Unknown to most people, every single activity we execute generates tons of data that can be used to model and even predict subsequent behaviors. From when you walk your dog, to the choice of groceries you select, all of this data is a gold mine. Similarly, transportation can be revolutionized with the use of big data, thus improving Lean Logistics.
Lean logistics improves when using data
Just like the meaning of the word “Lean”, lean logistics involves the effective use of data-driven strategies to shed off unnecessary inefficiencies in logistics. Lean logistics stems from the continuous improvement thought (that there is always room for improvement). Utilizing lean logistics within a firm involves the following steps:
- Disseminate the “Lean Thinking”: At the core of lean logistics is a firm-wide restructuring of how processes and activities are executed. There is no need for mining and analyzing valuable data if the people to execute the improvements are stuck on the old ways of doing things. Therefore, it is important to sell “Lean Thinking” to every decision-making member of the team.
- Dataset identification: The second step to deploying lean logistics is to identify the valuable datasets to mine and track. It is important to look into customer-defined values within the firm. What do the customers consider to be the value my firm offers? And how can we improve it within the firm? For a logistics firm, the primary value datasets are speed and accuracy.
- Process mapping and waste elimination: Working from the firm’s mission objective, map out every process and sub-process that is deployed within the firm. Identify all inefficiencies within the processes by rethinking the best and most value-driven way they can be done. Eliminate all redundant processes.
- Initiate Pull Marketing: Using non-intrusive marketing medium, reach out to all customers, detailing your commitment to continuous improvements and the steps the firm just executed to serve them better.
- Track and Monitor: In all these things, keep track of every valuable data generated for research and developments sakes. Example of data that should be consistently tracked includes pick rate, maintenance costs, accident rates, level of inventory held, percentage and value of damaged goods, delivery accuracy etc.
How can 3PL help optimize lean logistics strategies
3PL refers to Third Party Logistics provider. These are dedicated logistics partners that can offer cost-saving insights to improve your firm’s competitiveness and bottom-line. In general, they offer the following benefits to you lean logistics strategy.
- They help reduce cost: Given their years of expertise in the industry, they have all the necessary insights to help customers reduce costs.
- Have flexible allowances for peak and off-peak seasons: Customers do not have to worry about wasting labor and machinery that they wouldn’t need during off-peak seasons. 3PL worry about that.
- Specialized IT Logistics solutions: Since 3PL providers move large volumes daily, they deploy best-in-class IT solutions that might be too expensive for customers at their individual logistics scale.
- Viable growth partners: 3PL providers have enough capacity buffers to serve as viable logistics partners for firms seeking to extend their distribution reach.
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