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?

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9 Steps to Establish the Lean Supply Chain!

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Blog post written by Chuck Intrieri at http://theleansupplychain.com 

 

Top management knows that lean can add value, but many still haven’t moved past the initial education stage into full-scale lean supply chain implementation.

One reason may be that they haven’t made the paradigm shift as to how to implement lean. The Lean Supply Chain is a system of interconnected and interdependent partners that operate in unison to accomplish supply chain objectives.

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Lean in Retail … Value Stream Mapping your Current State Process!

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We had to begin the transformation of the company’s business processes to support the new business objectives.  Specifically the company was going to carry a dramatically different set of products which required a new set of capabilities in Strategic Planning, Merchandising, Marketing, Procurement, Inventory Management, Retail Operations and Logistics.

That scope defined the set of processes we needed to change first.  The overall goal was to enable the transformation of the company which would manifest itself in higher revenue, improved growth and profitability, greater customer satisfaction and superior employee engagement.

We decided to attack this by introducing the Lean technique of Value Stream Mapping to the organization.  We had to start with mapping the Current State process.

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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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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.

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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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.

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Network Optimization – What are your Essential Criteria?

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Network optimization is a critical issue across all Supply Chains.  In Manufacturing, Distribution, Logistics and Retail the effectiveness of your network will make the difference between success and failure.

There are many environmental factors that must be taken in to account in order to define and optimize your network.  Your business may be growing or declining. You may be expanding into new channels, such as E-Commerce, or you may be pulling back.  And you may have just received a cash infusion allowing you to invest more, or you may have enormous cash and profit pressures forcing you to ratify your network.

Whatever your situation your network must continually be optimized.  Your facilities, whether owned, rented or outsourced, are the living organism which make up your network and define how your company goes to market.

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