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Lean Warehousing – From Paradox to Operational Excellence

Vinas, Tonya

LeanCor CEO Robert Martichenko believes many Lean Thinkers consider the term “lean warehousing” an oxymoron.

“Let’s face it,” he tells journalist Tonya Vinas, “most lean purists believe that all transportation and warehousing functions are pure waste. Considering my entire career has been in logistics, I’ve become a little defensive at this notion.”

In an interview that includes a diagram with elements of a lean warehouse, Martichenko notes that global supply chains with extended lead times are causing many companies to view logistics – and warehousing -- as ways to gain competitive advantage and deliver more value to customers. The interview covers such issues and questions as:

  • Is the term “lean warehousing” an oxymoron?
  • Is warehousing a commodity?
  • How do lean and warehousing come together?
  • What are the main things supply-chain professionals should focus on for “strategic lean warehousing”?
  • What should they focus on for “tactical lean warehousing?
  • Is there a specific toolkit or approach for implementing the lean warehouse?
  • What must a leader do to drive lean warehousing?

 After reading the story, consider these next steps ...

 Supply chain professionals will learn how to apply lean principles in logistics and warehouses at two special workshops being run by the Lean Enterprise Institute at LeanCor’s working operations center: