Milk Run Concept In Lean Manufacturing

Milk run concept in Lean manufacturing

Milk Van Concept

 - Milk runs are a popular concept for material delivery among a plant and even across multiple plants. It's substantially supported the philosophy of pull, keeping inventories down, and creating material provide easier.

 - However, it is only suitable for mass-produced goods, or more precisely for identical components and identical parts, even if they go into different product variants.

 - The name Milk Run has been derived from the method used by the trucks to deliver the daily requirements of milk to the dairy co-operatives. A milk run ensures that that minimum distance is travelled and the maximum demand is carried into the truck or delivery vehicle so as to meet both the demand requirement and effective transportation with least cost.

The Origin of Milk Run

 - Milk runs were originally simply what the name implies, someone delivering milk to completely different households on a route. This was a common approach in the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, India, and other places to distribute milk. However, due to the nature of the product, this type of delivery differed significantly from, for example, the delivery of mail or other goods.

 - Fresh milk is a product that perishes quickly. With modern refrigeration it can last a bit longer. Pasteurized milk (common in Germany, for example) can even be kept for months without refrigeration. However, nowadays raw milk still is the biggest cause of hospitalization due to foodborne diseases. The short shelf life of milk was an even bigger problem before modern refrigeration and pasteurization. It was difficult to have a stockpile of milk, and milk had to be consumed quickly before it spoiled.

 - Therefore the milk men and women used a few simple tricks to help their customer. Along their route, they simply replaced empty milk bottles with full bottles. If the customer put one empty bottle out for the milk man in the morning, he got one full bottle. If the customer put out two empty bottles, he got two full bottles back (and so on). Hence, this empty bottle was not only for reuse and recycling, but also contained a signal to replenish the consumed milk.

 - This milk bottle would be a Kanban! More precisely it would be a transport Kanban, since the milk man did not produce the milk but merely transported it from a storage facility.

Typical Milk Run Steps

1) The vehicle starts from first central point.

2) There is loading at each supplier point.

3) There is unloading if any at each supplier point.

4) There is final unloading at central point.

Milk Run Concept In Lean Manufacturing

Benefits of Milk Run

- Reduction in transportation costs due to consolidated transportation offsetting even the use of small lot transport.

- Improvement of the vehicle loading rate, shorten the total distance traveled. It can achieve various suppliers and manufacturers of coordination.

- It reduces the risk of product quality if problems. Manufacturers can quickly discover and inform the corresponding suppliers, to minimize the impact on sales.

- It changes logistics strategies, using third-party logistics significantly reduce in-process inventory, increased capital flows, reduce investment risks.

Drawback of the Milk Run

 - The milk run has one major limitation: It works only for mass-consumed components that are in stock at the assembly line. If your assembly line needs lots of customized items, the milk run may not be the perfect thing for you.

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