Lean Supply Chain

A lean supply chain is, by definition, an efficient supply chain. The supply chain process is streamlined to systematically reduce and eliminate waste or non-value adding activities. All activities that contribute to delivering goods or services to the customer should create value otherwise they are wasteful. Waste can be found in each step of the supply chain process, in time and in inventory. Lean principles are well established in manufacturing but the same principles can be applied throughout the supply chain in the wholesale, retail and distribution industries. What to do to become more lean The best supply chains are demand driven, i.e. the customer defines how much inventory there should be in the system, not the supplier who can cause a company to hold excess inventory. Leveraging existing technology can assist with making a leaner supply chain but other elements such as management commitment, visibility of information and understanding supplier risks can also deliver efficiencies. Contributors to a lean supply chain Understand your whole supply chain. First analyze and map the total process, both inbound and outbound. Be aware of the complexity and inter-dependencies with multiple suppliers, distribution centers and the end customer. Top management commitment. Continuous improvement requires

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