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Latest kaizen reduces picking time in warehouse

The word kaizen, when translated from its original Japanese to English, means “good change.” A good change was exactly what Atlantic Fasteners was looking for to optimize their picking process of commercial parts in its new warehouse.
Due to Atlantic’s recent move into a new building with a different floor plan, pickers were walking too far to select fast moving inventory. The goal was to cut the number of unnecessary steps. The company invited an experienced outside facilitator to help.

Atlantic employees Mike Gross (center),  and Norm Fortini (right) with the firm’s kaizen facilitator.

Atlantic employees Mike Gross (center), and Norm Fortini (right), with the firm’s kaizen facilitator.

The Atlantic kaizen team consisting of employees Doug Swain, Mike Gross, Greg Cameron and Norm Fortini, looked at where parts were currently sitting. It was important to see how far pickers had to travel when selecting items.
After a few days of poring over data and answering questions, the kaizen was headed for completion

The team:

  • Evaluated current high volume line items, categories, locations, etc.
  • Created new reports to evaluate different category item volume
  • Determined desired categories of parts for location purposes
  • Decided which categories deserved the stocking locations closet to picking stations

Other results included adding seven new customer-specific locations and one new product line location for metric fasteners. The team also established a simple one-step process for relocating parts over the next two months using an RF gun. Rearranging in the warehouse should take until April 30 and the kaizen team recommended warehouse storage locations be re-evaluated every six months.

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