Written by Steve Hudgik
In the book "Lean logistics: the Nuts and Bolts of Delivering Materials and Goods" Michel Baudin defines the objectives of lean logistics:
"The objectives of lean logistics can therefore be stated as follows:
- Delivering the materials needed, when needed, in the exact quantity needed, and conveniently presented, to production for inbound logistics and to customers for outbound logistics.
- Without degrading delivery, pursue the elimination of waste in the logistics process.”
What is Logistics?
Logistics World Magazine provides 19 definitions of logistics. But Wikkipedia has what, for our purposes, I think is the best and most understandable definition:
"Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations."
Logistics is a part of every business. Lean logistics means getting things to where they need to be, efficiently, on-time, in the right quantity and without waste. How do we do that?
Free 5S Quick Start Guide
The 5S System is a Japanese-originated management tool for improving workplace efficiency
How Do We Do Lean Logistics?
Lean logistics involves eliminating waste and increasing the speed at which things move. Increasing speed does not necessarily mean moving faster, but eliminating steps or parts of the process that slow down the movement of materials and products. For example, lets say production completes a pallet of product. That pallet is moved to an inventory area in the production shop. A short time later it is moved to inventory in the warehouse. The next day it is moved to shipping and receiving. Two days later it is moved to a loading dock. Then after another wait, it is loaded on a truck. Would it not be more efficient to have been able to move the pallet directly from the production area to the outgoing truck? Coming as close as possible to that goal is what lean logistics is about.
Lean logistics is not just about changing how materials are handled. It involves a cultural change that incorporates lean techniques such as 5S, kaizen and kanban. [put in links to our pages about each of these] How do we do lean logistics? By implementing 5S, which is a simple lean technique involving getting things cleaned up and organized. By following the principles of kaizen, which is a lean system involving implementing suggestions from employees – those who are the closest to the process and able to suggest ways efficiency can be improved.
Lean Logistics Means Reducing Inventory
A key aspect of lean logistics is reducing inventory. To accomplish this involves looking at the entire production process, beginning with the purchasing of supplies and raw materials, to getting the finished product out the door. A successful implementation of lean logistics cannot happen without lean principles being practiced throughout the production process. This then requires expanding your lean reach further to include supply chain management. Effective coordination between your suppliers and production process is a critical part of lean logistics.
To begin to understand what needs to be done, create a map of your material flows, starting with the raw materials and going through the shipment of the product. Identify any point at which materials stop moving. That is an inventory point that should be evaluated to determine if it can be eliminated.
Identify points at which drivers, tractors and powered industrial truck operators are waiting or not moving. Look for ways to eliminate these waiting times by changing schedules, adjusting work flows and and using workers to perform multiple tasks.
The objectives of lean logistics are to identify waste and eliminate it. That can be space that is wasted (storing inventory); time being wasted; or skills being wasted. Use lean techniques to eliminate waste and you'll see significant improvements in both bottom-line profits and custom satisfaction.
Labels And Signs In Lean Logistics
Labels and signs are a critical part of implementing and sustaining lean logistics. They provide wayfinding information to direct people and traffic to the correct destinations. They provide safety information at the point where it is most needed. They help keep warehouses organized and ensure equipment is properly operated and maintained.
To have durable labels and signs, and the versatility to make whatever labels and signs you need, DuraLabel is the answer. DuraLabel printers and supplies have been tough tested to deliver superior quality with every label and sign. DuraLabel is the only brand that provides a five year warranty on the vinyl labels and sign you make. Call 1-888-326-9244 today and ask about special package deals on the printer and supplies you need for your warehouse, loading dock and throughout your facility.
Duralabel also provides Free Kanban and Kaizen Lean Manufacturing Guides;