Staying Lean (and Beautiful) While Outsourcing

In the June 2010 issue of GCI magazine, David Becker, in an article titled Speed to Market: Becoming Lean Through Outsourcing, contends that although outsourcing is usually incorporated to just save costs, it actually can save time, foster creativity, and improve quality and flexibility. Becker focuses on the beauty-products industry in which "taking a product from trial to mass production" can be the most wasteful and time-consuming task in product development. As in most industries, full supply-chain development and partnership, which should be based on constant communication and realistic expectations, is crucial to any product.

An interesting quote comes from
Justin Ames, director of custom manufacturing at Neways Inc. (a company that focuses on the research and development, manufacture, and fulfillment of personal care products): "Look for companies on a continuous cycle of implementing initiatives. Neways Inc. is obsessed with quality and on-time deliveries. If one of our initiatives positively affects this measurement, then we build on it. If it doesn’t, we review it, change it, or throw it out and try something else." Essentially, Lean customers can foster Lean suppliers and Lean Suppliers can enhance Lean customers.

Please feel free to comment or cite examples in which a supplier has hastened or energized a customer's Lean initiative.


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