Improving road transport operations through lean thinking: a case study

B. Villarreal, J. A. Garza-Reyes, V. Kumar, Ming K. Lim

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    46 Citations (Scopus)
    251 Downloads (Pure)


    Traditionally, logistics and transportation problems have been addressed through mathematical modelling, operations research, and simulation, but criticism has emerged about their effectiveness to actually address real-life problems. This paper documents a case study whereby the road transport operations of a leading Mexican brewery were improved through lean thinking and waste reduction. Two lean-based principles and tools were combined: the Seven Transportation Extended Wastes and Transportation Value Stream Mapping. Three systematic steps were proposed to facilitate the implementation of improvement. Feasibility studies conducted in this research suggested that lean thinking is an effective alternative for the improvement of road transport operations. The findings of this research could be used as guidance for transport managers to improve road transport operations. This paper also expands the limited evidence of the application of lean thinking in road transport logistics and highlights the research areas where its application has been concentrated in this sector. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Logistics Research and Applicationson 2016, available online: 10.1080/13675567.2016.1170773
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)163-180
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Research and Applications
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Lean
    • road transportation
    • transportation efficiency
    • value stream mapping
    • waste elimination


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