Operating in global environments poses before managers a number of challenges that can be overcome using lean principles. First of all, there is the issue of waste reduction in order to add value from the customer perspective. Eliminate variation in intermodal terminal operations is another challenge for managers, which has a positive effect on processing time (Olesen et al., 2015). Specific lean principles can be implemented to minimize a non-value-activity, which can ensure continuous improvement (Myerson, 2012). Eliminating waste can focus on the activity to “minimize the negative impact of firms and their supply chains on the natural environment” (Mollenkopf et al., 2009, p. 15). However, lean management focuses on operating consistency as well as reasonable burdening of people and resources.
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Standardization can be applied to reduce variation in intermodal terminal operations, which implies a system for the automated identification of arriving containers. Those measures are “relatively inexpensive to implement inasmuch as it involves cost-saving simplifications” (Schonberger, 2016). Introduction of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) aims to speed up communication between employees and departments to minimize processing time (Olesen et al., 2015). Leveling is also used to synchronize material flows and reduce workload for workers and create a more even schedule, which also reduces processing time.
The creation of logistic clusters can be used to ensure better and faster transportation by choosing the best location and structure the resources in the region (Sheffi, 2012) gives an example of the creation of well-planned logistics between well-developed highways and railway connections in order to minimize transportation time and effort. Another example of the efficiency of logistics clusters is the improved infrastructure that allows trucks to move more freely and quickly. Connecting a fleet with a highway helps logistics clusters streamline vehicle movements, which has a positive effect on processing times.
Olesen, P., Powell, D., Hvolby, H.-H., & Fraser, K. (2015). Using lean principles to drive operational improvements in intermodal container facilities. Journal of Facilities Management, 13(3), 266-281. Web.
Mollenkopf, D., Stolze, H., Tate, W. L., & Ueltschy, M. (2010). Green, lean, and global supply chain. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 40(1), 14-41. Web.
Myerson, P. (2012). Lean supply chain & logistics management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Schonberger, R. J. (2016). Cycles of lean: Finding from the Leanness Studies – Part 1. Management Accounting Quarterly, 17(4), 21.
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Sheffi, Y. (2012). Logistics clusters: Delivering value and driving growth. The MIT Press.