How to Establish a Lean Supply Chain System?

Lean is the trend these days, be it lean organizational structure or lean processes that save time and money while boosting efficiencies. If you have a supply chain system in place, it’s high time you consider going lean there too. It’s a system of interdependent and interconnected partners which operate in unison with an aim to achieve the logistical objectives and ensure success across the process. In order to adopt a lean system, you just need to take a few basic steps mentioned below.

27 june 2017

  • Get rid of the waste


All the departments and functions in your organization should work in collaboration to get rid of wastes like, system complexities, more lead times, extra inventory, inactive goods, human efforts not adding value, packages that allow damage and unnecessary energy consumption. When all these are at a minimal level, you will achieve true waste management.

  • Adopt technology

No organization can progress without taking the assistance of technology. If you align technology with the entire supply chain system, you would be able to manage the workforce, inventories, customer orders, customer relationships, relationship with trading partners, transportation processes and Omni-channel fulfillment in a better manner. It is always smart to opt for technologies that can be integrated with partners and customers’ technologies to make the entire processes & communication seamless.

  • Transparent Customer Usage

To streamline the sequences of processes involved in production and distribution of a product to the customers, you need to ensure that each member of the process has access to customer usage. This kind of visibility will set the right pace and enable you to serve the customers in the best possible manner within a short span of time.

  • Better Lead Time

Customers can be made very happy by reducing the lead time in a supply chain system. In order to do that, you should create the sales, operations, inventory and production plans on a monthly basis or even bi-monthly basis. While creating these plans, it is essential to invite inputs from top suppliers and customers. Doing so would ensure that positive feedback improves the processes and reduces lead times by removing all the snags.

  • Level the Flow of Material

It can be done by creating a level flow or level load. When you level the flow of information and material, it would lead to a lean supply chain system that has much less waste, especially at all the key points in the system.

  • Small and Frequent Shipments

It is also advised that you fulfill customer demands by delivering smaller shipments more frequently as it would boost the throughput and velocity to your customers. It will further help in reducing the inventories and lead times while allowing you to adjust the delivery to meet actual customer need consumption in an easy manner.

  • Go for Process Discipline

When aiming for lean processes, you cannot ignore process discipline. It can be achieved by using Lean’s Value Stream Mapping that assists in breaking down the processes so that you can rebuild them in an effective manner. You can also use Sigma’s DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) to solve any problems. Using Lean’s PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act) is also quite effective.

  • Concentrate on Total Cost of Fulfillment

You should also focus on making decisions that will meet customer expectations at the lowest possible cost. It may mean getting rid of decisions which will benefit only a part of the stream while being expensive to others. It can only be achieved when all the partners of a system share operational and financial benefits while totally eliminating the waste.


It is quite clear that making use of the lean methodology when you wish to enhance the logistics process is a good option that can provide recurring results if you do things right. Try it today and see the huge difference these little steps make over a period of time.


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