Blog Posts Focus on Continuous Improvement

Key Takeaways

  • Lean practices help drive cost savings and operational excellence.
  • Saddle Creek’s Lean program is well established and delivering results.
  • Qualitative improvements enhance service and save money for clients.

Delivering value and service excellence is a top priority at Saddle Creek. To help drive cost savings and improvements in operational execution, we utilize Lean practices as part of our continuous improvement program.

We began building a Lean culture nearly a decade ago. Today, our Lean program is well established. In fact, 86% of our associates have participated in Lean training. They are highly engaged and routinely propose ideas to help reduce waste and prevent defects.

We also identify opportunities for improvement based on client feedback, Gemba Walks, and other activities. When issues are recognized, our continuous improvement team develops appropriate solutions along with the tools and training necessary for implementation.

Lean at Work

Relatively minor adjustments can make a remarkable impact. For example, using a stapler instead of a glue gun to reinforce faulty cardboard trays helped one beverage packing operation increase production by 69%.

Other solutions are more elaborate. Moving stackers and wrap locations allowed forklift drivers to work more efficiently, decreasing idle time by 24% and significantly reducing labor hours. The change also freed up warehouse space. The result? Estimated annual savings of more than $100,000.

To optimize the picking process for another client, we implemented new software and changed the floor layout and standard operating procedures to accommodate increased order volume. This initiative reduced labor by 61% and resulted in net savings of more than $500,000 through cost avoidance.

Every year, we make hundreds of qualitative improvements like these, delivering quality service and achieving millions of dollars in cost savings for our clients. Best practices are shared across our network, so they can be replicated at other Saddle Creek facilities.

To learn more about our Lean initiatives, check out the infographic.

Related to: Controlling Costs, Increasing Productivity, Quality Management