Lean Retailing

Lean Manufacturing Needs Lean Retailers by Bill Waddell:

Stuck in their outdated business model, with a simple minded economic model, they all scour the globe looking for a supplier they can wring a few cents out of on the purchase price, then send the product in staggering quantities through the most bloated and wasteful supply chains.

The hope for lean in retailing comes from the building products sector, where Home Depot and Lowes are doing battle. You don’t read much about whiz bang technology driving Home Depot distribution centers because they didn’t waste their money on such things. They have a few DC’s for imported stuff, but the rule for doing business with Home Depot is that manufacturers generally ship directly to stores in box and skid quantities. Most of the purchasing is done regionally, rather than from headquarters. A Home Depot store manager has an 800 number for each supplier that he feels quite free to use any time, any day, to replenish whatever is needed in any quantity needed.

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