Conference article

Lean Initiative in Logistics Service Providers

Per-Olof Brehmer
Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping university, Linköping, Sweden

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Published in: 10th QMOD Conference. Quality Management and Organiqatinal Development. Our Dreams of Excellence; 18-20 June; 2007 in Helsingborg; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 26:84, p.

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Published: 2008-02-15


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Many manufacturing and some service businesses today are using lean management principles and practices as a means to improve business processes; which in turn improves productivity and competitiveness; and delivers greater value to en-use customers (Bowen and Youngdahl; 1998; Goland et al.; 1998; Swank; 2003; Womack and Jones; 2005; Kollberg et al.; 2007). The lean management system was initially developed by Toyota Motor Corporation (Ohno; 1988; Womack et al.; 1990; Womack and Jones; 1996) beginning in the mid-1930s; with elements of the management systems practiced at that time. The lean management system as it is known today did not start out that way. It has evolved purposefully over time; driven by practitioners; in alignment with Toyota’s corporate purpose (Basu; 1999); anchored in key principles applied through a scientific method to the practice of management (Ohno; 1988): 1) observe a phenomenon; 2) formulate a hypothesis to explain the phenomenon; 3) conduct experiments to prove or disprove the hypothesis; and 4) reach a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis.

Application of lean principles and practices results in many benefits; including higher quality products and services; increased market share; margin expansion; revenue growth; stable employment; better customer focus; faster response to changing market conditions; and higher asset efficiency. Importantly; in lean management is time a key focus and how it is used; in favour for the whole or in a counter proactive way; is essential in prioritizing among how much attention different aspects in the organization should get.

An area in which time is an essential competitive force is supply chain management that has emerged as one of the major areas for companies to gain a competitive edge. Managing supply chains effectively is a complex and challenging task; due to the current business trends of expanding product variety; short product life cycle; increasing outsourcing; globalisation of businesses; and continuous advances in information technology. In each supply chain a number of logistics service providers (LSP) operates and handles the flow of products from source; to component suppliers; assembly manufacturers; via distributors and retailers all the way to the end consumers.

The purpose of he article is to discuss how the lean management concept can be applied in logistics service providers organizations and the implementation of lean thinking in the management of logistics services providers.


Lean thinking; transport and logistics services; implementation Category: Research


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