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Lean Manufacturing for Pallet Suppliers

Lean Manufacturing Tips for Pallet Suppliers
Kevin SageKevin Sage
January 5, 2024

The trend toward lean manufacturing principles in pallet manufacturing has emerged thanks to its effectiveness in helping companies streamline operations to create and deliver top-quality pallets with greater efficiency and less waste. As a result, you improve productivity while at the same time enhancing customer value.

Below, we’ve collected some of the top lean manufacturing tips for pallet supplies to help you reap these principles' many benefits.

Use Key Performance Indicators

Performance Dashboard

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are data about your company’s operations that help you improve operations and measure progress toward reducing waste to a bare minimum while supporting consistent productivity growth.

Which KPIs will be most useful to you will differ depending on your business’s needs. Regardless, however, they will apply lean manufacturing tips for pallet suppliers to move the efficiency of your business’s processes toward your goals. Such KPIs may include:

  1. Equipment effectiveness
  2. Product yield
  3. Production time

With tools like Andon boards and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions, pallet manufacturers can apply lean manufacturing principles to key performance indicators (KPI), producing less waste while increasing efficiency.

Employ Enterprise Resource Planning Software

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software manages all aspects of your company’s operations, including:

  1. Financials
  2. Reporting
  3. Operations
  4. Production
  5. Commerce

It connects all departments in your organization, from the front office to human resources to manufacturing to the supply chain, in one place.

It allows you to monitor production more closely and accurately. Then, collecting all the necessary data in a single location delivers you more comprehensive analyses about production efficiency that you can then put to use optimizing your operations.

Make Use of Andon Boards

Andon Board

Based on the Japanese word for lantern or guiding light, an Andon board is an electronic device that cycles through a series of differently colored lights throughout your processes to alert you to issues in the production line and help you optimize quality control.

You can use machine-controlled or operator-controlled Andon boards, depending on which best serves your processes. Whichever type you use, you can link these systems digitally to your computers or phone networks in order to grant the most people involved access to the data needed to find the most appropriate solutions.

By alerting all parties involved when issues regarding processes arise, Andon boards help the entire team work collectively to identify solutions and minimize inefficiencies in time, materials, and other resources.

Benefits of Andon boards include:

  1. Saving time and money
  2. Collecting mission-critical information
  3. Improving intra-organizational communications
  4. Increasing productivity
  5. Increasing customer service
  6. Increasing quality

Your pallet supply company can align its use of Andon boards with your KPIs to focus their benefits on your company’s specific needs and goals. You can then apply all these benefits to increase the efficiency of all your operations.

Incorporate Other Visual Communications Tools

Andon boards are one type of visual communications tool that can help empower your workforce to deliver more reliable and effective results. Other examples of visual communication tools include signage, markings, and color coding.

For example, clear floor markings and signage can help you delineate specific pallet storage locations and determine the ideal stacking heights. This empowers your material handlers to set pallets in the most efficient locations, in the correct patterns, and stacked to the proper heights for the greatest efficiency and least waste.

Using different pallet colors for different purposes can help make pallet identification easier and improve inventory control. It can also lower cross-contamination risks.

Pallet posters and signage help communicate key information to warehouse workers that gets them all on the same page regarding standard operating procedures for pallet handling and guidelines for considerations like appropriate damage tolerances.

In ways like these, visual communications tools can help your pallet supply company avoid productivity losses, completion delays, and expensive mistakes.

Utilize Pallet Flow Racks

Pallet Flow Racks

Also known as FIFO (First In, First Out) racks, gravity racks, supermarket racks, and pallet flow racks leverage gravity to focus inventory toward the front of the rack to provide workers with faster and easier access to the products or materials they need.

Pallet flow racks work by organizing inventories on the system’s loading side; then, as workers retrieve the items easiest to access, the next nearest items take their place, making them now the easiest to access, and so on.

Pallet flow racks provide numerous benefits, including:

  1. Modular integration with other racking systems
  2. Reduced operational expenses
  3. Increased available floor space
  4. Improved inventory tracking
  5. Optimal customization and configuration options

Pallet flow racks can help improve material flows, better manage inventories, increase available floor space, and boost productivity.

Engage Lean Warehousing Tactics

Like lean manufacturing tips for pallet suppliers, lean warehousing is also a collection of principles and processes that aim to maximize the available warehouse space and the labor you have to manage that space. The goals of lean warehousing, also like lean manufacturing, are to cut unnecessary costs and cut down on waste. Lean warehousing principles include efficiencies in sorting and arranging pallets, standardizing procedures and operations, keeping the facility clean and secure, and continually monitoring and improving upon your efforts in these regards.

Lean Manufacturing Benefits of Pallet Boxes

Starting a pallet business can help other industries apply lean manufacturing principles to their processes. That’s because pallet boxes themselves actually contribute to lean manufacturing in many ways. They help companies organize their production spaces, streamline the flow of materials, optimize inventory management, and reduce damage. In this way, by supplying companies with pallet boxes, your business is helping other companies apply lean manufacturing principles to their processes.

Improved pallet management can help make your entire production process and supply chain more agile, and one of the most revolutionary developments in pallet management is the application of lean manufacturing principles. The sooner you start incorporating these lean manufacturing tips for pallet suppliers into your operations, the sooner you can experience the benefits of improved efficiency. If you’re searching for pallets for your business, look no further. Contact us today to discuss how we can supply you with the types of pallet boxes that most help your company to incorporate lean manufacturing principles into their operations.

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