When it comes to improving profitability, it’s important that businesses explore every avenue open to them.
An important concept in cold storage is lean warehouse management. The term was originally coined in the 1980s to describe the business model of Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, but it remains relevant to this day.
The idea behind lean warehouse management is to eliminate waste in order to maximize the amount of value provided to your clients. To do so, it’s important to reduce costs and improve customer service.
4 key areas of lean warehouse management
There are four key areas that must be addressed under the principles of lean warehouse management: storage, foundation, just-in-time, and culture.
1) Storage areas should be arranged in the optimum layout to allow for the best use of space and the most efficient workflows possible. It may be wise to bring in an outside expert to analyze the space, think about your storage needs, and design the layout of your facility.
2) Foundation means getting to know your business, standardizing practices, organizing the working environment to boost productivity, and implementing mechanisms that encourage continuous improvement. This step relies heavily on the talent of the management team in implementing best working practices and innovating constantly.
3) Just-in-time relates to inefficiencies in work processes and labor management. First of all managers need to observe how each member of staff works before creating process charts and standard operating procedures. A work measurement program, such as a warehouse management system (WMS), should then be implemented alongside strategies designed to boost productivity.
4) The last element, culture, refers to the idea that lean warehouse management can only be properly implemented if there is a shift in workplace culture. The principles of lean warehouse management are reliant on people, so training and communicating with staff is of paramount importance. For the transition to a lean organization to be a success, staff members must buy into the idea and be convinced of its benefits.
Lean warehouse management requires a commitment from staff at every level of the organization, and clear leadership from the top. It takes a while for any business to become lean, but if you are willing to make the change the benefits are incredible.
At A-N-C Cold Storage Construction we make it our business to research ways in which you can make your cold storage facility more profitable. As thought leaders in the industry, we are proud to provide up to date information on designing, building, and running cold storage warehouses to a long list of happy clients.
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