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Creating a lean manufacturing environment

7 Wastes & Steps to a Lean Manufacturing Environment

Fri, Jul 15, 2016 @ 10:29 AM / 0 Comments / in Microsoft Dynamics AX, Manufacturing ERP Software by Nancy Phillippi

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If you’re a manufacturer, MRO, or job shop you can cut down on wasted costs and create a lean manufacturing environment by obtaining:

  • suitable time commitments
  • the right reporting tools
  • a team that is on board

Team involvement and buy in is critical to creating a lean environment.  In this article, we will be discussing areas in which resources are commonly wasted, as noted in the Lean Manufacturing operation method.  When these waste areas are addressed and corrected, your company could save money and improve staff and customer satisfaction.

This list of 7 is not new to Supply Chain, but we hope our ideas based on the Lean methodology will help your business become more profitable. In this blog, we will be discussing transportation alongside the concept of lean.

  1. Transportation

Transportation costs can get out of control if the right processes are not in place.  However, it is often difficult to reduce transport costs if you have a huge order and you are out of raw materials for production. Evaluating costs to transport raw or finished goods should be done when you evaluate finished goods costing. Often times manufacturing and MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) businesses put freight costs in a separate account, so it’s never fully visible in the cost of inventory. This is fine if you have your costs under control, but if it’s not, consider spending a little time looking at your landed costs. Tracking landed costs can be cumbersome so it is recommended that you:

  1. Use a tool that simplifies the process, like Dynamics AX, which checks rates and even handles containerization, and can analyze bleeders (Learn more by watching the About Michael Conti Video, Clients First Texas' managing director).
  2. Start by only tracking a few of your inventory items such as the most commonly used items. (We do not recommend you begin tracking landed costs on all of your raw materials due to the overhead this task can create.) Keep in mind that it could be the smallest parts or ingredients needed in production that can cost the most to transport due to inaccurate inventory counts and/or poor quality materials than can result in last minute orders which force the need for expedited shipping.

Part of keeping transportation costs down is ensuring you have the right amount and the right quality of raw materials on-hand which requires a strong inventory system that your team utilizes properly. 

Immediate steps to take to save on transportation:

  1. Look at your freight costs and analyze the data to determine which vendor has the highest freight costs.
  2. Complete a vendor service review and start tracking the promised delivery time versus the actual delivery date and the quality of each vendor. Start with your highest costing vendors and usage items. Once you’ve collected this information you can use this analyzed information to negotiate for better costs. 
  3. If 2 fails, try to negotiate better rates with your vendor or carrier the next month. Give your purchasing department ownership and pride in saving money. (Possibly even reward with a bonus such as a percentage of the saving, etc).
  4. Ensure your business software system is keeping an accurate account of your raw materials/parts and that your staff is using the software properly.
  5. Make sure freight costs are applied to the correct GL account.
  6. Evaluate your customers’ pricing and check to ensure freight costs are included in your evaluation. If you discover customers who are not as profitable as they should be, perhaps a policy change is needed where they pay freight costs or you increase their pricing. Of course low profitability by customer could be related to numerous other business issues.

Clients First operates both nationally and internationally, our AX consultants headquartered in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas are committed to your successful Dynamics AX implementation (Click on the links to email us).  We are Microsoft Gold Certified Partners who know that there is no such thing as “universal” ERP solution especially for manufacturing. Dynamics AX must be tailored to your company’s needs, organizational culture, staff capabilities, and project’s characteristics. Call us at 800.331.8382 so we can put your company first, too.

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Tags: Microsoft Dynamics AX, Manufacturing ERP Software