The term ‘lean’ refers to a systematic approach to enhance value in an organization’s inventory by eliminating excessive waste of materials, and performing tasks with minimum effort and time through continuous improvement. Lean production is carried out from the perspective of the client, or customer who will be purchasing the product or service.
The Lean inventory management practice has been inspired by the Toyota Production System(TPS) synonymous with Just-In-Time inventory system , and designed to improve overall customer value.
The Toyota Production System identified seven kinds of wastes that can impact productivity and product quality.
Lean inventory management techniques are mainly built upon 5 principles-
5S is a visual control tool used in Lean systems to support a smooth flow in the production line. It includes a list of actions, used to create a continuous improvement process and to eliminate accumulated waste that leads to defects, errors and injuries in the work environment. The 5S`s are:
The goal of a lean inventory management system is to minimize wastes as much as possible. Out of the seven wastes identified in lean manufacturing, inventory is one of them, and probably the most important. Thus, in order to ensure successful deployment of lean inventory principles, these are some of the best practices that you can make use of.
In the effort to minimize wastes and stock optimal level of inventory, your supplier could prove to be your right hand. While obviously suppliers want to sell as much as possible but what they value more is maintaining a stable, long-term and mutually conducive relationship with clients. To best way to achieve this is by sharing your production and replenishment schedule with suppliers. Also ensure there is a certain level of flexibility between you and suppliers, like partial payment and returns, stock reordering on short notice, etc.
Safety stocks are buffer stock to save you during any unexpected production issues, supplier delays or sudden rise of customer demand. The key is to maintain safety stock at optimal level. A detailed analysis of past stock out situations, sales and purchase history can done to arrive at the right level for keeping safety stock.
Now you know what is lean inventory, its principles and how we can implement it. Lean inventory management also comes with its fair share of benefits. Let’s take a look.
Increased profits– Obviously, increased productivity with less waste and higher product quality will lead to a more business and revenue.