Lean Logistics Best Practice: Trailer Audits

I am usually extremely disciplined in creating and executing a plan. However, I tend to fail to take a step back and evaluate how the execution really went. If no one yells “fire,” I assume that everything went perfectly (after all, no one said otherwise).

At LeanCor we spend several weeks at a time creating, designing, and perfecting route designs that are optimal for the customer and utilize trailer space efficiently and effectively. That was until I recently spent some time at the docks and noticed a problem. At first glance you would think we just didn’t know how to create route designs.

After digging through the route plan I realized it wasn’t our routing that was off at all. In fact I found that in most cases the root cause of a light load was due to incorrect PFEP data (packaging information) or the supplier not fulfilling their requirements for the shipment (supplier fulfillment rate) - which led to loads not coming in as planned. Digging into each route took a lot of time, so we used a brainstorming session with the team to create a Trailer Audit Form that reduced the amount of time to complete a trailer audit to less than a minute per. We then created a Summary Sheet that allowed us to easily identify the low hanging fruit.

We now meet with the team weekly to identify routes in which our packaging is off, then meet with the customer to gather packaging from the supplier. It has led to a 100% increase in PFEP completion in nine weeks. It has also led to supplier meetings with management from the customer to improve their supplier fulfillment rate. An additional benefit is that it allows for our team to capture quick win opportunities until the supplier has improved their PFEP data or fill rate.

Obviously for most companies, auditing all routes that come in to a facility is not sustainable. Once you are able to drive action with your quick wins and have sustained routes, you can perform weekly or random audits to ensure that the fixes you made to routes are still effective. It's also wise to audit when you create new routes or make changes to existing ones.

Written by Ben Green, Lean Logistics Manager at LeanCor

Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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