GP Supplies Limited
GP Supplies Ltd provides pharmaceutical equipment to GP surgeries, nursing homes, medical students, specialty clinics and industries. It has been in operation for 12 years and has capitalised on the trend for online ordering, with warehouse space totaling some 8500 sq. ft.
The overall focus for GP Supplies Ltd was to Improve warehouse efficiencies and associated increase in productivity levels.
“We found working with MAS to be very helpful – they gave us practical, effective advice that has enabled us to make significant improvements to our operation.”
Kamal Shah, Managing Director, GP Supplies Ltd
- Over £35k cost savings
- 50% improvement in picking and packing times
- 30% more space freed in G P Stores
- 10% more space freed in Myriad and Export Stores
- Improved stock control
- Faster stock rotation
- Improved use of batch codes
“It is always our intention to not only be a teacher but also a co-worker, to be ‘hands on’ at the client’s side helping, so that when we leave they have the knowledge to continue growing their company after we have gone.”
Chris Leonard, Manufacturing Advisor
The manufacturing challenge
The warehouse is split into 3 operations; GP Stores where individual items can be supplied, Myriad for bulk supply and Export for supplies outside the UK. With Export only leaving the company once or twice a week and Myriad mainly supplying creams, hand washes and vitamin tablets, it was the GP Stores area that held the largest volume of varied stock and utilised the most staff, making it the biggest cost centre. GP Supplies Ltd wanted to ensure this high value area was working as cost efficiently as possible.
To enable GP Supplies Ltd to assess the efficiency of the G P Stores warehouse area, Chris Leonard, a Manufacturing Advisor , ran an Introduction to Lean workshop involving the warehouse staff and key personnel from around the company. The workshop looked at the principles of lean manufacturing and an expanded practical section within the warehouse highlighted operating issues and bottlenecks. Although concentrating on the warehouse, by opening the workshop to other key staff it allowed for the spread of “lean” thinking throughout the business.
A state map, illustrating stock holds and patterns, was then produced, showing that while the storage area was well defined, there were a lot of obsolete and slow moving items on the shelves blocking and preventing access to current every-day items. This high traffic area was also located on the mezzanine level, hindering easy and quick access.
A total of 6 storage containers were also being used for overflow storage due to the lack of available space.
It became clear that relocating the G P stores to the ground floor would increase storage space and improve access. Over a period of 2 weeks the store was re-situated on the ground floor and key elements of 5S Principles (Sorting, Setting in Order, Sweeping, Standardising, and Sustaining) to be implemented creating homes for equipment and also a Kanban system, whereby the volume and placement of stock items mirrors the picking and packing process.
These systems freed up additional storage space, reducing the need for overflow storage containers from 6 to 2, with the eventual aim of getting rid of containers altogether.
The Myriad and Export stores also introduced 5S principles freeing more location bins.
As a result of the support provided by MAS and the implementation of a series of new operating procedures to tighten stock control, improve stock rotation and the use of batch codes, GP Supplies Ltd has the ability to increase its stock holding in response to peaks in demand, has speeded up order turnaround and improved cost and staff efficiencies.