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How to overhaul your supply chain using lean manufacturing

The essence of any manufacturing business is the supply chain. If the supply chain is costly, unproductive, or has a high degree of waste this will translate into lower profits for the entire manufacturing business. Manufacturing experts agree that how successful a business is will depend on how well the supply is managed. Most manufacturing business owners have found that using lean manufacturing makes their supply chain more productivity and profitable and helps to reduce waste. The entire production process is made more efficient and the end result is a product that is of higher quality that has been made with a lower cost. These benefits indicate that every manufacturing business owner should consider redoing their supply chain using the principles of lean manufacturing. Here is what you need to know about how to overhaul your supply chain using lean manufacturing-

- It all starts with what is bought-The beginning of the supply chain is where purchasing occurs. This is the natural place to begin implementing lean manufacturing. However, it is important to note that for some manufacturing businesses purchasing can be a complicated process so the needed changes may not happen overnight. This can become even harder to do if the manufacturing business uses corporate purchasing along with local purchasing. Lean manufacturing experts suggest that for optimal performance in the purchasing area of the supply chain only one purchasing contact, one contract, and one price should be used for all locations. Keep in mind that while this can seem daunting there is plenty of different technology options that can make this easier and more manageable.
- Consider the human factor-Many manufacturing business owners fail to take a look at the human factor of their supply chain. However, despite how many technology options that you use or how much production equipment is involved in the supply chain chances are that there is a great deal of employees working there, as well. Manufacturing business owners should take a close look at how their employees are functioning on the supply chain. Is communication working well? Are duplicate orders happening? Are some employees doing to much and others not enough? All of these concerns can and should be addressed on the supply chain by using lean manufacturing.
- Look closely the warehouse-Another crucial element of the supply chain is the warehousing part of it. Manufacturing business owners should look closely at their warehousing system to identify places where they can cut out waste and put in improvements. Many manufacturing business owners are surprised to find that their warehousing system has a lot of waste. It is crucial to make sure that any process that is being used in the warehouse part of the supply chain is adding and not taking away from the profitability of the product. This step alone can often save the manufacturing business a great deal of money. Lean manufacturing principles can help to make this happen.
- Understand the real cost of shipping-Manufacturing business owners need to realize that any time materials are moved (whether raw or finished), or people then it is part of the shipping process of the supply chain. This is another place that should be carefully examined for waste and inefficiency. Manufacturing business owners should look carefully at all transportation that goes on whether in-house or direct shipping in order to make sure that it is being done in the most efficient way possible. When shipping is managed with lean manufacturing principles it can be a substantial cost saver for any manufacturing business. In addition, shipping should be periodically reviewed to make sure that it is still in adherence with lean manufacturing principles.

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