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Lean Philosophy

Lean Philosophy

Lean Philosophy

The philosophy of lean only truly works well where there is trust and reliability. The customer has a huge advantage in any negotiations and can instigate unreasonable demands on his supplier but this isn't always a good thing for the customer to do as when the demand is impracticable the relationship breaks down and the customer's company will be let down.

The best relationship develops when the buyer acts as a mentor to the new supplier (old suppliers know the ropes and can cope). Some suppliers are proactive in developing systems that please and enhance their supply capability, sometimes the Buyer instigates action and change which should benefit both parties.

There has to be integrity and fairness, where a supplier spends a lot of money catering for a new system the buyer should recognise this with loyalty. Eventually competition may tempt the buyer to offer the contract to other parties to tender, fairness demands that the buyer advises the supplier that change is about to happen so that he can reduce his stock in case he fails to win the new contract.

Lean philosophy should not break a supplier, it should enable him to make a reasonable profit and develop. Loyal suppliers are like gold especially ones that can cope with the supplier pressure.

My tip? look after your suppliers and they will look after you.

The above article is devoted mainly to the subcontract manufacturing part of industry.

RE: Lean Philosophy

Even without lean there are many unreasonable expectations being placed on many suppliers. Lean philosophy means elimination of waste. I know there is waste in every supplier which can be eliminated. Are they willing to eliminate it? Sometimes, sometimes not.

The factory I work at has reduced transformation costs by 12% this year. This did not include beating up on the suppliers but internal changes at the shop floor. What did it take? Elimination of waste.

I know there are people who use Lean as an excuse to badger suppliers but those people can only do so much. True lean will make a company more competitive and drive toward excellence. Costs will follow.  

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