If you’re in the supply chain or logistics industry, chances are you’ve heard of – and probably tried to implement – lean practices at your facility. You’ve read up on it, designated lean leaders, and started identifying areas for waste reduction. But now, maybe your lean program has lost steam, or you’re just not sure what steps to take next.
Lean has become an industry standard when it comes to reducing waste, improving customer service, and ultimately keeping your facility running as efficiently as possible. For third party logistics providers (3PLs), lean can also have a huge advantage – not only for better cold storage management, but also for customers of 3PLs. Given the choice, customers will always choose a 3PL with a robust process improvement culture over one that just claims to be “lean.” An effective improvement culture assures customers that the company is committed to eliminating mistakes and providing timely, customer-centric service.
One step toward creating a more efficient cold storage facility that is often overlooked, especially in refrigerated storage environments, is analyzing the storage and shelving. Just switching to a smarter storage solution can help identify areas of waste – from poor product visibility to heavy congestion in aisles – and help you achieve many of your other lean warehousing goals at your refrigerated storage facility.
- Reduce touches and travel time. 3PLs change out inventory often, which can leave your cooler storage in disarray. A more efficient mobile storage system and inventory layout ensures that products are highly accessible and visible, which can speed up the time it takes employees to pull orders. Well-organized storage can also reduce touches, which can significantly reduce lead times and improve customer service metrics.
- Avoid costly new construction. Your company is growing, but your storage space is limited. By adding mobile racking, you can double the capacity of your cold storage, saving you from capital-intensive construction projects that can disrupt everyday business.
- Create space for value-added activities. A logistics provider’s primary goal is to provide exceptional customer service – and the warehouses should reflect that. Customers now demand extra services such as packaging and labeling at 3PLs, but those services require extra space. Mobile racking can save enough space to make room for these activities without renovating docks or adding on.
- Reduce energy costs. The average warehouse is using 40% more energy than they could be if they improved their efficiency. A more densely-packed cooler is more energy efficient. Mobile racking is the highest-density storage solution available, and it maximizes the capacity of your high-cost cold storage to reduce wasted energy.
- Improve employee safety and morale: A recent poll showed that 20% of warehouse workers are “actively disengaged” from their work and do “just enough to get by.” An organized warehouse leads to a safer, more pleasant work environment which encourages employee engagement—especially in a challenging cold chain environment.
Taking the next steps toward achieving your lean warehousing goals doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact us for a free space assessment – we’re here to help!