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Lean Service: A literature analysis and classification

Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 359-380
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Total Quality Management & Business Excellence
Volym: 23
Nummer: 3-4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Routledge


The service sector in the USA accounts for 80% of gross domestic product. However, in spite of the pivotal role of the service sector in the US economy and its impact on daily life, the level of productivity in this sector has been much lower than that of the manufacturing area. This situation has been in existence for some time, but in the current context, there are growing external pressures to reduce costs, increase flexibility, improve quality and cut down on lead times. Companies are thus turning their attention to the manufacturing sector with the aim of implementing their techniques and methods which encourage a 'lean' approach. The purpose of this article is to review the extant literature on the subject that goes under the umbrella-title of 'Lean Service', analyse it, classify it into preliminary categories and suggest possible gaps in the research literature from the point of view of researchers and practitioners. The paper systematically categorises the published literature where the term Lean Service appears, including the early publications on the subject. Then, the categories are revised and analysed methodically. The research found that the literature referring to Lean Service can vary widely from the exploration of the meaning of the concept, its applications (case studies), the setting up of theoretical concepts (models) to the generation of new definitions. Within each category, certain gaps have been identified and possible future lines of research which clarify and distinguish the concept of Lean Service. In addition, within the category of 'applications', sub-categories have been identified such as banks and financial institutions, the health sector, education, the airline industry, and hotels and restaurants. The paper aspires to be of interest as much to researchers as to professionals in the service industry, whether they have middle management responsibilities, or are service managers, and also to all those employees whose work is related to this sector, with the object of understanding the management of service organisations from the Lean Service perspective.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Lean Thinking
  • Lean Service
  • literature review
  • analysis
  • classification


  • ISSN: 1478-3363

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