How to Reduce Transportation Waste

Transportation Waste, Truck. This image is CC0!

Transportation waste can cost you a lot of money and time. Moving things around does not add much value. What can you do to eliminate it?

  • First option, of course, is to make only unavoidable transports. However, this is more difficult than you would think. And even unavoidable waste can be reduced with the following strategies.
  • Second come the strategies to reduce motion, you can look them up in the motion waste section.
  • Remove inventory waste. It often leads to transportation waste. Consider the example of my backpack. If you move to a new home or office, throw away everything you do not need before you move. Otherwise, you will transport too much dead weight.
  • Outsource transportation to the cheapest bidder. Companies do that all the time. But you can do it, too. Ordering things over the Internet is a good example, in most cases it will even cost you less than to go shopping on your own.
    Besides, driving to a shop with your own car may be less environment friendly than having things delivered. Remember that logistic companies are outsourced waste management from a Lean perspective. Driving around needlessly or using too much fuel would kick them out of business quickly.
    Of course, this depends highly on what you order and how often. Not buying some things at all might be the best option, which is also reducing inventory waste.
  • Make “milk runs” instead of hub and spoke transports. This is a typical Lean Management approach.
    Look at the following graph, A is hub and spoke and B is a milk run.

    Hub and Spoke (A) vs. Milk Run (B),
    (C) 2013, Jens R. Woinowski, leanself.org

    Distance covered with A is 12 units, with B it is 8. In the middle is your home, the dots around it are the places you need to collect things and bring them home. If you have fewer dots around, the reduction will be not as dramatically, of course. The minimum reduction is for three dots, where the ratio is four units for spoke and hub versus three units for milk run. A waste reduction of 25% is better than nothing.
    Do not forget that in real live you need to take into account the geography to find the true optimum. This can drastically improve the benefits.

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