of how to run the distillery, starting from the beginning of making the grain, choosing the right grains, getting on time to the factory, malting them.”

He continued, “So we first make beer, and when we make beer, it will go to six or 7% alcohol. And then we distill that beer without the hop, which is the bitter part of the beer.”

In addition to providing a step-by-step view, the digital Obeya system allows for real-time tracking and monitoring of each stage. This not only ensures quality control but also enables swift identification and resolution of any issues that may arise during the production process, contributing to increased overall efficiency.

Flexibility and Efficiency Through Visual Management

One of the key advantages of digital Obeya Roelof highlights is its flexibility. The Grain Republic team can use it from various locations and seamlessly transition discussions from the distillery to the brewery or bakery. “It gives a lot of flexibility to really get into the figures we really need and make it visualized as it’s needed for people who are not really into the numbers and figures themselves,” Roelof remarked.

The digital Obeya system, especially in iObeya , enables quick adaptation to changing circumstances and fosters real-time collaboration. This not only facilitates efficient communication among team members but also ensures that the decision-making process remains agile, allowing the distillery to respond promptly to market trends and operational challenges.

Success Boards and Strategy Planning

Roelof shares the digital Obeya boards used at the Grain Republic. The success board showcases achievements such as the distillery opening, barrel loading, and soap production. These successes are discussed, and decisions on publishing or complimenting the team are made.

The strategy planning board displays main streams of their strategies, color-coded for easy tracking. Roelof explains, “You will see the colors which we use: where we use the green, which is finished; The yellow ones are planned; and the red ones are something is happening, which shouldn’t be there.”

“The impediments are put on the kanban board,” Roelof explains, which are set to be solved weekly based on their priority.

Incorporating these visual boards into the distillery’s management not only celebrates achievements but also provides a structured framework for ongoing strategy planning. This ensures that the team remains aligned with overarching goals, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Cascade Effect: Dashboards for Every Aspect

Roelof unveils the power of Obeya in cascading information down to the local level. Dashboards for various aspects of the company, such as housing, innovation, education, finance, and drinks, were managed by small, specialized teams. The dashboards allow the teams to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and identify areas needing discussion.

These dashboards create a transparent and interconnected organizational structure. This not only promotes accountability within specialized teams but also allows for a holistic understanding of how each department contributes to the overall success of the distillery. The visual representation of KPIs ensures that teams can identify trends and proactively address challenges, contributing to sustained operational excellence.

Conclusion: A Distillery Revolutionized by Digital Obeya

In conclusion, the Grain Republic stands as a testament to the transformative power of digital Obeya in the craft distillery landscape. From sourcing local grains to managing the intricacies of beer and spirits production, Roelof and his team have seamlessly integrated visual management into every aspect of their operation.

“People come from all over the world at this moment to see how a craft distillery as we are, not as big as the big Macallan of this world, runs by using Obeya. So we are very, very pleased with these kinds of works,” Roelof expressed.

As the craft distillery industry continues to evolve, the Grain Republic serves as an inspiration for others looking to blend tradition with technology, creating exceptional spirits while maximizing efficiency through the adoption of digital Obeya .

Watch the webinar replay here to learn how to unlcok the power of Obeya
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