Sectors associated with the distribution of products and goods have become more and more important in recent years. Globalisation and changing market demands are increasing competitiveness in these sectors, and as a result many companies have adopted new improvement methods to assure their survival. The adoption of improvement philosophies and a lean culture offer new opportunities to improve the quality and service of distribution networks and activities related with transport and warehousing. The application of these philosophies, widely used in industrial companies, has been little documented in distribution centres. However, these methods are difficult to implement in companies from the distribution sector due to the volatility of customer demand, the high degree of human participation and the demanding mechanical and repetitive activities in retail and storage activities. This paper presents a methodology for change management to adopt lean practices in distribution centres. The presented case study has been used to develop, test and refine the methodology. Results show that the methodology was suitable for establishing a lean culture in the company and it resulted in good outcomes in terms of productivity, employee attitudes and participation.