As society focuses on waste control and effective quality control elements, the idea of a “lean” supply chain is a major talking point in nearly every sector of business.
In logistics, lean is a method of identifying wasteful activities from the supply chain and eliminating them in a multi-step process. The first in this process is to identify these wasteful activities. Next, you begin to plan to eliminate these issues from your supply chain. Then, you must remove them so that your supply chain can run as smooth and effective as possible. In this article, we'll dissect what lean logistics is.
The Basics of Lean Logistics
- Value: The identification of customer value and how it is added along the entire network.
- The Value Stream: Where do all the processes fit? This is where processes make the most sense for the most effective cost. Mapping out the stream helps identify gaps in your network. These gaps are where waste is found and must be eliminated. It will also help you understand how value is put into the system.
- Product Flow: If the above steps are followed, gaps and waste will become more apparent and easily manageable. This will make the product flow smoothly towards the customer. What is the most effective way to deliver what the customer wants?
- Customer Pull: A customer pull system is a process by which the items the customer requires are ordered directly by the customer. The customer then picks up the item. This is considered a "Just In Time" system because the items are delivered when they are needed and not increasing inventory.
Lean Logistics can positively benefit your business by eliminating areas of waste. To do this, one must identify where the waste is coming from. Is enough equipment being staged properly at the shipper? Are the truck divers utilizing the most effective routes of delivery? At the end point, are the items being delivered on time. The process of lean logistics looks at the effect on business by determining what is in the best interest of the customer, a focus on customer value. The customer wants an item delivered, but there are gaps preventing the item from reaching its destination in a timely, more efficient manner.
The end result of a well controlled and well managed logistics system is a satisfied customer. This is the reason behind "Just-In-Time" delivery methods. The focus is customer value, and the way to obtain that level of satisfaction is to ensure the gaps of wastefulness are erased. By avoiding areas of waste and driving toward a perfect sequence of supply chain events, the process of delivery becomes even more effective, and the customer value is realized.
There are several areas of waste in logistics, but the biggest culprit is time. It takes time to load the trucks, time for travel between point A and point B. This is where careful planning and focused fleet management comes in. With the proper level of management and communication between the office and the driver, the element of time as a measure of waste becomes a non-factor.
Lean logistics helps the business by creating more product flow, by identifying areas of inefficiencies and reducing waste. Lean logistics may focus on one area of the supply chain, but in the end, it will help the entire network run more efficiently.
Create a Leaner Supply Chain with Port City Logistics
Optimize your supply chain with Port City Logistics. Whatever your logistics needs are, we’re here to create the best solution for you. We'll handle the complexities of logistics while you tend to your business's important day-to-day needs. Port City will develop your supply chain to get your business to new heights. Contact Port City Logistics using the link below to get your free quote.