Introduce Lean Thinking into Your Distribution Center
Ask why and eight other common-sense approaches to leaning the warehouse or distribution center.
(Boonton, NJ, March 21, 2014) Steve Hopper is a proponent of lean processes in distribution, but hes also skeptical of efforts to make a broad and ambiguous topic seem like a cure-all for distribution centers.
Im a little bit of a cynic, says Hopper, founder of Inviscid Consulting. Its almost like these ideas are repackaged and remarketed every few years. In my mind, lean in the DC is nothing new.
Hopper sees lean as a common-sense approach, one that requires analysis and sound judgement but not a major overhaul.
In the March issue of Distribution Center Management, Hopper shares eight lean strategies including Strategy Number 4: Forget the putaway two-step.
Many DCs unnecessarily make putaway a two-step process. Hopper says you can often make putaway a one-step process, with the worker who pulls a pallet off a truck putting it away.
If one lift-truck operator pulls a pallet off a truck and puts it in a staging lane, and another operator picks it up in the staging lane and puts it away, you’re duplicating the time needed to stop the forklift, lift the pallet, set it down, and pull the forks out.
All of Hoppers lean strategies appear in the March issue of Distribution Center Management.
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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.