Monday, August 25, 2008

Lean in Supply Chain is Key for Success

Although C-level executives are enthusiastic about the benefits that can be derived by “Leaning out” manufacturing operations from plant to plant, there is a large performance gap between those companies that are simply using Lean techniques on the shop floor and those that have built a culture based on Lean thinking throughout the Enterprise and in particular, the supply chain.

To be most successful, organizations need to extend the lean thinking concepts from the shop floor to the entire supply chain including, the front office and executive suites, customers and suppliers. By doing all of this, the company will progress from “Doing Lean” to “Being Lean”. Best-in-Class performers have three basic characteristics:

  • Transfer of Lean thinking from the shop floor to the supply chain
  • Consistent senior management commitment across the supply chain of suppliers, customers, and distribution partners
  • Extension of Lean concepts and techniques across the entire value chain

Once the Lean way of thinking is successful within the organization, suggestions for expanding into the entire supply chain include:

  • Include major suppliers, customers, and partners as part of the audience as they are deployed across the supply chain
  • Evaluate each supply chain process as to applicability of Lean concepts
  • Implement performance measurements that span the supply chain network. Measure quality, cost and delivery performance.
  • Build mutually beneficial relationships with partners to share information and synchronize planning activities driven by ‘Pull’ demand concepts

Are You Best-in-Class?