Lean has always worked with distribution in mind, according to lean expert Chuck Emery in an MDM webcast earlier this year, Lean for Distributors. And many companies have used it not only on the warehouse floor, but throughout their organizations to improve efficiencies and processes to serve customers better.
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Chicago-based MRO distributor Lawson Products has seen success using lean in its outbound call center. In a recent interview with MDM as part of our 7 Minutes With … monthly audio series, COO Harry Dochelli said the distributor's lean "journey" started about two years ago. "You don't really get to an end state; you keep improving as you move forward."
He said that in a recent town hall meeting, when executives meet with employees, the outbound call center revealed its success with lean, which is traditionally seen as a warehouse-focused process improvement tool. Other departments were surprised, he said, and asked how they could apply lean to their areas.
"Lean is just a different way of looking at the total quality initiative," Dochelli says. "To me it applies anywhere in your business."
Read more about A Practical Approach to Lean.
Check out these other 7 Minutes With … interviews MDM has conducted with top executives at distribution companies of all sizes over the past seven months. Find them at the 7 Minutes With Archives page.
- HD Supply CEO Joe DeAngelo
- MSC Industrial Supply CEO Dave Sandler and COO Erik Gershwind
- Modern Group CEO Dave Griffith
- Lewis Goetz CEO Jeffrey Crane
- Hisco CEO Bob Dill
- Gallagher Fluid Seals President Joe Gallagher