LEAN Adds Logic to Supply Chain Management Solutions

We have addressed the seven wastes in LEAN manufacturing in previous posts. LEAN manufacturing is a relatively new concept to American business, and it required vision and plenty of “getting used to” to understand its value. However, that is certainly not the case today.

Today, supply chain management solutions help power almost any successful business. That includes manufacturing facilities, warehousing operations and almost any organization marketing to consumers or to other businesses. At the heart of the best supply chain management solutions is a commitment to LEAN manufacturing.

Waste. Not. (The Fundamental Principle of LEAN.)

At the heart of LEAN manufacturing is the reduction or elimination of waste throughout the entire manufacturing process. “Waste” is defined simply as anything that costs time or money, but adds no value for the customer. LEAN identifies several areas of waste. We’ll look at them below. But first, bear with me for a quick “commercial.”

Our lean e-procurement solution—Corporate Kiosk™—eliminates waste in countless ways. It provides an internet portal through which any designated employees can order and reorder pre-approved materials in the most streamlined process imaginable. As we detail the seven ways LEAN describes waste, we’ll also add a note on how Corporate Kiosk addresses (and minimizes) each one.

LEAN Calls Out Waste Problems; Corporate Kiosk Eliminates Them with Supply Chain Management.

1. Waiting

First, LEAN asks if some tasks can be done simultaneously rather than in sequence. This eliminates waiting, thus saving time. Corporate Kiosk allows for approvals on printing and promotional item projects to happen at the same time, eliminating the gaps and delays that occur in a physical approval chain or checklist.

2. Transportation

Next, per LEAN, moving things from one place to another spends significant manpower, fuel, maintenance and time. Furthermore, logistics and handling are required at every stop. With Corporate Kiosk, XML Integration means the order can enter and flow through the system without the re-keying typically needed at each step of a manual system. In addition, print and promotional product orders can also be shipped to final destinations in exact quantities needed, with no extra handling.

3. Processing Itself

Here, LEAN calls upon companies to review manufacturing and other processes to determine if some can be combined with others or eliminated entirely. Companies must have the courage to rethink comfortable and familiar systems in order to gain longer-term advantage. Corporate Kiosk handles replenishment as well as new orders; in either case, it eliminates the duplicated effort of shopping, ordering and follow-up. The most qualified people make the choices once, up front. And in turn, everyone benefits.

4. Motion

LEAN suggests that if you can speed up the steps of a process, you will increase productivity. This may require new tools or equipment. Therefore, a company must take the long view to justify what might be a significant investment. You can access Corporate Kiosk on demand from anywhere at any time, and use it to ship to multiple locations within a single order. And even better—you need make essentially no initial capital investment.

5. Poor Quality

Perhaps the most obvious form of waste, according to LEAN, are mistakes that waste product. Errors are costly. That’s even more true if you have to repeat or redo work as a result. Corporate Kiosk eliminates re-keying, which has been the proven source of significant errors. Its online visual approval system saves time. But it also helps prevents mistakes that often crop up when approvals are obtained via phone, fax or email.

6. Inventory

Traditional supply chain management solutions call for maintaining a considerable inventory of work in progress (WIP) to ensure production continuity. LEAN asks “is it necessary?” Stockpiling resources at various production steps may provide a comfort zone, but LEAN thinking might suggest anything beyond “just in time” is a waste of those resources and an indication of an inefficient overall system. With Corporate Kiosk, the organization can view inventory available in real time and set thresholds for reorder. Thumbnail images of products are available to eliminate the practice of “ordering just to see what it looks like.”

7. Overproduction

Inventory is costly, in both resources and space. And according to LEAN, it is unnecessary if you can “produce to order” rather than “produce for inventory.” The very design of Corporate Kiosk streamlines production processes, reducing cycle time and dramatically speeding delivery. Further, the real-time visibility of demand across the entire ecosystem makes “safety blanket” inventory an outmoded expense.

Don’t Waste Any Time; Check Out Corporate Kiosk.

For almost 100 years we have been helping clients save time and money by increasing efficiencies and decreasing waste with our print supply chain management solutions. Please feel free to contact me or reach out to one of our sales reps to see how our solutions can help you and your business.

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