Fueling Growth Through Lean

In today’s competitive environment, smart companies are fueling growth through leaner operations. Adopting lean practices, which focus on the elimination of waste throughout the enterprise, create cost savings while establishing an environment of continuous improvement.

Companies undergoing a lean transformation must first understand that this is a journey, not a quick fix. It is not a process to reduce head count, substitute poor quality materials or close a facility. Instead, manufacturers and distributors who partake in lean programs must focus on implementing lean principles in all areas of the enterprise, from raw materials to the production floor to the warehouse to last mile delivery.
There are eight wastes (something that doesn’t add value) within a manufacturing company that you can focus on toward your lean journey:

  • Transport – Moving people, products, and information.
  • Inventory – Storinh parts, pieces, documentation ahead of requirements.
  • Motion – Bending, turning, reaching, and lifting.
  • Waiting – For parts, information, instructions, and equipment.
  • Over-production – Making more than is immediately required.
  • Over-processing – Tighter tolerances or higher grade materials than are necessary.
  • Defects – Rework, scrap, or incorrect documentation.
  • Skills – Under-utilizing capabilities or delegating tasks with inadequate training.

To increase profits and fuel growth, manufacturers and distributors need to remove all elements of waste within their processes. Solutions from UNEX Manufacturing can help operations deal with several of these wastes, such as transport and motion. Many order pickers have to walk up and down aisles for hours a day, equating to several miles a day. Placing products closer to pickers on storage shelves or using carton flow systems like UNEX’s Span-Track can help condense storage and allow workers to pick more items from a much smaller area. This can drastically reduce transport wastes.

The unnecessary movement of having to bend down to retrieve objects at floor level when they could be fed at waist level can reduce movements and stress on the body. Bringing goods-to-person, via conveyors or tilted shelves that slide replacement products forward as the front product is picked, reduces worker movement in the warehouse and reins in wasted motion.

All of these wasteful activities cost you time, money and cause stress on workers. Fine-tuning the warehouse with a more efficient layout and better-utilized resources streamlines inventory and reduces warehouse space requirements. Keeping inventory organized in UNEX Flow Cell workstations maximizes pick efficiency by minimizing reach and is a great step for eliminating waste on your lean journey.

If you’d like to find out how UNEX solutions can help your operation run lean and mean, contact us!