A true LEAN culture is essential to drive continuous improvement and achieve value all along the process.
When companies decide that their own internal warehousing capabilities are lacking, they can decide to select a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to run their warehousing operation for them. Often, a shipper will demand more from a 3PL than it would from itself. This is particularly true when it comes to continuous improvement. However, while lean manufacturing and Six Sigma practices have been widely adopted to improve production activities, this is far less common in the warehouse.
Companies seeking continuous improvements in the warehouse by outsourcing to a 3PL should apply diligence to determine whether that 3PL has a robust continuous improvement culture in place. While many 3PLs will claim that this is the case, it’s likely that at least some of these only dabble in lean and kaizen; mastering the terminology, but not necessarily the true cultural requirements. So, how can a company that wants to outsource its warehousing operations pick a 3PL that really does have strong capabilities here?