Indoor bootcamp by FIEGE

Gruppenbild vom Lean-Management-Bootcamp

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is a crucial factor in upholding competitiveness. FIEGE recently trialled a new tool together with a long-time client. The aim of the so-called bootcamp: to expand knowledge, to strengthen the team spirit, and to optimise outbound operations.

FIEGE’s location in Worms is one of the largest in Germany. Around 1,200 people from 40 different nations work here. Right in the middle of the Rhine-Main and Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area, the Greven-based logistics company runs an Intercontinental Distribution Center (IDC) for a maker of power tools. “We handle shipping to end customers, retailers as well as wholesalers plus delivery to other customer warehouses and distribution centres. On any day, up to 4,500 pallets and 13,000 parcels leave our Intercontinental Distribution Center”, is what the Branch Manager, Philipp Staiger has to say about the operation’s dimensions.

Overall, our single-user centre in Worms stores more than 30,000 different articles like tools, garden equipment, measuring technology and accessories on some 80,000 square metres spread across two storeys. The market’s leading manufacturer has been relying on FIEGE’s logistical expertise for 20 years now. “We appreciate our client as a long-time partner who meets us at eye level and pushes all of us to be our very best”, Staiger adds.

Begrüßung zum Lean-Management-Bootcamp

Branch manager Philipp Staiger welcomed the participants to the Lean Management Bootcamp at FIEGE. (Photo: FIEGE)

Shared learning is better learning

One key success factor for this is that FIEGE always has a finger on the pulse of time and constantly challenges its processes for ways to optimise them. Staiger’s colleague, Ulf Lengemann, Area Manager for Projects, Processes and Systems at the IDC Worms, tells us: “It is our goal as a service provider to continuously become better to save time and money not just for ourselves, but also for our clients. For this reason, we greatly value Lean Management not only here in Worms but throughout the whole of the FIEGE Group.”

A few weeks ago, FIEGE organised a four-day bootcamp for this very purpose. Martina Schulz, Head of Lean Management for Consumer Products, had prepared the concept and executed it jointly with Magnus Trippler, Head of Lean Management for the Industry & Tires business unit as well as Lean Manager Christian Lucas, also from Industry & Tires. Trippler explains: “Many will associate bootcamp as a term taken from the world of fitness. And its meaning within Lean Management is not that different: in essence, it is about working intensely on a new topic in a structured approach and about learning new skills.”

Lengemann adds: “A bootcamp is a team effort. So it was really important to us to directly and promptly include our customers too.” In addition to the Lean representatives from the World of FIEGE and six process experts from the IDC in Worms, a further four colleagues from the client’s side also participated in the bootcamp. “One crucial keynote within Lean Management is that there is always something to optimise. We understand our role as a service provider as such that together with our client, we aim to become a little bit better every day”, Lengemann explains.

All things come in threes

The bootcamp started with a theoretical introduction into the topic and an in-person tour of the IDC to ensure that all 13 participants are on the same page. For the actual value stream mapping, which is a proven process management improvement method, the team was split into several small groups to carefully examine the three outbound chapters of Cross Docking, Parcel Loading and Pallet Preparation.

And they literally had to put the cart before the horse: “To get to the source, you need to swim against the tide. And that’s precisely what we did in our analysis. In a first step, we put to paper all the individual value streams in the reverse order of the material flow”, Lengemann explains. The potential for optimisation was then identified and added to the illustration as so-called Kaizen Blitz events.

Teilnehmer des Bootcamps bei der Wertstromanalyse

Feasibility vs. impact

For example, it became obvious that a film wrapper for pallets was not placed in the best position and required unnecessary trips. Elsewhere, monobrand-only order picking for a DIY market was put into question. And even the ergonomic workplace design and thus the associated easing of employee workloads was debated. “For a method to succeed it is decisive to table all ideas for potential improvement without prejudice”, Lengemann says.

In a third step, the Kaizen events thus compiled were evaluated and prioritised. The primary focus was the question whether the improvements can be implemented in the shorter term or longer term and which value they each contribute when taken for themselves. In the following the results were presented to the other groups as well as to the Management. Together, a first roadmap was developed for their implementation.

From status quo to target value stream

Lengemann was very satisfied with the bootcamp premiere in Worms: “This was a great launch. By combining the expertise from FIEGE’s various business units with input from our clients, we were able to pool valuable ideas that we will aim to implement in the weeks and months to come.” To achieve this, all participants will remain in a close exchange. The next bootcamp – this time on special processes – is scheduled to take place before the year ends. As the saying goes: you never stop learning.