Lean Logistics

Lean Logistics

Menlo Worldwide Logistics practices lean logistics to deliver superior supply chain optimization and give its customers a competitive advantage. Lean logistics emphasizes minimization of all resources used in supply chain management. The lean logistics methodology uses proven lean practices and principles to reduce waste, complexity and errors.

The benefits of lean logistics to our customers include:

  • Lower supply chain costs
  • Faster turnaround times
  • Fewer errors
  • Ongoing cost reduction and service improvement culture
  • Process standardization across geographies

The elements of Menlo Worldwide Logistics’ lean logistics culture focus on:

  • Reducing inventory
  • Reducing waste
  • Mistake-proofing and standardizing work

Reduce Inventory

Menlo Worldwide Logistics’ pipeline visibility and event management applications enable customers to reduce required safety stocks. Our strategic lean supply chain analyses can uncover ways to reduce inventory and touches by replacing a warehouse with a cross-dock. Our strategic modal optimization analyses include inventory value for decision support on modes and routes. We operate plant warehouses that deliver parts continually to manufacturing line-sides, eliminating a need for plant inventory. Other inventory-reducing services Menlo Worldwide Logistics offers are postponement and customization, which push the product completion to the last practical point in the chain.

Reduce Waste

Elimination of waste is a key attribute of lean supply chain management. Waste reduction is not the same as cost reduction, although waste reduction often results in lower supply chain costs. With a goal of reducing waste, Menlo Worldwide Logistics works with its customers to modify policies and procedures that produce or encourage waste.

Menlo Worldwide Logistics examines several areas for supply chain waste reduction opportunities:

  • Mapping material flows. In studying material flows from raw material vendors to customer finished goods, we challenge each point at which material flow is stopped. Methods to speed up material flows include shipping ocean containers directly from Asia to inland regional warehouses, instead of transferring cargo to trucks at the ports of entry, and bypassing warehouses with large orders that travel directly from factory to customer.
  • Keeping drivers and tractors moving. The interface between warehousing and transportation can often result in waste. We attack this problem by working with our carriers to drop trailers, freeing the driver and tractor to pick up a loaded one and keep moving. Through careful dock scheduling and synchronization of warehouse workflows, we can live-load shipments quickly, minimizing driver dwell time.
  • Using milk runs. Milk runs reduce transportation costs and build more consistency into an inbound supply network.
  • Electronic data interchange (EDI). Menlo Worldwide Logistics makes extensive use of EDI and RosettaNet to pass data among our supply chain partners. Communicating data electronically eliminates errors caused by manual data entry.
  • Warehouse efficiency. Menlo Worldwide Logistics’ team of industrial engineers designs lean warehousing layouts that streamline inbound and outbound flows, maximize labor efficiency, and deliver high space utilization. We employ techniques like dynamic slotting, cluster picking, task management and system-directed putaway to optimize labor and space efficiencies.
  • Optimize transportation routes. Menlo Worldwide Logistics' TMS application optimizes each load to meet delivery dates with low-cost mode and carrier selection.
  • Packaging optimization. We work with customers to explore the use of returnable containers for repetitive shipments to factories. For finished goods, we can study packaging sizes to uncover ways to increase pallet and trailer utilization. Small changes in carton sizes can facilitate better storage utilization and lower transportation costs.


At Menlo Worldwide Logistics, quality is instituted at the source to prevent errors from entering the supply chain. Standard processes are the heart of this lean logistics model. Process standardization enables the uninterrupted movement of a product through a supply chain. Continual flow is enabled with a value-stream perspective, which means viewing processes in terms of how they add value to a customer.

Elements of Menlo’s mistake-proofing tools and techniques include:

  • Making it easy to do things right and making it hard to do things wrong
  • Easy-to-read visual controls
  • Radio-frequency devices coupled with bar-code technology
  • System-directed cycle counting at our warehouses
  • Utilization of Six Sigma and SPC
  • ISO processes
  • Electronic data interchange
  • Standardized processes
  • Implement repeatable, standardized processes
  • Establish one best way to perform each task
  • Visual documentation of processes
  • Correct any activity that causes rework, unnecessary adjustments or returns
  • Organized workplace (5S)

Adherence to 5S leads to the following benefits:

  • Better quality service
  • Lower costs
  • Higher availability
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • More reliable deliveries

Contact Menlo Worldwide Logistics to discover how our lean logistics philosophy can improve your supply chain performance. Our value-stream mapping experts can identify root causes of operating problems, remove waste and simplify the operation. We can take you on the lean journey that embraces a culture of continual improvement.

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