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How to be a lean supply chain player

Posted: 17 Mar 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Lean supply chain?

"Lean supply chain" is a term that's often been used in the electronics industry. In this article, we'll shed more light on the concept and outline the benefits of the lean approach.

At the most basic level, the lean supply chain leverages a team-based approach to continuous improvement. The focus is on eliminated activities that don't add value, as well as anything that might be defined as "waste" from the customer perspective.

One traditional method for identifying opportunities to advance a lean supply chain is the supply-chain operations reference-model (SCOR). This model, which was developed by the APICS Supply Chain Council (SCC), hopes to create a standard reference model to allow supply chain partners to communicate effectively. The scope of the basic management processes in the framework span the breadth of the supply chain and includes:

  • Plan: Processes that balance aggregate demand and supply to develop a course of action which best meets sourcing, production and delivery requirements.
  • Source: Processes that procure goods and services to meet planned or actual demand.

  • Make: Processes that transform product to a finished state to meet planned or actual demand.

  • Deliver: Processes that provide finished goods and services to meet planned or actual demand, typically including order management, transportation management and distribution management.

  • Return: Processes associated with returning or receiving returned products.

The infographic below, from Ryder, outlines the basics and the benefits of lean approach. "The key to delivering long-term customer value and outstanding business performance, quarter after quarter, year after year, is to implement a lean culture," the company said. "In a lean culture, every step in every process must add value for the customer. If it doesn't add value, you strive to eliminate it."

So has your organisation made lean more than just big talk? Tell us about your lean supply chain successes and challenges in the comments section below.

Ryder infographic

- Hailey Lynne McKeefry

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