How to Create a LEAN Culture in Your Supply Chain

Lean Guiding Principles, Supply Chain
April 19, 2016

LEANImplementing LEAN is the most strategic way a company can transform its supply chain and business.

A LEAN business system is an organization of people who have developed the ability to relentlessly seek out waste and eliminate it while simultaneously improving the customer experience.

Creating a LEAN culture is a tremendous challenge. Few companies and their leadership see the full potential of LEAN to transform their business. Most see it as some sort of manufacturing approach and typically use it as a small component of their overall strategy. Many companies perceive LEAN as tools that can be used selectively to improve a process.

In most situations, LEAN tends to be delegated down to the operation teams and is focused on cost reductions. This decreases the effectiveness of LEAN. It also helps explain why only 5% of the companies that attempt to implement LEAN do so successfully.

For many, the lack of success can be seen before they get started because they use LEAN only operationally and somewhat tactically instead of as a strategic weapon.

It is not just to do LEAN, but to be LEAN.

Art Byrne, a well-known LEAN expert, says in order for LEAN to be successful, you have to understand and commit to three management principles that will serve as the foundation on which your transformation should be built:

  • LEAN is the strategy
  • Lead from the top
  • Transform the people

At Ryder, LEAN begins with every leader. They devote a significant amount of time ensuring principles of continuous improvement are deeply embedded into every facet of the organization. Ryder leaders ensure continuous improvement is a part of their daily standard work and are accountable for their improvement. All leaders in every area encourage managers and associates to push themselves to levels of performance that do not seem possible.

For a virtual tour of a Ryder LEAN warehouse, click here.

Authored by Will Johnson

Will Johnson is Group Director of Supply Chain Excellence at Ryder. Will is a LEAN Master Black Belt and leads a team at Ryder focused on providing LEAN solutions to Ryder’s customers and internal departments.


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