Warehousing is no longer just about the storage of product. Today’s enterprises leverage warehouse operations to expand their market and competitive edge. It assists companies in meeting their strategic delivery needs, facilitating better inventory flow and coordination with the entire supply chain.
Why the evolution? For one, with advanced telematics, most enterprises can easily add value through warehousing. In fact, in most cases, it delivers significant, long-term and sustainable savings.
Fueling this evolution are the lean management techniques that change how warehouses and facilities across the globe operate.
Value-driven warehousing and lean processes
Lean brings a giant change in the warehouse mindset. Simply put, cutting waste in processes offers tremendous savings potential, improves operations, and creates a safer work environment.
Lean principles, the Kaizen method, 5S, and re-engineering approaches can be applied to almost every step within warehouse management, delivering:
- improved product quality
- reduced lead times
- lower working capital expenses
Waste areas and tools that identify how to fix them
Perhaps it’s time to target waste and change how your warehouse operates in these key areas:
- Transportation / Conveyance – added cost associated with storing fast-moving inventory in the back of the warehouse. Integrating telematics with your LMS system can help to determine:
- Cycles of product movement, what’s hot and what’s not at different periods of time
- Travel patterns used by forklift operators to move the product
- Travel with load will tell management the amount of time it takes to move the product from its current location.
- Movement – unnecessary movement of people and equipment caused by non-optimized picking trails
- The use of telematics' “Advanced Location” provides a picture of what’s happening at any given time.
- Utilization and reports can provide information on productivity of both a forklift and/or operator at any specified time. These reports can provide information such as: travel speed, whether they are traveling empty or with a load, and how far they traveled.
- Utilizing lean tools like 5S and “Waste Walks” can assist in correcting the unnecessary movement of people by removing non-value-added steps in a process.
- Waiting – costs associated with waiting for approvals, replenishment of products, inadequate resource allocation
- Integrating your telematics and LMS/WMS system can provide a holistic view of utilization of resources and product movement throughout the warehouse.
- Space – non-optimal use of space and inefficient warehouse management
- Poor use of space and product placement can be the culprit for things like forklift impacts, injuries, and high safety violations. Use telematics to determine locations where impacts are occurring, type of forklift, and operator involved.
Once you’ve identified problem areas, it’s important to get your employees involved. Engaging them in lean processes such as 5S, waste walks, and telematic data trends will help in sustaining the new processes and continuous improvements.