Lean Management and Levelling

With lean management and levelling, the research group Material Flow and Logistics combines two essential competences for the sustainable management and optimization of material flow and production systems.

Activities in the area of lean management

Although the concept of lean management made its way into European production plants in the 1990s, the topicality of the subject cannot be denied today. Its goals, the maximization of added value with systematic elimination or reduction of waste, remain current in the increasingly complex and sustainability-driven production and logistics sector. Applying proven methods and principles of lean management, efficiency increases can be achieved not only in the production but also in the warehouse environment. Here, not only the methodical approach within the context of a continuous improvement process is decisive, but also the involvement of employees and managers. With the Model Warehouse, we offer a training course in which employees and managers learn to analyze and continuously improve warehouse processes in a reality-based environment.

Activities in the field of levelling

The aim of leveled production is to achieve uniform utilization of production resources despite fluctuating customer demand and other disturbance influences. Our research group teaches the essential principles of leveled production in a two-day levelling training course. Essential contents are the determination of the capacity chart and the levelling pattern as well as the EPEI of the products and the dimensioning of the Kanban circuit.

The research activities of our research group in this field focus in particular on resource planning in distribution centers. The volatility of customer demand as well as the flexibility requirements of customers and the high cost pressure pose great challenges for logistics service providers and MTO-controlled production systems. Since the individuality of orders prevent production or picking on stock, the workload of these systems depends directly on (volatile) customer demand. Consequently, the fluctuations in customer demand are directly transferred to the workload of the system. Therefore, there is the challenge of processing all orders using the existing pool of machines and employees within the promised delivery time.

The levelled order dispatching represents a possible solution for this. By levelling customer demand, the workload of the system is smoothed which causes a uniform utilization of machines and employees. At the same time, this order scheduling ensures short delivery times with a high level of service.