Optimizing Shipping with Lean Operations

September 19, 2016 Comments Off on Optimizing Shipping with Lean Operations

They say teamwork makes the dream work, and in implementing lean business practices for your organization this idea is integral. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a burgeoning small business, embracing collaboration and visibility will help transform your supply chain by reducing waste and increasing longevity.

Lean operations require a mindset that’s open to collaboration, strategizing and recognizing inefficiencies. Business owners and managers would all like to think their operations are the most functional, but in a constantly evolving world where each passing second means a change is happening it’s impossible to avoid unforeseen circumstances. As in life, businesses must be willing to change with the times and adjust to sudden roadblocks. Careful planning and visibility practices will help optimize business processes.

Although your third-party logistics (3PL) freight broker may not be able to reduce hiring inefficiencies or boost culture, they can help improve one of the most important parts of your supply chain: delivery. Choosing a 3PL with vast industry knowledge and innovative technology is paramount to the success of your business. Not only will the reliability of such a company put your mind at ease, but it will help reduce inefficiencies within your supply chain.

So how can a 3PL help with lean business practices?

The goal of any lean undertaking is to eliminate waste: wasted time, wasted resources, wasted opportunities. Top-performing 3PLs are masters in efficiency and understand the complex mechanics of the transportation industry. By maintaining communication with a 3PL you will invite creative solutions that may not have been otherwise considered.

Improved supply chain management will create added value for a business, its customers and everyone in between by reducing inefficiencies, including optimized routing, lower shipping costs and improved customer relations. The benefits of leaning your transportation practices are invaluable; over time the gains will become increasingly more clear. Every step taken toward improving efficiency reinforces your company’s ability to grow and provide customer service.

One of the best developments in the 3PL industry is transportation management system (TMS) technology. Not only do these systems typically allow freight shipments to be booked online – thus decreasing the amount of time spent booking loads – a TMS also provides valuable data that can support enacting new goals. Many companies, but not all, provide TMS access for free. With the importance of self-serve technology in today’s business world, you should seek a 3PL that offers a top-of-the-line system that aggregates your shipping data into a user-friendly platform. Find ways to integrate this data into decision-making for leaner operations. Note that your data is constantly changing, and thus so should your procedures. Transforming your interactions with outside companies from simply transactional into a an important part of your business decisions will help guide problem solving and adjustments. Embrace the opportunities offered to your business and you’ll notice visible transformations in both your bottom line and business practices.

Creating a lean business environment gives your employees the opportunity to showcase creativity and innovation. An organization that practices transparency humbles itself enough to be open to improvements. By consistently reaching out to integral businesses for advice and collaboration, efficiencies will become visible and your production could improve by leaps and bounds.

Lean Business Basics

How to get started:

  1. Simplify processes and procedures
  2. Increase efficiency and visibility
  3. Streamline inventory
  4. Eliminate waste

Don’t forget! This is an ongoing process; identify root causes and continually hone the process.

How lean helps:

  • Cost reduction through eliminating waste and inefficiencies
  • Added value for consumers due to reduced mishaps
  • Reduces lead time for on-demand customer service
  • Minimizes reactive problem solving and encourages proactive action
  • Creates long-term solutions and opportunities for collaboration
  • High-functioning procedures help your business operate more smoothly

Don’t forget! Collaborating with industry experts can identify improvements for competencies that may not be fully understood within your business.

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