If you are wondering how you can quantify the time spent on LEAN initiatives within your warehousing or manufacturing operation, you are probably doing it all wrong. Managers successfully generate a LEANer operation by creating a culture of LEAN thinking, not by drafting an additional list of tasks to accomplish.
Let’s face it: a LEAN facility is no longer the wave of the future. It’s a part of remaining competitive and relevant in your market, and it’s embedded in your company’s public image. The question is, are LEAN initiatives a mirage or are they really generating continuous improvement in your operation?
How to create a genuinely LEANer facility
Warehouse and manufacturing management is continuously evolving with increased demands and the advent of new technology. Balancing time, costs, and all the moving parts within an operation is a daunting challenge, never mind trying to generate continuous improvement. As you try and create a LEANer operation, ask yourself this:
1. What improvement targets will generate the greatest results? Based on your data analysis, you should be able to identify key areas for process improvement and then determine how to accomplish it by working smarter.
Solution: You probably use data insights to improve overall efficiency. But, with the right platform, you can also use that same telematic monitoring data to identify and predict potential problems before they occur and reduce bottlenecking in inventory movement.
2. How would operators improve the processes? Have you asked for input as to how things could change to improve movement or ease problems?
Solution: Train lower-level managers to think LEAN. Ask operators why problems have occurred and what could be changed to improve productivity. Operators who are engaged in this LEAN initiative will start bringing issues to your attention, and they will feel their opinion matters.
3. Why are some orders not filled on time or are significantly delayed? Reducing cycle times and creating new capacity by removing constraints and doing things LEANer can help customers get their orders more quickly, and it can result in huge improvements in sales. It can even reduce the capital required to carry inventory.
For example, are vehicle repairs completed in a timely manner? Does excessive idle time occur with certain operators? Is inventory moved more than it needs to be?
Solution: There are numerous costs associated with downtime and delays, so your maintenance strategy should be monitored. Forklift monitoring and inventory tracking can eliminate time wasted searching for misplaced pallets by linking forklift movement with data on the pallets.
Lean warehousing is a mindset, not a just program you deploy. In contrast to traditional management methods, it requires changing the culture of a warehouse and the way employees think about everyday tasks.
Your telematics platform should provide answers and solutions to creating a LEANer facility. It should be simple to use, on one screen, letting you quickly identify the root cause of inefficiencies and a solution.