The dynamics of lean and green logistics systems within the Durban road freight network.
Green supply chain management is a recent development that ensures sustainability within supply chain networks. Organisations are under pressure to adapt their business operations in line with the triple bottom line; this integrates environmental, societal and economic considerations. The logistics sector is not immune to these pressures. This industry has made an important contribution to economic growth and development and global institutions now emphasise the role that logistics and transportation activities play in the broader supply chain. However, eco-consciousness can erode profit margins due to the high cost of investment in green assets. Maximising value to customers and minimising cost and the impact on the environment requires a balanced strategic plan. Businesses have therefore renewed their efforts to implement lean practices that seek to minimise wastage, while retaining value added activities that contribute to a sustainable supply chain. This study examines the dynamics of lean and green logistics systems within the Durban road freight network. The aim of this study is to assist industry leaders, researchers and the broader society to understand the nature of lean and green logistics unique to logistics providers operating in Durban. This study has four objectives; firstly to understand the effects of lean logistics within the Durban road freight network, secondly to examine the dynamics of lean logistics in relation to costs; thirdly to identify the opportunities arising from the implementation of green logistics; and lastly to evaluate the relationship between lean practices and green diffusion in logistics systems. The researcher has chosen an exploratory research design to investigate the relationship between lean and green logistics. Various univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical analysis techniques are employed to analyse the data collected from 210 respondents. This study reveals several elements that arise from the implementation of lean logistics in the Durban region. This includes lean warehousing and optimum warehousing functions that are seen as a driver of lean initiatives, where JIT strategies and lean profitability feature strongly amongst these findings. Company policy and technological advances are key factors for transport optimisation for lean and green implementation. Logistics businesses could grow from strength to strength by internalising their lean practices through externalising the application of green. Sustainability is internationally acknowledged as a prerequisite for business and South Africa needs to play catch up. The recommendations suggested by the researcher will provide insight and further understanding to the logistics sector, during the implementation of both lean and green in a logistics system vastly characterised by high cost constraints.