Can Lean Manufacturing Really Help Supply Chain?

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Lean manufacturing article and permission to publish here provided by Zaklina at Click Intelligence.

From the outset, it may not seem relevant to someone who has never applied lean manufacturing processes to their manufacturing methods. On the other hand, lean manufacturing processes can really help the supply chain perform a lot better.

In fact, some of the core principles of lean can also be applied directly to supply chains for making them more productive and efficient. Stay with us as we explain the connection between the two.

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On Time Delivery – Get that right First!

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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.

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The Agile Supply Chain! Why Agility is Trumping Lean!

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Agile Supply Chain article originally published by Veridian and permission to publish provided by Jason Rosing.

The modern supply chain grows increasingly complex with each passing day. The digitization, focusing on fundamentals and change, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and many other factors are transforming how the supply chain functions.

Once, the lean supply chain was considered to be the most effective form of manufacturing and supply chain management. However, a new concept in supply chain processes, the agile supply chain, is quickly growing to replace the often overused term.

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Featuring Our 12 Best Global Process Excellence ™ Articles!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

The company I had just joined had over two dozen logistics and distribution facilities around the world. While there were a lot of great people in those operations they had little interaction with their peers around the globe. But best global process excellence procedures were nowhere to be seen.

The result was that they operated as a series of islands, each developing and customizing every process for their own purposes. Over time this resulted in diminished operational and cost effectiveness and no optimization whatsoever.

And with customers looking at doing business in multiple facilities at the same time it was impossible to explain why this was not seamless given the inherent process disparities.

As such I launched a new program, Global Process Excellence™, to define and deploy the best, standardized processes everywhere. This article is a compilation of our best articles documenting that journey of leadership and discovery, which in some cases resulted in achieving Best in Class results.

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How to Improve Industrial Process Efficiencies!

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The Link Business Directory

Industrial process efficiencies article and permission to publish here provided by Adam Smith.

Industrial efficiency is defined as a manufacturer’s ability to produce a product at the lowest possible cost that will allow them to make a profit. To calculate the industrial efficiency of internal processes, the cost of production per unit must be compared to the unit output of that product. Ideally, industrial processes should have a lower cost per unit of output to be deemed efficient in any manufacturing plant. 

Efficiency can also be improved by limiting the number of wasted resources that are used to produce a specific product.

Read on to understand how industrial processes can be made more efficient.

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Cost Cutting! Brute Force or An Intelligent Program?

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How many times have you been asked to cut cost?  How many times have you been asked to cut costs so deeply that it is beyond your comprehension?

In those situations you can always use the Brute Force method.  Hacking and slashing resources and expenses in this way often compromises the very capabilities, skills, morale and services that are keeping your company afloat in  the first place.  But it can be quick.

But if you have the chance to deploy a proper Change Management program to drive the cost reductions or other improvements that you are looking for then you may have many more constructive opportunities in front of you.

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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?

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Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS)!

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I began my career working in a manufacturing plant within an international company that was completely vertically integrated. From component manufacturing through to subassembly manufacturing and end product assembly they did it all.

Within 10 years the company experienced a number of site closures and declared that manufacturing was no longer a core competency. For the site that I was a part of this meant that closure was an inevitability.

Faced with this stark reality we made the choice to spin off from the parent organization and start our own new company, entering the world of Contract Manufacturing.

This was my first experience with Outsourcing, or what I refer to as “Supply Chain as a Service” (SCaaS).

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Warehouse Cleaning Checklist! (Infographic)

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Warehouse cleaning article and infographic, and permission to publish here, provided by David Smith at cleaningservicesgroup.co.uk.

Maintaining a high standard of warehouse cleanliness is about more than just creating a more pleasant and attractive workplace. It can in fact contribute to greater safety, better employee health, longer-lasting equipment, reduced merchandise damage, and increased productivity. 

Warehouses can be hectic environments at the best of times, so sometimes it can be hard to find time for cleaning. To keep your warehouse spic-and-span, try to allot a few minutes at the end of every day for cleaning. Deep cleans do not need to be done as often, but you should aim to schedule them in at least once a month. 

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Introducing Lean In Retail … Start in the Backroom!

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The Retail company I had just joined was undergoing a massive transformation.  Fundamentally the new merchandising strategy was to curate a dramatically different set of products from that which was carried historically, but in addition to what was carried historically.  What did this mean for the backroom in every store?

This meant that an enormous number of the business processes had to be transformed to support the new product set because management of the new merchandise required much different capabilities in all aspects of running a retail company.  Not only did this transformation require new capabilities but it also required  improvements to productivity and efficiency throughout the company.  And overall this meant a need for cultural change.

I decided that I would introduce Lean process improvement techniques to this company.

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Struggling with Process Ownership? Is it a Failure to Communicate?

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Process ownership article, and permission to publish, provided by Alexander Kurm, Process Consultant at https://www.kurmconsulting.com/

Does your business struggle with process ownership? Are your process improvements not “sticking”? The failure of an organization to have in place well-functioning process owners is a common occurrence these days.

The root causes (if anyone cares to do a full postmortem) are numerous. We’ve heard it all before; “the organizational structure won’t allow for it”, “incentives are misaligned”, “leaders don’t understand what it takes to be a process owner” etc. I’m sure we can all relate to some or all of these statements.

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Warehouse Efficiency Improvement Tips!

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Article created for Supply Chain Game Changer by David Madden at https://exchangerhub.com/

Things can always be faster when you work in a warehouse or distribution center. Speed has become the name of the game when it comes to staying competitive in the global supply chain.

Major players like Amazon and Walmart have distribution centers all over the world, pumping out packages at lightning speed.

If you want to keep your customers satisfied, you need to keep things moving in your warehouse or distribution center. Use these tips to keep up the pace and make your facility as efficient as possible.

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Shiny New Technology or Back to the Basics? What is Your Strategy?

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We hear about all of this cool and exciting new technology every day. Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Drones and Autonomous Vehicles, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Big Data and more.

As such it’s easy to become enamoured with the prospects of implementing these brand new technologies in your company.

But for many companies they are struggling each and every day just to get the basics right. Ensuring deliveries are on time, making sure purchase orders are placed, changed, and acknowledged, keeping track of and reducing inventory levels, managing forecasts and forecast accuracy, and training and retaining resources are just a few of the basics that companies are working vigilantly to address every hour of every day.

Given pressures to reduce costs, improve productivity, increase competitiveness and increase asset velocity what should your strategic focus be?

Shiny new technology or boring old basics?

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Never Automate a Bad Process!

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When I was presenting the latest Supply Chain Strategic Plan the CEO said to me, “We’ve already spent millions on Supply Chain! Every process should be working like clockwork. Why do you need more money?”

It was true, to a degree. While I had only recently joined the company it was true that the company was investing over $10 million to upgrade and automate their Distribution Center operations.

My predecessor had spearheaded this investment. The current Distribution Center operations were unable to handle the growth, the change in product mix, and the dynamics associated with rapid fulfillment and online shopping.

But there were some fatal flaws which were at the core of their investment plan. Most significantly they failed to optimize the process first.

As a result they were spending millions of dollars automating a bad process.

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Future of Energy for Manufacturing!

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Future of Energy article 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?

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