Leading Lean Project Assignment: Case of Lean Transformation Projects for Warehouse Organizations
The Case Study
The case study for this leading lean project assignment is the Putting Lean Principles in the Warehouse (2008). Read and analyse this case study thoroughly to grasp and classify the information it contains.
You are encouraged to do your own research, but the following article is a compulsory reading, and its website link is provided below:
Doug Bartholomew (2008). Putting Lean Principles in the Warehouse, Lean Enterprise Institute
Useful links on Lean Warehousing:
https://www.orderhive.com/knowledge-center/lean-warehousing https://igps.net/blog/2018/10/25/following-lean-warehousing-principles-improved-efficiency/ https://www.lean.org/the-lean-post/articles/think-you-know-your-warehouse-or-distributioncenter-think-again/
You have been hired as a Lean consultant to produce a brief report on the use of Lean transformation projects for supply chain and warehouse organisations, based on the given case study.
Your submission must discuss the following topics:
1) The case study describes a business process that is different from traditional manufacturing. Using the examples from the case study or other Lean transformation projects for warehousing, explain how the following concepts of a lean framework are manifested in a warehousing project:
a) Voice of the Customer
b) Critical Customer Requirements
c) Critical to Quality
d) Critical to Process
2) Select 4 of the 8 Wastes of Lean that apply to the case study and demonstrate how each waste relates to one or more PMBOK Knowledge Areas or PRINCE2 Themes:
a) How was the waste reduced in the case study?
b) What was the effect on the project overall?
c) What tools or techniques from PMBOK or PRINCE2 were applied in achieving this?
3) Select 3 principles from the House of Lean as discussed during week 1 lecture. Demonstrate how the application of these principles helped achieve project success.
4) As a conclusion, write a short reflection on the people management aspect of the case study (transformation project) and also list 2 lessons you have learned from this case study that may help you manage people more effectively in your career.
The report on leading lean project assignment will discuss the lean transformation projects for warehouse organizations and the supply chain. With the help of the selected case study, the report will discuss a new business process approach that is totally different from traditional manufacturing. The concepts of lean projects in the warehousing project are discussed with the help of various attributes. Out of the 8 lean wastes that are available, 4 are selected that are present in the given case study. Various solutions for the reduction of lean wastes are also given along with their benefits in the overall projects. The principles from the house of lean are also discussed that were helpful for the success of the project selected in the case study. At the end of the report, what are the lessons learned from the case study are discussed that can help me in managing people more effectively.
Manifestation of Lean Framework Concepts in the Case Study
Voice of the Customer
The Voice of Customer is the process in which the expectations, needs, performance experiences, and requirements of the customers are gathered so that services will be provided to the customers by considering the gathered facts. By going through all of the listed points in the previous line, we can take the example of Menlo Worldwide Logistics, who were getting the exact details that in which field they need to improve for getting a greater number of customers and fulfilling their needs and requirements. This lean framework in the company will help to get the integrated results of all the requirements and later on the company can focus on those requirements from the customers (Jünge et al., 2019). This will also help Menlo Worldwide Logistics to get a better customer understanding of a target range of customers. The voice of customers will also be effective in getting the proper time duration for the delivery of the products. It is an important framework as it takes the feedback of the customers and this will help in determining the areas of changes on which the company can work in the upcoming projects.
Critical Customer Requirements
It is clearly stated in the case study that Menlo Worldwide Logistics needs to deal with a variety of customers and different customers are having different requirements. This is one of the examples that for meeting those critical requirements, the company is doing various things like designing new solutions and adopting various principles. Due to the critical requirements by the customers, Menlo Worldwide Logistics was not adopting the "one size fits all" process and the related activities. The company is just focusing on delivering the orders by the customers to the final destination without any kind of error.
