The crux of Lean thinking lies in reducing waste and the continual pursuit of quality processes; especially in today’s business environment, where your customers expect the best quality of services and timely delivery, all at affordable costs.
Huge investments in technology, software and tools may not be the only modes that make companies develop superior supply chains. The sphere of lean tools and Kaizen needs to more seriously looked into.
Let us understand Lean Warehousing in detail
“The eradication of waste and the persistent pursuit of productivity and customer service through Kaizen
Muda, the word coined by Japanese, for waste, is currently being used by almost every organization and deals with the elimination of any activity that consumes time and resources
without creating any value additions to the process. In short it does not have any effect on the end product or service.
Applying Lean Thinking in the Warehouse
Taichii Ohno, the father of Toyota Production System categorized Muda (waste) into seven different categories. Overproduction, Waiting, Transporting, Inappropriate processing, Inventory, Motion and Defects. In Lean warehousing the challenge lies in identifying each and every activity that consumes time and resource that does not create any additional value. An example of a non-value process in a warehouse could be receiving wrong messages or errors for picking. The process and supply of parts in warehouse could be simpler if such inefficiency could be eliminated. Another major waste in warehouses is poor utilization of space. Every unutilized square foot is money wasted. Also, the parts pickers will have to travel extra or drive past spaces to pick the products they want. This consumes time and erodes productivity.
And last, but not the least is the amount of inventory that is held throughout the value stream. Higher inventory demands more space. For Lean warehousing, all but minimum inventory is described as waste and needs to be eliminated.