July 2014 |   Volume: 46 |   Number: 7
The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
I had formed a reaction to “Parting the Ways for Supply Chain Excellence” (May) after the first page: Segmenting supply chains by characteristics of the product, customer or other would be a worthy extension of lean’s value-stream concept.
Such segmentation, I thought, should not be all that difficult to implement because it already exists widely within factories: Cells, plants-in-a-plant and focused factories are production flows segmented by product family, customer family or occasionally both at the same time. In many cases up-and-running flow streams in factories may fit well with targeted segmentation of supply and distribution channels.
What is additionally gratifying about such grand segmentation is its potential to fulfill the failed promise of lean value streams, which originally were to extend “from raw material into the arms of the customer,” as envisioned by Mike Rother and John Shook in their 1990 book Learning to See.
For the most part they don’t, but with Tompkins International and the supply chain community pressing for segmentation of the external channels, they could.
Richard J. Schonberger
WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTSSend letters to Michael Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org or to IIE, 3577 Parkway Lane, Suite 200, Norcross, GA 30092. Correspondence to the editorial staff is treated as a letter to the editor unless otherwise indicated. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity. Include your city and state of residence or employment. Letters from anonymous authors will not be published, but we will consider requests to publish letters with the author’s name withheld.