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July 10, 2015
Timely processing and shipping of customer orders for all worldwide destinations is highly critical and generates a lot of different deadlines in the warehouse. Meanwhile, reducing internal lead time is crucial to decrease “Time to Customer”. This is how it was done in Airpower Service Center in Belgium.
The Airpower Service Center warehouse in Wilrijk, Belgium, has experienced a tremendous growth over the last ten years. The initial warehouse was developed on the operations principles “customer first, reliability, flexibility, quality and efficiency”. This resulted in a storage strategy with parts being stocked in different areas based on their physical properties.
The challenge of implementing LEAN in a warehouse environment required a radical change of mind. The LEAN warehousing strategy has been based on three pillars:
All warehouse processes have been reviewed keeping in mind the daily strong fluctuating workload. By definition, a small warehouse is more efficient than a large warehouse. So the main strategy in lean warehousing is to apply the advantages of a small warehouse in a bigger warehouse. The starting point is the “customer order profile” defined by the parts regularly ordered together (“product affinity”) and the timeslot per customer (“cut-off”).
“Thanks to the sustainable efforts of all warehouse employees we have been able to maintain our current strengths, add lean principles and finally service the customer better,” says Jeroen Meeusen, Warehouse Manager Airpower Service Center.