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Flex Logistics has embarked on the goal of doing the best we can to be lean, efficient and productive for our clients while respecting our employees and each other. There are many great lessons to be learned from manufacturing habits and processes developed by Japanese companies that can be deployed in other arenas, including our warehouse, distribution and fulfillment operations.

There are five primary 5S phases: They can be translated fFlex 5Srom the Japanese as “sort”, “straighten”, “shine”, “standardize”, and “sustain”.

In a manufacturer, the goal is maximum productivity not by directly working faster and sloppily, but rather through setting up a process, a workspace, an assembly line or a culture where each person who plays a role has done everything possible to be the most efficient. This means having only the needed tools available in a place and order that the job is completed efficiently and the tools returned to their assigned place. A workspace is then kept neat and orderly to prevent clutter, distraction and ultimately delays.

Flex Logistics’ approach to lean and 5S implementation are similar. In our offices, how can we set up someone’s desk to allow for efficient flow of documents across it?  Or in our software, what is the most direct and logical way to complete a task? In our warehouse, have we organized merchandise in our racking systems to rapidly allow for order picking or sorting or packing to ship from our warehouse?

Our end goal is to be the most lean, efficient warehouse in Southern California, and we never stop observing, measuring, adjusting and amending to make that happen. If your company is on a journey of continual improvement like we are, let’s talk about how we can travel that road together.

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