Germany is considered the logistics world champion. But there is also a need for optimization in this position. In fact, logistics optimization represents an important goal for every company. Especially in today's time, which is characterized by the Corona pandemic, the shortage of skilled workers as well as supply bottlenecks. Digitalization and automation in particular play a role in optimization projects, as also shown by the Production and Logistics Report 2022, keyword Logistics 4.0.
Process optimization pursues the following goals:
This is also accompanied by improved quality and cost savings. Optimized logistics processes in companies lead to greater efficiency in the long term. Logistics costs can be saved through improved cost-effectiveness. The aim is also to reduce idle time and downtime and simplify logistics processes as much as possible. Customer service is to be improved, which can be achieved through shorter throughput times, for example.
Optimizing logistics means finding solution-oriented methods to optimize processes in order to achieve greater flexibility, performance increases and better capacity utilization. Things to avoid include unnecessary delivery times, excessively high freight costs, a high proportion of non-value-added activities (walking and searching times) and inefficient use of space. In the following, we provide five tips on how you can optimize your logistics.
The as-is analysis of the warehouse is carried out in order to show the current status of the warehouse including structure and process. The current warehouse costs can also be shown in this way. Ultimately, the as-is analysis also serves to identify weak points. Here it applies finally to find improvement possibilities. Within the framework of the so-called ABC analysis, the various goods in the warehouse can be organized according to their relevance for the company, their value and the turnover. The economic significance is thus the focus.
But even the simple structuring of the warehouse can contribute to logistics optimization. It is conceivable to divide the warehouse into certain areas, such as loading/unloading, storage, refrigeration, order picking, etc. Fixed criteria should be defined for the placement of goods and storage methods. In addition, the labeling of goods is crucial for smooth operations within the plant and improved staff performance.
Many companies lack a clearly defined logistics strategy. The number of orders, warehousing, number and specialization of employees and materials handling equipment should be based on this strategy. The type and scope of the orders are particularly important. This is accompanied by the number of corresponding articles or items. Depending on the logistics requirements, it may be necessary to rely on a warehouse management system and an automated or robotized warehouse.
Outsourced logistics describes a strategy in which the supply chain is transferred either partially or entirely to a service provider. A distinction is made between five forms of logistics service provider:
Constantly new technological possibilities allow entrepreneurs to make changes also in the field of picking systems and thus also to carry out optimizations. Because only if the system is tailored to the requirements of a company can smooth operations and ultimately customer satisfaction be ensured.
When selecting the right order picking system, efficient logistics should always be kept in mind. Decisive factors that play a role are the provision of the goods, the arrangement of the picking locations, the removal method and the delivery location. A basic distinction is made between
In manual picking, the human being actively takes care of the picking. In the second system form, the goods are brought to the human, so that he or she only performs the final picking tasks by hand. Particularly in companies with a high product density and a large number of goods shipped, automatic picking is suitable for high processing speeds.
The decision for a new system is also accompanied by that for a new layout of the warehouse.
Optimizing logistics also means thinking about layout and structure planning in line with material flow and thus defining processes and determining the arrangement of different functional areas. Concept planning is about the best possible connection of all elements in the warehouse system. Layout planning is important for optimizing the use of space. If you take care to carry out regular checks in this area, you can make staff deployment more efficient, as well as avoid long transport routes, excessive storage costs and excessively long delivery times.
The first step would be concept planning, the aim of which is to plan the material flows and arrange the appropriate areas through which the goods will pass. This is followed by detailed planning, which involves, among other things, the selection of technical systems and the planning of transports. The final step is the execution planning, which involves the implementation including a precise time and resource plan.
There are usually a number of points where a more beneficial structure can be achieved; consequently, in many cases, savings can be made along the entire value chain, from the procurement of materials to distribution.
In logistics, a lot of steps take place before the customer finally receives the desired goods. It helps to identify any areas of the warehouse where automation would be beneficial in order to provide better service to customers. However, it is essential that entrepreneurs carry out a thorough analysis of manual processes in advance, e.g. on the basis of process costs and the selection of cost drivers. Finally, a potential analysis for possible automation should be carried out.
Companies often lack the time, money or sufficient know-how to carry out logistics optimization themselves. Professional logistics consulting including logistics planning is an effective solution. Our team of experts has many years of experience and realization of logistics concepts. Feel free to contact us.