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Lean Logistics Implementation by Eliminating Wastes

We all know about “Lean” starts from Manufacturing Industry and now it has been popular not only in production but also has risen abruptly in other fields, such as Lean Logistics, Lean R&D, Lean Admin, Lean Service and Lean Medical Industry, etc.

What is Lean Logistics?

Lean Logistics originates from Lean Production. As Lean approaches expand beyond manufacturing fields, Lean thinking also applies in the logistics area, prompting to rethink business processes for the better situation. Lean logistics refers to the usage of Lean thinking on the management of enterprise logistics activities to eliminate non-value-added waste in the production and supply processes to improve customer satisfaction.

The system of supply chain

The system starting from inside is divided into three levels in manufacturing industry: production, logistics and supply chain. Logistics which plays a key role in connection between production, logistics and supply chain occupied in the middle. Plenty of waste still exist in the system, and Lean Logistics can be achieved through the waste elimination. The core of all optimization activities is the value-added process. To consider how to eliminate waste throughout the system, starting from the inside with the optimization of value-added activities in the production process and moving the (inevitable) waste of production forward which may occur in the whole process, and in general, in logistics area first and then for the supply chain.

Verschwendung in der Lieferkette
Fig. 1: Waste in the supply chain

There is a great deal of waste in the traditional production, and people feel that such waste is unavoidable or, even if it is diverted to logistics, it is only a redistribution of workload instead of cost reduction. In fact, the wastes can be eliminated or reduced, and even if they cannot be reduced, they can be transferred to logistics and the overall cost of ownership will also be reduced.

Forms of waste in the supply chain

In processes

The wastes are included in the processes when:

  • operators are dismantling or cleaning up the packages
  • operators are picking up the wrong part, resulting in a defective product
  • operators are leaving own working station for material handling
  • operators are waiting for the task assigned by the team leader for they are not sure about the production scheduling
  • operators' work is interrupted because of the material change
  • waiting for the material leasing from the warehouse or team leaders
  • not suitable packaging which brings difficulty in operation, need for replacement of appropriate packaging
  • excessive WIPs or raw materials which increase the complexity of handling and management
  • operators are assigned to transport finished goods & WIPs

In Logistics

And wastes are also included in logistics processes such as:

  • inventory management
  • transportation methods
  • packaging methods
  • incoming quality

Successful Lean Logistic projects by IMIG

IMIG China is well-versed in consulting services such as Lean Logistics and others, we have offered relevant coaching and training to many clients, including world-class manufacturers. We and our clients have successfully implemented the following Successful Lean Logistics projects by IMIG:

  • production planning optimization, developing strategy and the corresponding processes and documentation
  • Lean layout optimization in production for making operators dedicated to value-added activities, and improving production efficiency
  • material management to shorten the exchange time for assembly line by 30%, reduce the risk of material mixing, and ensure FIFO applied
  • Lean warehouse planning, for improving warehouse efficiency and space utilization
  • internal logistics optimization to improve logistics and distribution efficiency by Waterspider method
  • packaging optimization to reduce the cost of transportation and packaging
  • JIT delivery of suppliers, which reduces material scrap, reduces logistics costs and improves on-time delivery

Our Approach

Lean logistics requires us to focus on customer real needs, analyze processes of product design, manufacturing and purchasing in the value chain to find out the wastes which can be converted to value-added ones. We make our action place according to the principles: non-interruption, non-circuiting, non-waiting and non-defect, to create customer-driven value in time, eliminate the waste of any process once it is found and finally achieve the perfection.

Lisa Lang
Lisa Lang
Junior Consultant I IMIG Germany

For further information please contact us either by mail: or by phone: +49 7152 928 460.

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