A “Don’t Touch” Strategy will Dramatically Lean out your Supply Chain!

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The box I was looking at in the Pick-To-Light (PTL)  lane was full of at least 1-2 dozen different skus with as many as one to twenty of each sku in the box.  It looked like the insides of a piñata in there.  Although a piñata is used in celebrations I was quite sure that when the retail store opened the box they wouldn’t be celebrating.

All along the PTL conveyor every box looked like an explosion of different skus in different quantities.  At every station an employee was following the lights and picking a different quantity of each sku from one set of boxes and putting them in the “piñata” box.

I knew that this was the way it had historically been done, and the company had just spent millions and millions of dollars automating this historic process, but from a Lean perspective the whole approach was wasteful, slow, and expensive.

Was it really necessary to touch every single piece of every single sku multiple times?

Continue reading “A “Don’t Touch” Strategy will Dramatically Lean out your Supply Chain!”

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The Future of Energy for Manufacturing!

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Guest blog provided by Joe Hall, Director, Business Development at 360 Energy Inc.

 

Today manufacturers must continually look for waste reduction, process improvement and supply chain efficiency to meet competitive pressures and their customers’ cost reduction requirements. Programs such as Lean have become a popular means to develop a culture of simplification and constant improvement. Although Lean principles provide an excellent basis for managing energy costs, such costs are often left out of an efficiency drive… Why is that?

  • Energy costs are not well understood
  • Because they are not understood, they are deemed to be uncontrollable
  • As an “uncontrollable” cost, energy is not well managed.

Energy costs can be controlled when organizations develop measurable and progressive management processes that are embraced & led by senior management and embedded into the business culture. North American manufacturers who have followed this course have seen significant and sustainable results often with reductions of 25% which in turn helps to maintain and enhance their immediate market position. Getting to this stage requires the continual process of incorporating and managing energy both in the organization’s strategic plan and its day to day operation. To change how energy is perceived and administered by the whole team, it must be viewed holistically and not in silos. Energy usage profiles and drivers must be considered in concert with the different energy pricing options to arrange the supply over time. It cannot be left in the hands of a single person or one discipline to effect change single handed.

What role will energy play in the long-term strategy for manufacturers?

As a manufacturer, energy will impact your long-term development on a number of fronts.

Today, manufacturers located in multiple geographies are faced with complex energy sourcing options affected by various procurement and billing requirements and the ever changing local/state/federal legislation. However, the future doesn’t look any less complex as decisions on existing and new manufacturing infrastructure are impacted by a multitude of generation options in addition to traditional utilities. The cost of renewable energy continues to fall and it now competes with fossil fuels; 2015 represented an inflection point where new capital investments in wind & solar replaced 54% of traditional fossil fuel generation investments.  As battery storage prices continue to fall, the reliability and on-demand availability of renewable energy grows. The traditional grid from the utility is increasingly only one of several options- manufacturers can choose: 1) self generation, 2) non-Utility Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), and 3) Virtual PPAs from net energy providers connected to the grid. While optimizing energy sources can result in cost avoidance, optimizing energy can also provide new sources of revenue to the organization as they become net energy providers to the grid themselves.

Energy is also at the centre of significant change in traditional markets like fossil fuels and automotive. The electrification of the transportation market will require today’s industry leaders in those sectors to adapt in order to survive & lead. While not all manufacturers are in the automotive and fossil fuel sectors, their markets too will be impacted by their source of energy and its ultimate deployment in their future products for competitive differentiation. This transformation will cause tremendous pressure for most manufacturing operations to become much more progressive in energy so they can stay ahead of the curve. Organizations and their manufacturing operations will increasingly need to be more knowledgeable about energy to meet the challenge of changing products based on new technology, new competitors emerging from non-traditional sectors, and changing consumer needs.

