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Lean Manufacturing: Efficiency, Time and Money For Retail Industries

Lean working is a method whereby a variety of techniques and tools are used to minimise waste, increase efficiency, customer satisfaction and ultimately, profit. Having a greater understanding of customers can have a greater impact on improving the chances of enhancing the retail performance.

Within the retail sector, companies may experience issues with defects, overproduction, underproduction, dead stock, empty space or even stock in the wrong place or wrong time. Having an action plan in place to make improvements in efficiency is critically important in the retail industry, with a demand for shorter product life cycles and frequent new products to meet customer demands and expectations.

By applying similar principles to those used in lean manufacturing, retail businesses can cut down unnecessary processes that are inefficient and wasteful, resulting in more efficient consumption of resources such as time and capital.

Retail strategy

For lean processes to be successfully replicated in a retail environment, there must be strategies aligned and supported with an overall company-wide lean strategy. Having a lean retail strategy will mean understanding the approach and defining what customers value most. 

By adopting a lean strategy that works for a retailer, they can target waste issues and maximise on efficiency, time and costs. Lean retail means that best practices of successful operational strategies are followed to maximise the operating efficiency of the retail process.

Merchandise management

Merchandise management involves having the right stock at the right price and at the right time. Necessary stages of the management of merchandising includes pricing, communication and support of retailers and suppliers.

Merchandise management is also critical in preventing a large amount of waste stock, which reduces the amount of value in a service or product. In a time when waste reduction is most relevant, lean retailing is more important than ever before.

Analysing in-store logistics

In-store logistics focuses on processes at store level, including the handling, arranging and ordering of stock. Poor in-store logistics can result in having adequate stock in store, but not located and replenished on empty shelves for customers to purchase, despite the stock still being readily available.

Many retailers are now taking on action plans to improve lean logistics as a result of analysing their in-store logistics. However, an essential way of dealing with in-store logistics issues is to ensure that staff members are trained and motivated, organisation of in-store warehouses, using RFID technology and having reliable and accurate inventory information.

In a world where e-commerce is becoming a preference for some, stores have the responsibility to analyse their in-store logistics to ensure that it becomes both an enjoyable and beneficial experience for customers.

Advantages of Lean Retail

Adds value

In any industry, but particularly in retail, a main principle of the lean retail model is to focus on how the customer interprets value. Retailers can add value by implementing processes that provide the customer with new and innovative products more quickly, at a better price and without defects.

Cut Waste

Not only does cutting waste provide many improvements for the environment, but it cuts excessive movement and reduces wasted resources such as time and capital. By retailers understanding their customers and what they value, it becomes easier to understand which processes are wasteful and therefore do not add value.

To better understand how to cut waste, you’ll need to reduce wasted time, cut excessive (and unnecessary travel and processes) and prevent defects.

Continuous Improvement

Lean thinking is an ongoing process, rather than a one-off activity. Having lean logistics in place will allow you to understand how to add more value and reduce inefficient processes. It will also provide you with an insight on how to run operations with fewer problems, which leads to an opportunity for continuous improvement company-wide.

How We Ensure Lean Retail

Consumer preferences are often difficult for retailers to predict and can be impacted by many external factors. By having greater control over inventory and the flexibility to replenish stock at short-notice, retailers are able to reduce waste by limiting their stock holding and react according to demand. 

As a leading UK bespoke courier, we have efficiency in mind with all of our collections and deliveries. Our ad hoc service enables retailers to request short-notice support for additional peak requirements. Retailers can increase or decrease the level of collections and deliveries based upon reacting to current demand, rather than relying on predicting future consumer trends. This reduces the impact of holding stock which might ultimately be wasted.

We specialise in solutions that help businesses transport stock more efficiently. By offering a range of vehicle sizes and consolidation of smaller consignments within our 11,500 sq ft warehouse facility, we can significantly reduce the amount of wasted space on larger vehicles. Working with one of the UK’s big brand retailers, we have utilised smaller vans and our on-site warehouse space to reduce wasted capacity on larger vehicles, reduce handling of goods and providing a wider operational window for vendor collections.

Our optimised route planning capability enables us to offer more to our customers, with the ability to schedule our fleet holistically, ensuring routes are coordinated in the most effective manner and reducing unnecessary mileage. 

We Can Support With Lean Retail

When it comes to retail deliveries, efficiency, time and cost savings are of the highest concern. Our experience in working across a wide range of sectors makes us a knowledgeable and reliable logistics partner for businesses from a variety of industries. 

Our retail courier service is used by large brand names nationwide, which includes fashion, home-ware, garden tools and office supplies. We handle supplier collection and deliveries any day of the week, at any time, so you can trust us when we promise your consignment will arrive on time, every time.

Passionate about innovation, we have the capability to develop systems, processes and bespoke reporting to suit the needs of any sector. Our drivers are carefully selected and appropriately trained for the specific requirements of the role, enabling us to meet the bespoke needs of businesses with varying demand.

If you’d like to find out more about our retail courier service, please get in touch with us.

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