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Keeping It Lean…and Responsive

06/27/2016

As part of the Sales team, I have the opportunity to interact with a wide array of companies and see best practices in action. The hot topic in logistics is incorporating lean principles. Our lives do not lack opportunities for self-improvement. Consolidating errands would reduce gas consumption and free up time for other tasks. Selecting the 93% lean meat rather than the 65% would likely improve our health. The activities found throughout the supply chain are no different. Missing skill sets or resource expertise, insufficient resources and/or an absence of appropriate leadership to drive a culture of change continue to hamper companies large and small.

Lean Principles
The discussion surrounding lean principles began long before the recent recession. After emerging post-recession with reduced staffs, companies continue to look to their core transportation and logistics providers as reliable resources to expand beyond their current relationships. Logistics and transportation management is now becoming an area of focus for many organizations to apply lean principles.

Flexibility
The fuel situation is self-evident, both at home and in the transportation office. E-commerce is disrupting supply chain flows due to the shift in consumer purchasing and on-demand service. A more trusting relationship with key logistics partners provides access to expertise, market intelligence and a flexible staff that can execute and adapt to the ebbs and flows of logistics activities.

Investment
Lean principles require efficiency; efficiency requires automation and quick decision-making and quick decision-making requires well-prepared, thoughtful employees with situational awareness. And each of these lean work-flow requirements require investments in people, which means potential capital expense.

Responsiveness
Lean principles don’t mean under-staffing, yet many logistics departments are still short-staffed. This demands personnel to handle multiple responsibilities, often without the necessary skill set(s) to do so.

Open, transparent provider relationships depend on constant communication, including tactical and strategic initiative discussions so that when unexpected supply chain events occur, the logistics manager is positioned to respond adequately thanks to having a trusted resource with access to capabilities across multiple modes of transportation.

Insight
Data gathering, mining and analysis is more important than ever. However, it’s not the data that’s important—it’s the key insights gathered that allow you to identify the waste, exception or trend that needs to be addressed. Having access to data from multiple companies in a similar vertical allows for the collaborative sharing of current industry insights, best practices, ideas and solutions.

Better Business Relationships
With industry-leading technology and solutions architects, procurement best practices and market intelligence to continuously identify improvements, and an account management team aligned to enhance the customer experience, Hub Group allows companies to focus on the highest payoff activities possible—and optimize their organizations to be even more competitive.

I would love to hear your feedback on what you think are some key drivers for instituting a successful lean supply chain. I also encourage you to subscribe to our Executive Vice President’s newsletter by emailing info@unyson.com. Thanks for reading.

 

Optimizing to be a Lean Mean Solutions Machine!

 

Tom McConnell
Assistant Vice President of Retail Solutions
tmcconnell@unyson.com