Case study

Delivering the goods with lean logistics research

Innovative research into green-lean and lean logistics is enabling transport, manufacturing and emergency medical service industries worldwide to combine improvements in productivity with a stronger environmental performance.

Research by the Centre for Supply Chain Improvement (CSCI) at the University of Derby has successfully applied lean production principles that originated in the manufacturing sector to investigate and reduce the inefficiencies of road transportation internationally.

Headed by Professor Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes, the CSCI has championed the concepts of green-lean and lean logistics, applying them to address the productivity and environmental challenges of road transport and manufacturing operations in countries such as Mexico, China, Thailand, Colombia, Oman and India. The research has enabled world-leading names like DHL and the Red Cross to combine improved service delivery with new approaches to resource management.

While the transport and logistics sector is of vital importance to stimulate trade and economic development, it has also drawn criticism for the severe environmental damage it can cause. In addressing these concerns, Professor Garza-Reyes has extended a leading model of mapping logistics operations to include consideration for environmental waste caused by road transport – introducing an approach known as Sustainable Transportation Value Stream Mapping (STVSM).

Through applied research which has attracted funding from the British Council, the British Academy and the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico, Professor Garza-Reyes has trialled and implemented his green-lean toolkit in a range of organisations, resulting in a reduction in journey times and distance covered, more clients being served and a decrease in CO2 emissions.

Professor Garza-Reyes secured British Council Institutional Links funding for a project to apply his green-lean approaches to agriculture in Mexico. Research focuses on agro-technology for sustainable and efficient farm operations, with the ultimate aim of improving food security and water conservation to alleviate poverty.

Subsequent research has generated positive economic and environmental impact for several private sector companies. This has included introducing sustainability indicators and re-engineering truck routing processes for OXXO Femsa, the largest chain of convenience stores in Latin America, and its operations in the north of Mexico. It resulted in ‘distance travelled in excess’ figures being cut to nil, fill loss being reduced from 71% to 54.9%, a 40% reduction in the number of trucks needed to serve daily demand, and a 40% reduction in transport operation costs.

Using the same framework, DHL Transport Operations in Mexico saw excess distance reduced by 57% while HPF Co Ltd, a third party logistics company in China, was able to identify inefficiencies, reduce costs and become more competitive. ThailandPost Distribution Co., Ltd., a full-service transportation and distribution provider and affiliate of

the Thai Post Company Limited (Thailand Post) uncovered significant wastes and inefficiencies related to administrative and logistics operations and similarly, Chandra Transports, a primary transporters of paper commodities in South India is expected to achieve an improvement of up to 54.7% and 21.5% efficiency in the not in-transit and in-transit operations, respectively, of its rental trucks and up to 37.4% and 32.3% efficiency improvement in the not in-transit and in-transit operations of its own company trucks. Additionally, Chandra Transports is also expecting to achieve up to 33% of reduction in the CO2 emissions in some of its distribution and logistic processes

Compelling results are additionally being achieved in an emergency medical context where lives are at risk. Lean logistics initiatives with Mexico’s Red Cross saw average ambulance response times fall from 41.7 to 16.4 minutes thereby improving ambulance turnaround times and creating capacity for additional shifts.

Funders

Researchers

A container ship on a waterway

Centre for Supply Chain Improvement

The Centre for Supply Chain Improvement is a centre of excellence for operations and supply chain management in advanced research and industry partnerships.

Find out more about our Centre for Supply Chain ImprovementFind out more about our Centre for Supply Chain Improvement