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4 Best Lean Practices in Warehousing

15 February 2024 | 6-MIN Read
  • 3PL
  • Efl

Nowadays, warehousing companies in Sri Lanka are focusing on lean practices. Lean warehousing is a strategic approach to warehouse management focused on reducing non-value adding activities and optimizing efficiency in order to enhance overall profitability. The primary goal of lean warehouse management is to streamline operations, minimize resource consumption, and maximize productivity without compromising the quality of output. The emphasis lies on constant improvement and the elimination of non-value-added activities, creating a dynamic and responsive warehouse environment that can adapt to changing market demands. Here are the quintessential lean practices that are reshaping the warehousing narrative:


Just-In-Time (JIT) Inventory Management

Just-In-Time inventory management stands as a cornerstone in the pursuit of operational efficiency. By aligning inventory levels with actual demand, warehousing companies can curtail carrying costs and optimize storage resources. The strategic implementation of JIT not only reduces overhead but also enhances overall operational efficiency.


The 6S Methodology

Originating from Japanese management philosophies, the 6S methodology introduces a systematic approach to workplace organization. The five pillars — Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain and Safety — foster an environment of visual management, waste reduction, and systematic organization. By instilling the 6S principles, warehousing companies in Sri Lanka can streamline processes, minimize errors, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. The meticulous implementation of 6S methodologies aligns seamlessly with the commitment to quality that distinguishes EFL 3PL.


Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-control (DMAIC)

DMAIC principles provide a systematic approach to reduce Non-Value-Adding (NVA) activities, including but not limited to non-value adding transportation, non-moving inventory, unnecessary man and machine motions, waiting time. Initially, the focus is on defining problems, such as decreased throughput in a warehouse process. Measurement involves assessing current throughput levels, utilizing methods like time and motion studies. Analysis is crucial, comparing measured throughputs with the ideal scenario to identify NVA causes like extra transportation or waiting time. Improvement strategies follow, aiming to eliminate or reduce NVA through alternate methods, proper tools, and ergonomic layout adjustments. Finally, Control involves proactive involvement to maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and infrastructure, ensuring continuous positive results in lean warehousing processes. EFL 3PL follows DMAIC principles to reduce the non-value adding waste in their warehouses and optimize the operations.


Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)

Kaizen, or the philosophy of continuous improvement, embodies the commitment to iterative enhancements. Warehousing companies can foster a culture of Kaizen by encouraging regular assessments of processes, employee feedback, and incremental improvements. For industry leaders like EFL 3PL, embracing Kaizen ensures that operational processes remain dynamic and responsive to evolving market demands. EFL 3PL’s lean team continuously assesses their operations and continues to make process improvements and innovations to further optimize their operations and provide more value to their customers. To make this process even more effective, EFL 3PL Sri Lanka establishes individual qualitative and quantitative targets, along with a rewarding system at all levels, to motivate employees to highlight areas that require improvements and to provide bespoke lean solutions to optimize the operations.


In conclusion, the adoption of lean practices in warehousing is a strategic imperative for companies seeking to optimize operations and provide unparalleled services. As a leading warehousing companies in Sri Lanka, EFL 3PL continue to invest in these lean methodologies, the landscape of warehousing in Sri Lanka is poised for increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and sustained growth.