The worlds of warehousing and distribution are increasingly taking a page from the manufacturing playbook — and it has to do with adopting LEAN methodology. Originally applied to manufacturing processes to minimize waste and promote continuous improvement, the guiding principles behind LEAN are focused on providing ever better value to a business’s customers.
Forward-thinking warehouse managers leverage the best LEAN takeaways to overcome many of the challenges they face — including eliminating waste and reducing labor fees. Whether it’s to reduce the amount of time stock sits on shelves or to better meet the challenges of a truly globalized supply chain, LEAN warehousing — especially when combined with the best ERP for distribution centers — is a powerful strategy for increasing efficiency and minimizing operational costs.
LEAN ERP Solutions for Warehousing
Implementing ERP systems for warehouses is becoming easier and more affordable — particularly in the form of cloud-based SaaS solutions. For warehouse managers, there are some key takeaways to consider for an ERP systems seamless support of LEAN methodology:
- Take advantage of labeling technology: Along with implementing an ERP solution that makes sense for your warehouse’s needs, it’s advisable to adopt some form of labeling technology, such as barcodes and/or radio-frequency identification — or RFID — tags. This setup can streamline data collection in the handling of materials and products. In addition, for products that have an expiration or obsolescence date, RFID tags can help with improving routing, picking and shipping paths.
- Decrease handling times: Everyone in warehouse management knows that labor is one of the most significant costs to face. Any time you can reduce the amount of handling involved with the warehousing and distribution of specific products, you and your customers stand to benefit from LEAN methods. When you combine the right labeling system with a robust ERP solution, you can eliminate the need for manual methods. Doing so in turn reduces redundant steps and human-induced errors associated with unnecessary and/or duplicated handling procedures.
- Employ enhanced shelving: How you choose to shelve your products is incredibly important to your facility’s overall efficiency. If your employees are taking too long to find items or if you have inconsistent areas of overloading in your warehouse spaces, you might want to re-evaluate the type of shelving you’re using. From flow-thru and push back to drive in and drive-thru, there are numerous forms of shelving that all have different benefits for specific products and distribution scenarios — such as last-in-first-out and first-in-first-out storage arrangements.
- Consider just-in-time production methods: With an ERP solution that allows you to work more closely with your customers and vendors, you can implement just-in-time production methods, which can significantly reduce product excess and storage costs. And with less items collecting dust on your shelves, your entire operation stands to benefit.
Partner With Clients First Business Solutions
It’s easiest to apply the principles of LEAN methodology to your warehouse when you work with the right technology partner — like Clients First Business Solutions. With our unique understanding and tireless support of your business model, we can help you select and implement an ERP solution that brings your facility up to an entirely new level of operational efficiency. For more information, contact us today.