A place to store goods is what people’s general perception about warehouses is. If you are someone from the warehousing industry though, you will know that wish things were that simple. The processes involved in the warehouse storage industry are much more complex. For one maintaining an inventory of the various goods that are placed in a warehouse, could be a mind-boggling task. Then to keep track of the logistics is another headache. All this could be simplified, thanks to the advent of lean warehousing concept.
Winds of change have been blowing across the warehousing sector in recent times. A warehousing manager can now keep tab on literally each and every thing that is happening in the warehouse, thanks to lean warehousing concepts. The very concept of lean holds that you need to eliminate processes that encourage wastage. In management terms “just in time stocking” is the name of the game today among warehousing managers. They are able to eliminate wastage using this method.
While using lean methods may help a warehousing manager to help reduce storage area, there are some other points involved. For one, the entire workforce needs to understand the concepts well. There should be total coordinated efforts. If not for teamwork, the entire concept may just go down the drain. It therefore pays to invest in a good lean training program for the team members. You can always enroll the team members in an online lean warehousing training program. Alternatively if you are hiring the services of a lean consulting firm, then you can always ask them to train your people.
Unlike the case till now, the lean method requires the elimination of unnecessary processes. A lean consultant will do a thorough study of your warehousing methods and come out with suggestions. They will for instance offer you suggestions on what is to be done next when a product comes into your warehouse. The method using which it has to be sorted for example is important. Similarly the consultant will also tell you about which are the racks that are to be used for different products and so on and so forth. Once all these things are systemized, then there is no need to waste time looking for a particular product when the need arises. This results in reduction of wastage to a great extent.
Lean warehousing is closely connected to how you organize your logistics. The concept will ensure that you are able to move goods faster without unnecessary wastage of time. The products need to be organized in such a manner that they are easy to find and ship. Everything, right from the placing of different crates in the warehouse to where you position your shipping department, will be taken care off once you implement lean methodologies.
Warehousing is considered among the fastest growing fields in the world. With increasing globalization there has been a massive increase in warehousing facilities. Aiding their smooth functioning have been lean methods in various parts of the world.
Yokoten is a very interesting management concept that has originated in Japan. It is a very important part of kaizen or a system of continuous improvement. The meaning of this term is ‘horizontal deployment’ but it can also be termed as ‘copy and improve’. What this refers to is the use of successful ideas in various areas of the company where they will be a good match. If Kaizen has resulted in a successful way of working in a particular area then the various things that have been learned from it should be used in other areas. Simply put, the company will save a great deal of time and effort by avoiding reinventing the wheel.
There is more to Yokoten than simply lifting a business process or a manufacturing process or even a design idea. A company that tries to use this tool without understanding it fully will not be able to get the desired results. How this concept works best is by:
– Ensuring that there is an atmosphere of openness in the organization whereby information regarding success and failure of particular processes is shared freely within different departments.
– Ideas should ideally spread horizontally by people seeing things for themselves. This tool does not have a top-down approach. However, seniors in an organization do have to point out various Kaizen ideas that employees will benefit from observing.
– The company should standardize all work processes so that solutions can easily be deployed when necessary.
– If a particular department cannot copy a specific best practice process then the thought process behind that particular successful practice should at least be used.
– Successful solutions should be adapted and improved in order to make them suitable for different work processes. Simply lifting ideas and processes doesn’t always work.
An organization that uses Kaizen to achieve and maintain high standards of quality and customer satisfaction will always give due importance to Yokoten; Kaizen is not considered to be complete until standards that are set are also offered to others so that they too can improve themselves.
Competition within departments is sometimes a big obstacle to the implementation of Yokoten. Companies sometimes put incentives in place to increase productivity and a team might therefore be unwilling to share its best practices because it doesn’t want to lose the incentive. This problem has to be addressed carefully so that employees develop a high degree of company and customer consciousness.
Bottom Line: Yokoten is a useful management tool to improve quality and productivity. Find out how to use it correctly.
Solid and compact tools are available in lean manufacturing to increase the efficiency of a company and they include Just In Time, Kanban, Zero Defects, SMED and 5S Philosophy.
Just in Time In lean manufacturing, it can be described as the most important idea and PULL model is basis of this system. Minimizing the stock and resources is the key and the customer demand will be taken into consideration at the time of purchasing materials. Production and distribution will be kept at an optimal level and it will make sure of the smooth functioning of the production unit as well.
Kanban Involving people in the process of lean manufacturing will become a reality with Kanban and this method can be utilized to provide great support to Just In Time model by developing cues to signal different needs. Kanban will ensure the right amount of production at the right time.
Zero Defects This system will make sure the availability of top quality products during the first time itself and fixing poor quality products will not find a place in this concept. Zero Defects system will send the strong message any defect will not be acceptable and the employees will be motivated to perform tasks with great efficiency.
Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) The much required flexibility in a manufacturing unit will become a reality with SMED and the employees will be better equipped to make fast and efficient changeovers. The demands of the customers will vary according to different situations and a company will be competent enough to make the required changes to meet the customer demands. The unwanted delay in changing to a different model can be averted with this process.
The 5S philosophy Lean manufacturing always depend on the standardization and the 5S philosophy is the best tool available to ensure standardization. Various factors related with the manufacturing process should be arranged and maintained properly to avert the possibility of having any defects and 5S system will take care of all these aspects in the best possible manner.