As society contends with climate change, manufacturing will be at the forefront of their organization’s social and environmental initiatives, fostering innovation, and providing greener choices for their customers. Manufacturing will be tasked with transitioning operations to reduce their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) footprint, while maintaining quality & output metrics and competing in a world of ongoing cost containment. The future leaders of manufacturing operations will include energy as a core discipline in their personal base of knowledge.

Simply put, organizations that prepare for and take advantage of the opportunities that energy presents will be in the best position to compete, grow, and profit in future markets.

 

360 Energy Inc. is a North American energy consultant working with leading manufacturing, public, commercial and agricultural organizations to develop sustainable strategies for energy in their futures. For more information, please refer to our website at www.360energy.net or contact Joe Hall directly: joe.hall@360energy.net  905 304-6001, ext. 228. 

 

Check out   Collaborative Robots: Making Manufacturing Jobs More Valuable

#Energy #Innovation #Technology

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Global Process Excellence (Part 3) … Streamline your Entire DC at One Time!

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How many times have you looked at your operation and thought about how you would re-layout and streamline the process flow if you had the chance?

When you are starting with a new, empty facility it is clearly much easier to layout the operations to make the best possible flow of materials and processes.  But when you have an existing operation which has evolved over a long period of time, you are likely faced with utilities, equipment, infrastructure, walls, and paradigms all of which have resulted in a rather inefficient flow of materials and people and processes.

This was the situation we had in one of our Distribution Centres. In this particular Distribution Centre the current layout of the operation had been the result of many iterations of adding new customers, new products and new processes over time with the associated fluctuations in demand for everything.

Yet with the launch of our Global Process Excellence project we had unleashed our employees to make the improvements they had imagined could be made for a long time.

Continue reading “Global Process Excellence (Part 3) … Streamline your Entire DC at One Time!”

On Time Delivery – Get that right First before all else!

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No matter what industry you are in and no matter what channels you are serving your Customers expect delivery of their goods on time.

You may have different pressures, to increase profits for instance, but you must take care of the basic expectation of on time delivery first.

If you don’t have on time delivery all your other pressures will not matter.   Your customers will go elsewhere and your business will fail.  Even if you have a unique product that no one else in the world has (for now) you must deliver on time to your customers.  If not there will always come a time when your customers will be able to go elsewhere.

Providing on time delivery may seem basic.  But it is the foundation on which the rest of your business must be built.

Continue reading “On Time Delivery – Get that right First before all else!”

Collaborative Robots: Making Manufacturing Jobs More Valuable

Tony Giovaniello - Photo 20170207_111931

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Collaborative Robots, Making Manufacturing Jobs More Valuable:
People using robots to improve productivity, safety, consistency, and learning

By Tony Giovaniello, President, Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Shasta County

 

Continue reading “Collaborative Robots: Making Manufacturing Jobs More Valuable”

Global Process Excellence (Part 8) – Lean in the Back Office … Why is it so difficult?

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Implementing a Lean program on the Manufacturing floor, in a Warehouse operation, or in a Distribution Centre is challenging enough.  There are a series of process steps in which materials are transformed or moved in some fashion.

And your Lean program has at its core the objective of making these operations as efficient as possible. But when you try to apply these same Lean principles to the support organizations, or the back office, you are likely to experience a wide range of reactions.

So why is it so difficult to implement, and sustain, a Lean program in the Back Office of your organization? Continue reading “Global Process Excellence (Part 8) – Lean in the Back Office … Why is it so difficult?”

Global Process Excellence (Part 7!) – 10 Signs You Should Reboot Your Lean Program!

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How many people make a New Year’s resolution to “lean” yourself out only to abandon it shortly thereafter?

One of the top New Year’s resolutions is to start exercising. In January the local gyms are filled. But by February those gyms are much emptier and many of those well meaning people are still at home.

What do you do when your Lean program at work suffers the same fate? How do you know when your improvement program needs to be improved?

Continue reading “Global Process Excellence (Part 7!) – 10 Signs You Should Reboot Your Lean Program!”