Logistics shifts gears at Oriola

A major new development project will be completed at Oriola’s logistics centre in Mankkaa this autumn. Logistics development will continue under the Lean model.

Major changes have recently been carried out at Oriola's logistics centre in Espoo. In addition to technical improvements we have trained personnel to work in a new way and to develop their own work processes with Lean methods.

“This has been a very large project and major investment. The results are evident not only as a change in what we do ourselves but also as added capacity and better order picking quality, which is something that the clients also see," says Kimmo Savolainen, Oriola's, Director, Logistics Operations.

Latest technology

The purpose of the new technology is to add capacity and to further improve reliability and picking quality.

“First we modernised our automation system: at the beginning of the year we renewed the lidding line for transport boxes and a large part of the conveyor system. In May we implemented a new automated picking line for non-pharmaceutical products. The finishing touch is a voice-controlled picking system which we will implement by the end of year," says Savolainen.

The functions of the system are still being optimised but the results are already convincing. The voice-controlled system speeds up picking and further reduces errors. Our personnel have been enthusiastic about the new system.

“We needed more capacity at Mankkaa after we closed our logistics centre in Oulu in the summer. Now we also have the capacity to receive more goods.”

In addition to technical improvements we have trained personnel to work in a new way and to develop their own work processes.

Smoother work with Lean

At the same time, we have adopted the Lean method to help us in the continuous development of logistics. Our goal is to make operational processes smoother so that Oriola can provide its customers with better quality and service and also to improve our own operating efficiency.

The first Lean project in logistics was in goods reception.

“Projects are a great way to get started with the Lean approach. The key things are participation and motivation because the people who work in the unit in question know its problems best. I help them to break down the system into small parts and challenge their thinking with various Lean models, but eventually they solve the problems themselves and play a very strong role in implementing the changes,” says Johanna Lassila, Lean Manager at Oriola.

We analysed the entire process, layout and duties at goods reception. The changes improved through-times and operating quality. In the next project we worked with the personnel to examine how goods travel from the high bay warehouse and goods reception to the shelves. The results of the first stage were again impressive: goods now move faster and more smoothly to where they should go.

“The idea is to use Lean to analyse every stage of work in logistics,” Kimmo Savolainen says.

Discovering new ideas

In addition to projects, continuous brainstorming is central to Lean. At Oriola we have started using Lean boards to continue the development of the various work stages at the warehouse. We will implement the boards throughout the organisation.

“The purpose of the boards is to follow certain key targets. Everyone can follow these measures and see how they can influence them. We will analyse achievements and potential challenges with the supervisors and write down ideas for improvement,” Lassila says. Currently we are renewing the initiative system at Oriola so that in the future, we will collect ideas for small improvements more efficiently.

Some members of the personnel have also taken part in a Lean game that is like a miniature simulation of real life and problem solving.

“But I think the best way to learn is to solve challenges that affect your own work. Lean helps people to develop in what they do and to discover new ideas," she says.

Text: Taru Virtanen
Image: Felix Marquez