Visual Management as a Warehouse Improvement Tool
Most companies out there have Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). KPI’s are a great tool for displaying productivity, efficiencies, and quality. By displaying this information employees can see how they are doing, and strive to do better. Sounds like a win to me!
Now what if we could take the information that is being captured for the KPI’s and make it work harder for us? What if we could have the KPI information improve employee morale?
What if we can use this same information to show us where we need to improve?
Productivity, employee morale, and continuous improvement!?! Let me explain.
Visual Management is a tool that has been part of Lean Manufacturing for a long time. It is only recently making an appearance in warehousing. Visual Management in Lean Manufacturing is the process of displaying KPI’s that relate to specific areas of the production floor. It provides information that we can action to improve.
The Acronym S.Q.D.I.P. is commonly used to show which areas are being focused on. The areas are organised in order of importance. Safety always leads the way. If it wasn't for the employees, the work wouldn’t get done. Their safety is paramount. Then there is quality. Without a quality product, customers will go elsewhere, as no one wants poor quality. Delivery, Inventory and Production round out the rest of the categories.
Once you have come to a decision about what will be tracked under each of the categories, it is a matter of marking it green or red. Green for yes we met our numbers. Red for no, today we didn’t make it.
Let’s use vendor discrepancies for delivery as an example. We want to track how many times a vendor shipped the wrong product. Today, we had eight out of ten items arrive correctly in receiving. Our KPI is 90% for inbound accuracy. Since today we only met 80% We are red.
The next level to Visual Management is the tracking over time. If we graph our vendor mistakes, we will see our trends over time. If we track it properly, we can see what vendors are causing the most issues at receiving. All in one spot, all visual. It becomes easy to see which vendor is causing the biggest issues to receiving. We naturally focus on that vendor to get them to improve their accuracy.
We just tracked our KPI, so we can see how we are doing. We also found out which vendor is causing the biggest issues to our receivers. And we took action to correct it.
With this one simple tool, we just increased productivity, (we are getting now the parts we want) We improved the employee morale (eliminated a pain point for the receivers), and we accomplished a continuous improvement project. Sounds like progress to me!!
Progress Demands Change!