Lean Warehouse Processes

Updated: Aug 8

Lean Warehousing: The 5S method

Many companies have already implemented the lean methodology in their companies' DNA and warehouse set-up. This is done in order to be flexible, efficient and sustainable.

In current logistic, there are multiple different warehousing set-ups like there are multiple different delivering companies. This is due to the fact that there are a broad variety of products, all with different characteristics.


For many companies, it has been crucial to make sure that the flow of goods and services are running smoothly when shipping multiple products and parcels a day. They are managing this through a process known as Lean Warehousing Management.


Lean Warehouse Management is the process of developing warehouse operations in such a way as to bring resource consumption to a minimum without sacrificing productivity. In other words, Lean Warehouse Management aims to ensure that your team never uses more resources than they need to when completing a specific task i.e. making sure that the flow of goods and services are running smooth, efficient and does not meet any obstacles along the way.


The 5S method, a lean warehouse management approach, was originally established in Japan in the 20th century and is an approach that has disrupted the industry.

5S in practice

The key elements of the 5S methodology are mainly utilised in physical manufacturing to maintain organisation, efficiency and reduce waste at the microlevel. It is a set of practices that encourage purposefulness and order within individual workspaces. However, as lean thinking continue to transform the digital space, many lean tools are being adapted to meet the needs of knowledge workers.


The rise of the 5S method enabled Just in Time manufacturing, which is at the root of modern Lean manufacturing practices. Furthermore, the 5S methodology is named as such because it constitutes of five steps, each beginning with the letter S in its original Japanese.

Each step has been translated into English, replacing the Japanese ‘S’ words with their English equivalents:

  • Seiri > Sort

  • Seiton > Streamline

  • Seiso > Shine

  • Seiketsu > Standardize

  • Shitsuke > Sustain

(Source: Trade-gecko, warehouse operations management)


Similar to Lean methodology, its primary focus is to stop doing unnecessary processes and to ensure continuous flow of goods.

Examples of where 5S principles could applied are:

  • Internal transportation – driving an empty forklift when it could be loaded.

  • Defects – adjustments, miss-picks, rework.

  • Inventory – congested inbound and outbound areas, poor visibility of stock, storing obsolete stock.

  • Material storage and handling – areas not being fully utilized, storing the wrong stock at the wrong place; using inefficient and wasteful methods for material handling.

  • Waiting time/delays – bottlenecks at pick locations, delay in shipping approvals.

  • Overproduction – holding more stock than required.

  • Over-processing – performing unnecessary activities like labelling and checking when not needed.

  • Incremental development and constant feedback.

Just imagine..

Now imagine that you are implementing the 5S warehouse management principles in your own company, and that you were able to optimize the packing operations, the shipment processes and the quality control tests.

How much waste would you believe you would be able to cut?


The above-mentioned examples have already been successfully put into action. Companies like DHL and Intercargo have implemented the MIXMOVE Lighthouse technology into their warehouses, allowing them to connect SILOS to gain inbound visibility, reduce warehouse space and resource requirements and optimize warehouse throughput.


This is the future - today!

One way of achieving the benefits of 5S Lean warehouse management in your daily operations, is to use MIXMOVE Lighthouse technology in your warehouses. This has proven to significantly improve warehouse operational efficiency and transport fill rates and as such reduce the need for additional resources and drivers. Cargo from multiple shippers could be consolidated or shipments reconstructed to ensure to ensure that all vehicles leaving a terminal are fully utilised - with weight and volume.

With the MIXMOVE cloud solution, we have helped our customers to:

  • Reduce transport costs up to - 35% by increasing transport fill rates by up to + 90%,

  • Move from order view to product view and reach the new e-commerce standard of shipping,

  • Emit significantly less CO2 by choosing high level delivery efficiency.

Are you interested in learning more about how MIXMOVE can help your organisation become lean by implementing 5S principles? Contact us today, by either clicking on one of the two buttons and we will get in contact with you.




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