Cold chain shippers can gain efficiencies and save money by paying closer attention to the art of continuous improvement.
Whether a shipper wants to save money on transportation, lower employee turnover, develop more competitive products, improve customer service, or operate at a higher level of efficiency—or, all of the above—the path to getting there usually includes at least some type of continuous improvement.
Here are five reasons why:
1. Continuous improvement helps improve employee engagement. Also called operational excellence, lean transformation, Kaizen, or any other number of names, the act of continually honing and perfecting a company’s operations has become an imperative in today’s business environment. For example, it’s a particularly good tool for improving employee engagement. “At its core, continuous improvement is designed to empower employees to solve problems that bug them and gradually improve the efficiency of their work processes. Lean lets employees know that their ideas are important,” Nawras Skhmot points out in 5 Benefits of Continuous Improvement. “When an employee makes a suggestion for improvement, the idea can be carefully tested; and if successfully implemented company-wide. This changes the employee’s role and responsibilities from being a passive actor to being an active participant in the business processes.”
2. It drives waste out of costly processes. Commonly known as Kaizen, continuous improvement is defined as “a method for identifying opportunities for streamlining work and reducing waste.” Formalized by the popularity of lean/agile/Kaizen in manufacturing and business, continuous improvement helps companies identify cost-saving opportunities and work better, smarter, and faster.
3. Your competitors are probably already doing it. Facing steep competition, pricing pressures, a tight labor market, and various other challenges, companies that don’t continually step up their games often find themselves left in the dust and scrambling to catch up to their competitors. “While there are numerous ways in which businesses can compete, logistics ranks high among them. Improving logistics to a point and then taking a passive approach to the system allows competitors to gain advantages in terms of cost savings, improved quality, and production capacity,” Dennis Hartman writes in Why Is Continuous Improvement in Logistics Important? “Even incremental improvements in logistics can translate into significant savings over time and lay the foundation for further improvements in the future.”
4. The benefits of continuous improvement are well documented and immediate. For shippers, improvement opportunities not only within their own operations, but also across their logistics operations, transportation networks, and end-to-end supply chains. In fact, by taking an all-encompassing, supply chain-wide view on continuous improvements, companies can see significant benefits from their efforts, including improved productivity, lower costs, decreased delivery times, and other strategic gains.
5. If you’re not improving, you’re stagnating. Continuous improvement helps cold chain shippers enhance their processes and products in ways that traditional business approaches can’t match. “In the modern workplace, knowledge, and technology quickly becomes obsolete over time. If you are doing business in the same way that you did five or 10 years ago, your company will quickly go out of business,” Skhmot concludes. “Continuous improvement gives organizations a framework for reaching the next level of excellence.”
If you’re looking to gain efficiency and save money, contact us today.