We were recently interviewed by Tom Andel, Editor-in-Chief for Material Handling & Logistics magazine for their edition on how the concepts of 'Lean' apply to the warehouse. We were quoted in the Editor's Note on page 4.
Lean techniques started with Toyota's manufacturing system and have moved into many other types of operations over the last two decades.
Often, though, it is difficult to take the concepts of 'Lean' and apply them to operations that do not look much like Toyota. Often, these efforts will just focus on waste reduction. However, a careful study of the fundamentals of lean reveals the importance of creating optimal (and minimal) buffers to protect against variability. This is where optimization can come in. Optimization can often reveal new strategies for minimizing the buffers you have in your supply chain. For example, the article quotes:
"Of course, another great way to reduce inventory at the warehouse is if the product just skips the warehouse entirely. That requires determining which products should touch every warehouse, which should bypass the warehouses, and which should be cross-docked."