|Dukunde Kawa Musasa drying tables offer a spectacular view of Gakenke district mountains.|
The above scenario is a metaphor for the way Rwandan coffee is also beginning to "get where it is going" by using machinery. For the soldiers, a half-day's walking journey, became a 15 minute, somewhat cramped, car-ride. At Dukundekawa Musasa in Gakenke district, I saw how a forward-thinking cooperative of farmers is investing in machinery to take them where they are going faster.
Since my first visit to Dukundekawa in early 2016, I've returned at least three times. Each time I see new investments in machines. 
What Dukundekawa is doing is eliminating waste. They are doing so without knowing that they are demonstrating Lean at Origin principles. (Refer to our "Resiliency Coffee" blog and search on "Lean" to learn more about Lean at Origin.) Here we will share the unique machines that Dukundekawa has brought on-line and name the wastes that these machines will help eliminate.
|Pinahlense 11 MT cherry sorter.|
1. The Pinhalense cherry sorter was first used in the 2015 season, and fully implemented before the 2016 season started. This machine eliminates defects (one type of waste) by sorting cherries by density that have just been delivered by site collectors. Site collectors bring large volumes of cherry to the washing station. One site collector might arrive with as much as 800 kg. The cherry sorting machine uses gravity, water and floatation. The machine's channels shake and have holes in the bottom to separate the dense (good) cherry from the light (bad) cherry, sometimes called "floaters." The two types are moved into a different chutes. Dukundekawa staff can easily measure the weight of the floaters of any site collector's delivery. The agreement signed with the collector is that if any delivery has more than 1% floaters, the entire weight of floaters will be deducted from his service pay. In the 2019 season, only one collector over-stepped the 1% mark for allowable floaters. Apparently, the threat of a monetary fine is usually good enough to ensure site collectors are strict with quality control at their site.
|Above: Looking right. Entrance to reception area is designed for easy access of trucks and farmers.|
|Outside of dry mill|
|Inside the dry mill.|
3. In 2016, Dukundekawa built a dry mill -- right across the street from the washing station (wet mill), establishing one of only a handful of dry mill functioning outside of the capital of Kigali and bringing a significant industrial process to their rural mountain village. Besides increasing the number of skilled and unskilled laborers employed during the season, the dry mill had all the benefits the cooperative management had been longing for: more control over export preparation of their semi-finished product, parchment coffee. The new dry mill eliminates defects by allowing the coop direct control of machine maintenance, settings and storage. It eliminates unnecessary processing steps by allowing the coop to skip steps in the milling process if they are not required by a customer order. It eliminates waiting, because in Kigali the cooperative's trucks of parchment could wait days or weeks for "their turn" to be processed. It eliminates wasted transportation of material, wasted inventory, and wasted motion of people. Clearly, the investment in a dry mill helps Dukundekawa eliminate wastes of many kinds, and the associated costs, for all future seasons, while at the same time increasing quality. It is a strikingly good example of Lean at Origin management.
|Manager Isaac with drum dryer|
|Two new coffee elevators (l and r) and the new Sortex color sorter from Buehler.|
|Rwanda's only Buehler Multi-vision Sortex B now resides at Dukundekawa's dry mill.|
|6 new conveyor belts for sorting green coffee. Automated movement to the "mixing silo" at the back.|
|Workers will be able to sit during their 7 hour day and sort the green coffee under UV lights.|
|Chairs where hundreds of women will be able to sit, instead of sitting on the floor to do their job - improving worker conditions, avoiding injury.|
|A so-called "spaghetti diagram" of the traditional hand-sorting process helps visualize the wasted movement of people and material. (The steps of each worker are dotted lines that look like a plate of spaghetti.)|
|Outside the old cupping lab - this one to be discontinued this year.|
|Inside the old cupping lab.|
|New, quite large, state-of-the-art cupping lab under construction.|
My ride with the soldiers ended happily for everyone, by the way. I invited them to try the brewed coffee I had just purchased at Bourbon in Kigali and kept warm in a thermos. I had little thermal cups (typically used when I serve farmers) and we all stood around enjoying a nice coffee break with Rwandan coffee!
 This is the first time I've arrived at Dukundekawa as a buyer. Prior visits I was wearing only my researcher hat. This year Artisan Coffee Imports will import just a few bags of Dukundekawa's Rambagira group women's coffee. Rambagira coffee is from Dukundekawa's female members and it is collected on Wednesdays during harvest. Then it's kept separate throughout processing and export.
 The usual rate of work is 30 kg of green coffee sorted per person per day, for high-grade coffee. More coffee can be finished per day for lower grades.