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Development of lean supply chains: a case study of the Catalan pork sector

Catalina Perez (University of Girona, Girona, Spain)
Rodolfo de Castro (University of Girona, Girona, Spain)
David Simons (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Gerusa Gimenez (University of Girona, Girona, Spain)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 26 January 2010




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the characteristics and the performance of the Catalan pork supply chain, with the objective to assess whether this operates according to the parameters of a lean chain. Moreover there is a tentative lean supply chain model contribution.


To test lean approaches in the Catalan pork supply chain we have used case research methodology. The research strategy started with a conceptual model proposal as a tool to carry out the assessment. The research went on a multiple case studies in a large‐scale sample of the population and developed a semi‐structured interview as a basic instrument to apply it.


The article shows the pork sector has actively adopted the productive techniques associated with lean management. The structure of the specific chain in the Catalan pork sector is suitable to implement lean supply chain strategies according to the presented model.

Research limitations/implications

This paper should be of value to researchers in this area as it contributes in a tentative generic lean model for the pork sector. Further research to affirm the cultural support for lean collaboration is recommended as a precursor to the application of the five lean principles.

Practical implications

It provides empirical evidence from a significant pork producing region indicating that the model proposed has applicability. These findings support industry wide business associations' efforts to initiate actions which will reinforce these techniques and improve the competitiveness of the sector.


A review of this literature ascertained that there were no existing published works centred on the study of the pork supply chain development in Spain and particularly nothing focussed on the applicability of the “lean” discipline in this area. This gap in research along with the importance of the pork sector at national and regional levels demonstrates the necessity and importance of the study.



Perez, C., de Castro, R., Simons, D. and Gimenez, G. (2010), "Development of lean supply chains: a case study of the Catalan pork sector", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 55-68.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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