‘Leanify’ Transportation Within Your Company and Your Life

Minitab Blog Editor 05 July, 2011

Can the transportation of raw materials and products within your process lines be optimized for efficiency?Lean Six Sigma manufacturing techniques exist to eliminate waste in a company’s processes. One area of wasteful behavior can occur in the transportation of materials from one process line to another—at any stage in the product’s development. Even the transportation of raw materials to your factory can be made leaner, but most times this element is out of your company’s control.

However, you can control the transportation within your factory walls, and these tips can help you eliminate unnecessary transportation costs and extra time (two elements that don’t add value to your process):

-The biggest culprit for transportation waste within companies is the layout and design of your facility. Questions to ask:

  • Is the order of your machinery optimized for the least amount of transportation between processes?
  • Are your essential raw materials stored in a warehouse on the third floor, away from your main production facility?
  • Are the number of picks and drops for a product higher than necessary?
  • Are material handlers and operators transporting the product most efficiently?

-Optimize your company’s internal transportation for efficiency by analyzing it.

  • Draw a spaghetti diagram to follow the current physical path of your product. Note the distance the product travels from beginning to end. Expect this diagram to look messy and the distance traveled to be much more than you thought! Walk through your current process and take notes about what you think could be improved.
  • Use process mapping and lean value stream maps in Companion by Minitab to plot your current process and to quickly identify problem areas that can be streamlined.
Companion allows you to map your processes to identify ways to streamline, eliminate waste, and add value.

Lean Transportation in Your Life

I was thrilled when I saw this new mapping software called Mapnificent. Mapnificent allows you to see the areas you can reach within a given time frame from a specified location.

Mapnificent allows you to see the areas you can reach within a given time frame from a specified location via public transportation or bicycle.

You can plug in a time range—say 20 minutes—and then choose all the coffee shops or restaurants within your current location. Then you can find the coffee shop closest to your current location, which can help you save time and gas. I think this could be become the ultimate tool for making my errand-running leaner!

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