Critical to Quality
This concept is used for identifying the needs and requirements of the customers of the company and after the identification of the needs, it will translate the information into the desired products and different process requirements. It helps in the understanding of product characteristics that will help in producing the quality products for the customers. For example, Menlo Worldwide Logistics was redesigning the activities that can help them in optimizing the flow of materials. This helps them in producing the quality products to the customers and the customers were not compromising with the quality of the products as the company is continuously working on the improvement of quality products (Dowson, 2021). As it is clearly mentioned in the case study that instead of finding different ways for the improvement of the material efficiency, the Menlo Worldwide Logistics were relocating the machines in a better efficient place that was helpful for the improvement activity.
Critical to Process
In this lean framework, all the processes are specified for their correct operation. With the help of a critical to the process, the Menlo Worldwide Logistics were able to were able to understand the functions and characteristics of all the processes that were being done on the organization for the delivery of the quality product to the customers. For example, the Menlo Worldwide Logistics was doing the value stream mapping that helps them in understanding the goods and flow of information. This was also helpful in redesigning the activities as the process was clear about all the ongoing processes in the company.
Elaboration of 4 Lean Wastes that apply to the Case Study
The four wastes of lean that can reduce that can be applied to the case study are Excess Processing, Transportation, Inventory, and Non-Utilized Talent.
Excess processing is an indication of an imperfectly designed process. It may occur due to inadequate job, facility layout or station tooling, and equipment design. It can be linked to administrative or management roles and responsibilities of PRINCE2 principles. For example, issues can be taken of duplication of data, lack of communication, human error, and areas where authority overlap (Antony et al., 2021). Human error, poor communication, excessive reporting, lack of understanding about the customer’s needs, slow approval process.
It is a lean waste that does not come under the manufacturing process. It occurs when the manufacturing management fails to utilize the potential talent of the employees and this is due to the unavailability of best board members of PRICE2 principle. Assigning tasks to employees who do not have the proper training for executing such tasks or assigning wrong tasks are some aspects of this kind of manufacturing waste. If the management of communication is poor then it can result in this kind of manufacturing waste. Poor management, poor communication, incomplete measures, inappropriate policies, failure in involving people in workplace development and design, and absence of team training (Dabestani et al., 2017).
If the design of the plant is poor then it can lead to transportation waste. It can lead to other wastes as well such as motion or waiting and affect overhead costs. For example higher energy costs and fuel and overhead expenses like depreciation of equipment and lift drivers. Old processes that are not updated or changed over a period of time can also result in transportation waste and this is the business justification principle of PRINCE2. Numerous storage facilities, poor layouts, poor designing of production systems, large batch sizes are some examples of transportation waste.
It is generally called a formal waste. Planning and poor forecasting or over-purchasing can cause inventory waste and this is also the business justification principle of PRINCE2. It can indicate an imperfectly designed process link betwixt scheduling/purchasing and manufacturing. Inventory defects, excess production of goods, excessive transportation, delay in waste of waiting or production are some causes of inventory waste.
Reduction of Waste
There are many activities that are performed by the company Menlo logistics to reduce waste. Value-stream mapping is used by the company to point out opportunities to get rid of wasteful steps for-example mapping the flow of physical information and information through a warehouse and then keeping the process aside and restructuring it to be more smooth-running. Proper Assessment of the customer’s manufacturing floor is done to design the appropriate material flow (Sreedharan & Sunder, 2018). Evaluation of each warehouse is done on the basis of its lean performance. Documentation is done for the monthly plan and the growth against it. Kaizen activities like implementation sessions and brainstorming are performed by the employees to remove waste in various warehouses activities and processes. Training programs like five S training, kaizen training, value-stream mapping, and visual controls understanding are organized for the employees to execute lean in a new ware house.
Effect of Waste Reduction on the Overall Project
The overall effect on the project is very positive. The company is able to win more customers because of the lean approach. Value-Stream mapping helped the company redesign warehouse activities for-instance staging of goods, kitting and picking, trucked, evaluation of the actual packing of the goods, and sequencing for delivery to optimize the flow of materials (Gubinelli et al., 2019). Proper utilization of talent by providing proper training to the new employees and assigning them to work under a current member who serves both as a teacher and a helper, the company streamlines the whole process. The company was able to reduce the worth of inventories by twenty six percent; boost accuracy in inventory from sixty to ninety nine percent, and remove 95% of the accelerated freight costs.
