The Heijunka of Toyota Co. in Logistics

November, 2015
proto$ gen VI mod 3FFECA
Warehouse personnel's productivity as high as 70% as a result of the warehouse processes optimizing.
The Just company warehouse operates 24/7.
During the day it ships to day-time customers and receives goods.
At night it puts together shipments that are to leave in the morning.

The Just logisticians had a rosy dream to make goods receipt the night shift responsibility. In this case, everything  suppliers had delivered the previous day (and they usually deliver in the afternoon — since they put together their shipments and load trucks in the morning) would become available for sale in the morning. And not by the evening of the next day, as it usually happens. The difference is the amount of daily turnover, tied-up in the warehouse; and items not entered in the books are not available for sale.

However, accepting goods during the night requires increasing the night shift capabilities, i.e. hiring a significant amount of additional warehouse personnel.
And increased wages as well — since it’s a night job, there is no line of highly qualified and motivated people waiting for it.

Inability of the night shift at Just to do anything, except putting together the morning shipments, led to yet another problem: for a customer, the ordering service cycle instead of "order today online — pick it up tomorrow from a store" turns into "order today — it should be here tomorrow, but we don’t know what time, we’ll keep you posted".
The ordered products are delivered at night, and if the night shift can’t enter them in the books, then they will be processed by the daytime shift on a first come, first served basis.
Sometimes, they can’t get them all done even by the evening

And the responsibility of putting together the deliveries ordered during the day can’t be passed on to the daytime shift, since the next day’s deliveries are distributed among drivers in the evening after all orders "for tomorrow" are accepted.
The results of experimental collecting of goods at daytime according to waybills not yet assigned to specific drivers were unsatisfactory: the next morning, another shift of warehouse personnel had so much trouble finding and identifying the prepared shipments, that putting them together from scratch would take almost as much time.

The problem was solved almost automatically after bin locations storing was introduced at the Just warehouse.

The initial goals of enabling bin location system were (the quite traditional) acceleration of order batching and relaxation in the requirements for warehouse personnel qualifications.

However, good solutions are almost always accompanied by a simultaneous resolving of other problems that at first seem to have no connection with each other.

Bin location system allowed solving the problem of picking morning orders by the day shift.

A possibility to store not only goods, but also of a set of shipping documents, was entered into the business logic. The day shift puts together deliveries, which are not yet assigned to specific drivers, and then stores them into specifically designated bins.

We put the document into the bin.

In the evening, after automatic deliveries distribution among the drivers is completed, dia$par knows which bins contain goods and documents for each of the drivers.
Which they receive next morning without haste, errors or mixing goods up.

DocumentJournal,Route SheetsPDA, we select a document / route sheetPDA, where the Documents are Lying

As a result:

  • now, the night shift also does goods acceptance. The amount of tied-up goods (= waiting in the acceptance queue) decreased by 70%. That’s several million rubles out of nothing.
  • goods ordered by customers now arrive on time.
  • as a result of order batching being more even (that’s what’s called "heijunka"), efficiency of labor at this section grew by up to 60% — that’s how much the potential volume of shipments grew without increasing the quantity of employees or the payroll.
Being inside dia$par. Some stories
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