Network Optimization: With Improvement Comes Change

By: Michael Burchett - Specialist- Lean Logistics

Have you ever been a part of a network optimization? Maybe the old way worked fine for a time, or maybe it never worked at all, but for whatever reason you are facing the challenge and opportunity of being a part of a network optimization. Change can be difficult but it is also necessary, so it is best to be prepared to meet the challenges of implementing these changes head on. Here are three tips to keep in mind if your workplace is conducting a network optimization:

1) Be open to change.

This is a simple one, but it can be difficult to grasp. Not everyone is geared up in such a way that change is easy for them. Some organizations have had the same people working the same processes for years and throwing something new into the mix is seen as a massive intrusion. One of the most common phrases we run into is, ” you just don’t understand, we have always done things this way,” but once people see the value in the changes that come from network optimization they are much quicker to support them. In addition, engaging employees in these changes results in a greater willingness to change as well as better processes. The workers know the business better than outsiders do so their input is valuable and should be welcomed, but as a bonus the workers will be more accepting of changes they help implement. People support what they help create.

2) Break down silos.Network Optimization

Acting in a silo means working separately from the rest of the network. A logistics manager working in a silo will try to decrease the transportation cost, but warehousing costs may then increase. A warehouse manager in a silo may concentrate on reducing warehousing costs but then transportation costs may increase. As a part of a network undergoing optimization, you should concentrate on how your actions will affect the network. Value stream mapping is a great tool to view the whole network, and to prevent silos from taking effect.

3) Be vocal of challenges.

As you become part of a network optimization, you will find that the transition is full of landmines. We all know that sometimes ideas look great on paper, but when they are implemented issues tend to arise. When presented with solutions that might prove to be problematic, don’t be afraid to vocalize concerns. This may seem to contradict my first point; (be open to change), but you should still voice your concerns. You know your own area better than most, so uncover, vocalize, and assist in the solution to those landmines so that they won’t become defects later.

Network optimization can be challenging, but with the correct mindset, skills, and tools, you can meet these challenges and become an integral and successful part of an optimized network.

Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

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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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