Tools and Techniques from PRINCE2
In this section of the report, various techniques are selected for every individual waste that can be discussed in the above section. For excess processing, the roles and responsibilities among the employees of Menlo Worldwide Logistics were properly distributes. Due to the proper distribution of the roles, there was no imperfection in the processes that were associated with the product delivery. Non-utilized talents can only get their chance if there are the best board members who will give them chances to showcase their talent to the customers and the seniors. The Menlo Worldwide Logistics has appointed the best board members who were capable of taking the best decisions and they were also providing the chances to the employees as per their capabilities. Transportation and inventory waste were directly associated with the business justifications of the project. In the case study, the Menlo Worldwide Logistics were completely justified with their business approaches and thus this helped them in reducing such kind of wastes from their project.
Application of 3 Lean Principles in the Case Study
The three principles that can be applied to the case study are Mapping the Value Stream, establishing pull, and create Flow.
Identification of opportunities to remove wasteful steps is done by the help of value-stream mapping for instance mapping the flow of physical goods and information through a warehouse and then setting apart the process and redesigning the process to be more smooth-running. Value-stream mapping optimization of the flow of materials by restructuring the warehouse activities for-instance staging of goods, kitting and packing, trucking, observing the actual packaging of goods, and sequence of delivery.
Inventory is a considerable waste in a production system. The aim of a system that is based on pull is to limit WIP and inventory at the same time assuring that the necessary information and materials are accessible for a smooth flow of work. The company was able to win more customers by assuring that the delivery is just-in-time. The company by working backward and following value stream through the production system ensured product satisfaction and the requirements of the customers
After having removed the waste, the next thing that needs to be considered is the smooth flow of the remaining steps without any interruptions. From the given case study, it can be seen that the Menlo Worldwide Logistics were having the smooth flow of all the processes and due to this flow only, the company was so much successful and famous among the people.
Lessons learned about People Management from the Case Study
People management is the process in which we are recruiting, train, retaining, and engage the employees and workers to optimize their qualities and talent that can help in enhancing the productivity. It is clear from the case study that the Menlo Worldwide Logistics were believing in the essentiality of training and they always gave the training at the level of the site manager. For the stakeholder management, the company was organizing the training programs. For example, lean orientation training for the new employees, Five S training, and various cross-training programs. The Menlo Worldwide Logistics has developed the training programs and all of the programs were conducted at the base level. In the five S training, the understanding was provided regarding the visual controls and value-stream mappings. In the lean orientation training, the new employees were given the projects along with those associates who were there on the project from past days (Cruz-Villazon et al., 2019). The associates help the new employees in various activities and also teach them about the work and work culture. It is clearly mentioned in the case study that the new associates were learning things from the helpers or teachers who were none other than the associates of the company.
As it is clear that the training programs were very much helpful for the new employees to adopt the on-going process of the company. According to me, such kinds of programs are very much useful for enhancing the qualities of a new comer in any of the projects. If the employees are having the best capabilities, then it will lead to the successful completion of the project. As the employees are properly trained with the help of different training programs, then the employees can give their best to the project and help the associates with their skills and knowledge.
The lessons that I learned from the case study is that training is most important part of managing people and apart from that, integrated work is also required. If all the senior employees will help their junior employees, then it will be easy for the junior employee to catch and learn the new tasks easily. These two lessons that I can relate to my own life that can help me in my future career. I can use the concept of proper training and integrated work in my workplace and with the help of that, I will be able to manage people in my work surrounding.
From the above report I can be concluded that the case study was the best example of leading lean projects. Various points are discussed in this report that can help an organization in establishing the lean project approaches in the ongoing or upcoming projects. People management is one of the necessary things that can be achieved by implementing the discussed things. If an organization wants to get success, then the recommended points need to be considered and lean wastes need to be managed. Overall, it was a great experience for me to have such a knowledgeful case study and other valuable points that can be used in my professional life.
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