Brødrene Dahl

Implementation of Lean Warehousing

After a period of massive growth in the level of activity, the market-leading wholesaler experienced a slowdown in the market, which is why focus was put on efficient cost management and, deriving from this, the need for optimisation and trimming of processes

After a period of massive growth in the level of activity, in which reliability and precision of delivery were the most important success criteria in Brødrene Dahl’s logistics operations, the market leading wholesaler experienced a slowdown in the market, which is why focus was put on efficient cost management and deriving from this the need for optimisation and trimming of processes at Brødrene Dahl’s central warehouse. Following a pre-analysis, which identified potential improvement opportunities, an extensive optimisation project of operations was initiated with the purpose of generating significant operating savings without compromising on reliability of delivery, sturdiness, work environment and safety.

The unique character of the project

The purpose of the project has been to apply Lean to a large and complex central warehouse with cutthroat deadlines and short response time from receipt of an order to dispatch. Furthermore, at the same time, a national night distribution concept has been implemented, requiring even more sturdiness and precision in the period of completion of the dispatch. This took place by implementing flow-based and takt-based handling of goods and standardised work opera-tions with distinct roles and responsibilities lying with the individual employee in all relevant departments.

In addition, performance boards and daily whiteboard meetings have been implemented where the latest performance is reviewed and new employee initiatives are assessed with a view to implementation.

A targeted training and development programme has also been established for all operations managers, which has formed the basis of learning and achievement of results here and now, and which at the same time acts as a catalyst for a culture of change in which continuous improvements are made – also after the end of the project. The training consisted of an interaction between actual training days and subsequent on-the-job training including sparring and coaching. Based on the management development progress and the establishment of visible targets and results in each area, a control centre has been implemented across the central warehouse where the operational management meets on a daily basis after the whiteboard meetings in the departments to review results and improvement initiatives.

Finally, a new pay and bonus agreement with the operational management has been developed and implemented, ensuring focus on continuous optimisation of operations and period of completion within each area of operation as well as across the central warehouse.

It has been decisive to develop the individual middle manager and to establish a culture based on reduction of waste and continuous improvements. A culture so well-embedded in the employees that it can ensure continuous development year after year. Also now, where the project is finished and the consultants have left, focus is still on reducing waste and  mproving results.

As a result of the success of introducing a Lean culture at Brødrene Dahl’s central warehouse, they are now implementing Lean in the sales organisation

The results have been extremely satisfactory:

  • Efficiency has risen by more than 20% in all areas of the central warehouse and even 40% in some areas.
  • The extent of back orders has been reduced markedly.
  • Handling is executed much earlier than before the project, reducing transport delays and creating a foundation for successful roll-out of a new night distribution concept.
  • Returned goods are handled markedly faster than previously.

Previously, I had problems executing all orderlines on time – today my greatest challenge is if I do not have enough orderlines to meet my efficiency target…

Stated by a head of department

The results and the continued development have been achieved given that:

  • The management has displayed a strong belief in the approach which has meant that at all times, it has supported the project, also in times without the expected process or where external circumstances have affected the project negatively.
  • Through extensive training, the middle managers have obtained an understanding of the importance of balancing operations and optimisation in such a way that management and control are much more present and visible in each area.
  • The consultants led the way through pilot projects and constantly demonstrated how to create markedly improved results by generating flow and eliminating waste.
Jesper Kuch Pedersen
Jesper Kuch Pedersen
+45 2338 0065

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