Using Lean Practices to Develop Improvement Suggestions for a Warehouse – A case study of a company in the perishables industry

University essay from Lunds universitet/Teknisk logistik

Abstract: Title – Using Lean Practices to Develop Improvement Suggestions for a Warehouse: A case study of a company in the perishables industry Author – Leon Liljeqvist Supervisor – Joakim Kembro, Division of Engineering Logistics, Faculty of Engineering – LTH, Lund University Purpose – The purpose of this thesis is to improve the turnover of goods at the most prominent locations in the warehouse's dispatch area, by identifying problem areas in the material flows that hinder the efficiency and provide remedy suggestions for these. Design/Methodology – To fulfill the purpose a single in-depth case study is conducted with theory-building research purpose. The selected case company is a cold storage warehouse facility in Jönköping, Sweden, run by a multi-national organization in the perishables industry. A preliminary literature review is performed before making any empirical findings. Both qualitative and quantitative data are collected for the study. The qualitative data is gathered through the usage of interviews and observations, and the quantitative through the case company information systems data. A framework for analysis is used to guide the analysis that is focused on finding relationships and patterns between variables. Findings – The findings of the thesis are a list of seven independent recommendations for the case company warehouse, that either generally improves the warehouse efficiency or reduces wastes in either of the three investigated material flow channels, which go under the names fine picking, tets, and crates. The recommendations induce more continuous processes with reduced touching points, reduced transportation distances, reducing the defects generated by the systems, improves workload balance and planning capability, and improves resource efficiency. Recommended is to implement more automation solutions, modify order-list generation algorithm, revise the current order-release structure, close two dispatch bays, implement solution for more flexible storage, install racks to increase height utilization, and invest in apt picking technology for one of the three main material flow channels. All recommendations are based on the analysis, that is derived from the literary and empirical findings of the study. A set of future recommendations and sensitivity aspects to consider is subsequently provided in the thesis. Research limitations/implications – The single case study research approach limits the findings in generalizability to the specificity that is this case. There is also lacking perspectives and nuance limiting the findings, due to it being a single author. Primary theoretical implications are an exemplification that Lean, and value stream mapping can be applied in a warehousing context to generate efficiency improvements. It additionally supports pre-existing warehousing literature regarding e.g., the challenge in balancing the configurational elements, the significance of maintaining a holistic view, and the importance of setting and abiding by configurational goals. Keywords – Warehousing, Material flow, Lean, Wastes, Value stream mapping, Case study Paper type – Master’s thesis

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