How to Apply Lean Concepts to Streamline Manufacturing Logistics

Lean manufacturing principles are not new. Some form of the method has been around since the 1910s. While the concept refined over the past 100 years, the essence of lean principles remains the same: minimize waste while maximizing productivity. If you can apply lean principles to manufacturing, why not extend it to manufacturing logistics

Waste is any activity that does not add value, including errors, poor communication, or disorganization. The seven major types of waste include overproduction, waiting, transportation, inventory, motion, overprocessing, and defects.

When your business works with the right third-party logistics (3PL) provider, they can help you streamline your manufacturing logistics through the minimizing of waste. 


Balancing supply to demand can solve overproduction. By focusing on actual demand and eliminating inaccurate information, a 3PL company can give your business perspective and accurate evaluation of the future. Look for a 3PL with the skills and experience that will enhance your company’s logistics operations.


Instead of spending time waiting, most companies come to a 3PL provider overworked. When your team is exhausted, the likelihood of errors increases as well as time spent on rework. By outsourcing warehousing, fulfillment, and other distribution center activities, your business gains back the time to focus on your business’s primary activities.


Multiple storage locations, complex material handling systems, poor layouts, and a considerable distance in operations can all lead to excessive transport. Opportunities for damaged or lost products can follow transportation woes.

A 3PL company has access to an exceptional team of transportation professionals. They also have tools in place to ensure peace-of-mind, such as customer load tracking and onboard satellite tracking systems.


Many companies deal with finished stock beyond what’s required. Excess inventory can be due to many reasons: unbalanced workflow, large batch sizes, lack of processes, or not following procedures. Inventory tracking can be a big challenge and a financial drain.

Working with a 3PL provider can provide custom warehousing and distribution services to protect your inventory, carefully track the materials, and ensure processes are followed, avoiding surplus.


Let your team work smarter, not harder. A 3PL company can evaluate your current work methods and provide various solutions to eliminate excessive movements. A 3PL can track all activity, including pallets handled, pieces packaged, deliveries completed, the number of transactions, and labor hours related to your product’s handling. 


Without clear instructions or standards of operations, doing more than necessary can quickly happen. A 3PL company can bring an outside perspective to your processes, systems, and procedures, and build a cooperative solution.

Creating more freedom to move and work by freeing up warehouse storage space can help your business focus on manufacturing your products, as well as improve organization and increase production. 


Even the most sophisticated equipment, packaging, and handling can lead to damages. A quality 3PL provider can maintain the integrity of each package and its contents while it’s on its way from the shipper to the destination.

Proper inspection and documentation are essential to this process. Two-communication and trust can go a long way when you build a collaborative partnership with your 3PL company.

By applying the same lean concepts used in manufacturing to your supply chain, a 3PL company can offer helpful value-added services and reduce waste.

An in-depth analysis of your needs allows your 3PL provider to determine solutions that not only boost efficiency but also reduce costs. Explore working with BR Williams to see how you can streamline your manufacturing logistics today.

Request a FREE, no-obligation quote today to see how BR Williams can help improve your supply chain.

To discuss your Distribution, Logistics, or Transportation Services options, please contact us online or call (800) 523-7963

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