Lean transportation: Applying Lean Thinking Basics to Transportation

Samira Gnich

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is an attempt to find a common ground between transportation as a service, and lean as a management philosophy that took its rise in a manufacturing context. It discusses the applicability and the possible adaptation of basic lean concepts like JIT, Jidoka and waste elimination, etc. to a key logistic function like transportation. The thesis contributes to literature by offering a broader view of lean application to transportation. It is broader because in the closest literature to the subject, i.e. lean logistics, there is a tendency towards focusing on JIT to the detriment of Jidoka, which may explain the difference between the success of Toyota in lean and the success or failure of those who tried to replicate the concept to their organizations, or the view that lean cannot or is hard be applied to transportation. The thesis also tries to give insights into transportation quality definition by analysing the service value in transportation. This is important due to the fact that lean is a costumer or quality driven concept, where value and non-value, waste and non-waste is always defined from an end-user perspective. The suggested model of lean transportation concludes the thesis and it encloses different elements and findings from the analysis, the author reflections and the last chapter insights into different organizational challenges and prerequisites for lean implementation to transportation.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages95