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How are Lean Production Principles used by a 3PL?

Jeff Alexander / 7:30 AM on December 31, 2014
lean production

When it comes to running a successful business there’s a lot to keep track of, almost too much in fact.

Because optimizing all the nuanced processes within an operation takes so many speciallized skill sets and experience, many manufacturers look outside their company to find ways of making things work better.

Lean Production principles and 3PL (Third Party Logistics) are good examples of how companies are finding ways to run more efficiently and creating a more positive impact on their bottom line. If you’re working with a 3PL, then chances are good you’re starting to add elements of lean production into your facility.

Here’s how your 3PL is incorporating lean production principles to make you more efficient.

Inventory Matters

One of the biggest targets for both Lean manufacturing and 3PLs is your inventory.

Inventory management is important to most any business on some level and manufacturers have more to worry about than most. Your third party logistics team is focused on getting what you need, when you need it. Not only are they keeping a close eye on inventory and on hand counts, but your 3PL is also coordinating with suppliers to help maintain regular shipments which helps to keep your production line flowing smoothly.

Too much inventory can lead to excess waste and shrink, while too little leads to increased lead times while you’re waiting for more materials to come in. 3PLs specialize in inventory control so you can find yourself in the perfect zone for the volume of business you’re doing at any time during the year.

Lower Capital Investments

One of the key components to Lean Manufacturing is doing more with less. By utilizing a 3PL, your business can reduce the need for warehouse and storage space. This not only cuts down on facility costs, but warehousing and transportation needs which effectively lowers the amount of capital required to run and maintain your business.

Focus on What Matters

3PL's help to clear "non-core" responsibilities off your plate. Through lean manufacturing practices and outsourcing logistics to a third party, you’re better able to focus on your clients and customers, providing a quality product and on-time delivery. It’s this level of flexibility and efficiency that gives you the edge over your competitors and allows your business to grow.


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