Typically, warehousing is often considered a non-value adding activity. This could not be further from the truth. Transformed by Lean implementation, warehousing can be the cornerstone of a fully integrated supply chain – the driving force behind an agile optimised business where sustainable profitability is kept in sharp focus.

Warehousing has evolved enormously from its historical roots as the simple storage of goods. Now, in an increasingly globalised marketplace, high level inventory management, rapid receiving and shipping dock management and accurate, flexible pick and pack services have never been more important.

Lean warehouse operations open up a range of areas ripe for significant, long term and sustainable savings. From reduced handling time and reductions in loading / unloading times of trucks and containers to increased reliability and sharing of information and greater flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions of customer specifications, Lean brings about a sea change in the warehouse mindset. With improved picking and packing processes, less time is spent looking for or checking inventory, stock replenishment is concise and reliable and lost sales opportunities are minimised.

Clear access – for all stages of the process – to accurate and valid stock information avoids excesses or shortfalls of stock. This, in turn, reduces the amount of working capital tied up in frozen assets, providing a platform for robust, sustainable growth and enhanced profitability.

With significant experience across all sectors – and in different geographies around the world, Four Principles know that no two solutions are the same. Each Lean warehousing implementation is different – the challenge is identifying the key challenges and designing and implementing Lean solutions that work not just in the short term, but are embedded and embraced as part of the corporate culture long after Four Principles’ work is done.