If one of your top company priorities is efficiency, then chances are you’ve heard the term “lean”. From Lean Thinking to lean transportation, the supply chain industry has made significant changes over the past 20 years. When organizations become consumed by gaining a competitive advantage, along with it comes a general feeling of stress to reduce costs and save time. Above all, lean logistics mitigates waste within a supply chain network, which allows organizations to achieve both route and labor optimization.
The Rise of the Lean Transportation Trend
The idea of Lean Thinking has long been popular with supply chain companies. But it didn’t start there. Back in the 1980’s in Japan, auto manufacturers were looking for a reliable and efficient way to drive more value to their customers. This meant more than fixing problems when and where they arose– along came Lean Thinking, a process through which an entire logistics process could be made more efficient and less wasteful.
In the 1980s and 1990s, lean transportation management systems— or TMS– were typically purchased by large organizations with multi-million dollar shipping expenses; purchasing a TMS was not a viable option for small and mid-market organizations. Fast forward to today, and access to technological solutions helps supply chain companies maintain lean operations from the manufacturing floor to the warehouse over the road and ultimately to the customer. Presently, the utilization of a TMS is fairly standard, as the benefits are too great to do without.
Why do companies implement TMS?
The key benefits of a good TMS is to reduce freight spend while ensuring on-time delivery. TMS technology makes it easier for companies to enforce processes and find areas of waste. The TMS will integrate with your ERP and/or your warehouse management system. The result is increased visibility into supply chain operations, and decreased amounts of time spent on data entry and manual processes. This allows a warehouse staff to spend more time on revenue-generating customer-centric work, and eliminates waste pertaining to warehouse processes. ELDs, or Electronic Logging Device, can further integrate with your TMS to make your drivers even more productive while satisfying the Government mandate.
How Can ELDs Help With Route Optimization?
Route optimization is the next piece of the puzzle when deploying a lean transportation model. The implementation of the ELD rule in December 2015 has helped fleets of drivers to focus less on reporting and more on driving. For starters, ELDs generate electronic records which cut down on the amount of physical paperwork that drivers need to fill out. This decreases their risks of getting into an accident, (many drivers complete paperwork while driving in an effort to multitask), and helps them stay focused on their main responsibility– moving freight.
From vehicle inspections to spotting route inefficiencies, ELDs are enabling fleets of drivers to practice lean transportation on a daily basis, which partially explains why it will be mandatory for all fleets to adopt this practice by December 2017. Investing in a disciplined and focused transportation process is the lean way, and will result in cost savings if executed upon properly.
Lean transportation can strengthen a company’s processes by driving productivity, efficiency, and labor & route optimization. Adopting this methodology may seem overwhelming, but the transition does not have to be drawn out. Bar Code Direct is made up of a team of industry experts who can help you implement a lean transportation methodology for your business. If you’re thinking about trimming your “waste line”, request your free barcode systems health check, and contact Bar Code Direct today.