How LeanCor’s Founder is innovating the Supply Chain Logistics Industry
For many, supply chain and logistics can be difficult topics to get excited about, and yet every company has a supply chain that is integral to its operation. It is something that many employees interact with, but it is often not a priority for leaders. Robert Martichenko wants to change that.
“Technology in supply chain and logistics has evolved to a point now where visibility is the focus, but the next real landmark in the industry will be true end-to-end thinking. This means that businesses will have supply-chain centric thinking in all of their business strategies—that organizations will train their employees to think about the supply chain every time performance or cost is discussed.”
Martichenko is the Founder and CEO of LeanCor Supply Chain Group, a diverse organization that addresses companies’ needs for consultation, education and actual outsourced services in supply chain and logistics. The company’s motto of “We Teach. We Consult. We Do.” reflects the three divisions of the company, which include training and education, consulting, as well as its own third-party logistics company with warehouses and transportation services.
“No matter where the customer is in the maturity of their supply chain thinking, LeanCor wants to help take them to the next step, which supports our mission of advancing the world’s supply chains,” he said.
LeanCor’s training and education division teaches lean and operational excellence, focusing on lean fundamentals, lean supply chain, and lean leadership. With courses through Georgia Tech and The Lean Enterprise Institute, as well as classroom and online education options, LeanCor’s classes appeal to a wide range of learning styles. Its consulting arm looks to improve processes that already exist within the company’s strategies, helping customers to understand what operational excellence can look like. The focus on consulting work is to create operational excellence across the entire end to end supply chain.
And LeanCor’s Third-party Logistics company?
“If we’re advocating to people on how to run their supply chain, we need to prove that we can run a successful lean operation ourselves,” Martichenko shared.
His experience from university on has been in the fields of supply chain and logistics, starting with successful Canadian trucking company Challenger Motor Freight. After a move to the U.S. in 1998, Martichenko participated in a startup for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, which introduced him to the company’s production system and lean thinking. The concept of running lean fascinated him, and drove him to learn as much as possible on the subject.
Eventually, Martichenko’s entrepreneurial ambitions led him to realize the third-party logistics industry had a void, one he believed his ideas could fill. A decade later his timing, as well as his dedication to lean and the supply chain industry, has paid off.
He received the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ (CSCMP) Distinguished Service Award at the end of September during the association’s annual conference in San Diego. Martichenko, the association shared, is well known around the world for his landmark contributions to the study and practice of lean logistics and lean supply chain operations and has been a long-time advocate of supply chain innovation.
"Receiving this award prompted me to take a moment to reflect on the last three decades," said Martichenko of the recognition. "During this reflection, it struck me how lucky I have been to participate in such an amazing industry.”
His contributions to the industry don’t stop there. He has written and co-authored several publications since founding LeanCor, including most notably the 2013 Shingo Research Award winning book, People: a leader’s day to day guide to building, managing, and sustaining lean organizations and the 2011 Shingo Research Award winning workbook, Building a Lean Fulfillment Stream. His other books include Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in First Grade, and Lean Six Sigma Logistics.
“We are always trying to put new techniques and methods forward in the industry for experimentation and hopefully industry-wide application. These books and their awards exemplify LeanCor, and our desire to continuously apply ourselves as a thought leader in supply chain logistics,” said Martichenko.
LeanCor’s approach to supplier and client relationships is certainly one the industry could learn more from. As a company which both shares its knowledge with clients and runs a successful logistics division, LeanCor sometimes finds itself as both a client and a supplier—to the same company.
Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America (MCFA) began employing LeanCor’s services in 2010 for the management of its inbound and outbound domestic freight, and has since expanded its relationship with the company to include improving MCFA’s manufacturing efficiency and a move towards leaner business practices.
“LeanCor has a great culture—they are very entrepreneurial in their approach,” said Jay Gusler, Vice President of Operations at MCFA. “I really appreciate the energy and open mind they bring into our operations. They are certainly passionate about eliminating waste and growing more lean cultures in their client’s operations, and I value their support.”
But that’s not where the relationship ends—LeanCor, in turn, buys forklifts from MCFA for the warehouses the company runs.
“The MCFA and LeanCor relationship is certainly unique. We are simultaneously a supplier and customer of each other. We often have to clarify which hat we are wearing in conversations about forklifts and other activities. I think the best part is the candid and open nature of our relationship,” shared Gusler.
“There is a team of LeanCor employees who work full time in MCFA,” Martichenko said. “They utilize all three of our company’s offerings. I think the two companies’ relationship exemplifies the modern age of supply chain management, and I’m very proud of it. Together we are working closely to ensure each company is strong and focused on excellence.”
Overall, industry is coming up on some complications such as increasingly complex supply chains and extended lead times due to globalization, but LeanCor and its founder are ready for these challenges.
“We have to teach organizations that yes, there is going to be complexity, but that they need to understand the difference between planned complexity and unplanned complexity,” said Martichenko.
“Building supply chains that focus on performance in spite of complexity is the problem we are now solving for. This means we have to focus on the entire supply chain, from end to end. We have to see the forest and the trees! Supply chain-centric decision making can re-ignite operational improvement efforts. By generating additional value and eliminating waste, it drives hard financial benefits. Specifically, we’re talking about revenue growth, lower operating costs, improved margins, and reduced resource requirements, which shrinks working capital requirements and improves return on assets.
The concept is straightforward. The decisions that managers make in one area of your business inevitably have an impact on other areas. The area where many of these decisions have a disproportionate impact in terms of cost and performance—positive and negative—is your supply chain. Therefore, every person in an organization needs to be thinking about the supply chain when they make decisions. This is the work for the next decade.”
With all of this in consideration, when might an organization be well served to working with an organization like LeanCor? According to Martichenko, “our favorite customer is the organization who is not satisfied with their current supply chain performance or the cost associated with serving their customers. All processes can be improved, so we thrive in a world where our customer has a low tolerance for waste and is not accepting of average performance.”
“I’m very excited about the future of our company. We have skilled and talented people in all parts of each division of the business, and processes and technology that are efficient and effective. We’ve been ready and willing since the beginning of LeanCor to support organizations in our three core areas, and I’m looking forward to where that takes us in the future.”
Advancing the World’s Supply Chains
LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to advance supply chains. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of operational excellence.
“We Teach. We Consult. We Do.”