Chapter 6. Lean supply chains: Focusing on efficiency and lowest cost-to-serve

How lean is your business? It’s the magic question, as being ‘lean’ is often seen to be the cure-all approach to lowering costs. It’s not so much how low can you go, but how lean can you be? Japanese car manufacturer Toyota got us hot under the collar in the 1980s when it introduced lean manufacturing into its factories. Organizations have been applying lean concepts to corporate logistics systems and the wider domain of supply chain management ever since. However, as so often occurs when new concepts are applied to supply chain thinking, we can start to have unreasonable expectations about the actual benefits. We can also get confused about what we mean by the concept ...

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