Title: Analysing Muda under COVID-19 pandemic: a case study in a Spanish supermarket

Authors: Manuel F. Morales-Contreras; Manuel F. Suárez-Barraza; Lucía Barcos Redín

Addresses: Faculty of Business Management and Economics, ICADE, Institute for Research in Technology (IIT), ICAI School of Engineering, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 28015 Madrid, Spain ' Department of International Business Management, Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP), Puebla, Mexico ' Faculty of Business Management and Economics, ICADE, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 28015 Madrid, Spain

Abstract: Lean service aims at identifying and eliminating Muda or waste (non-value-added activities). The purpose of this paper is to answer the research questions: Which types of waste can be observed in supermarket stores during COVID-19 pandemic? How has it impacted the operational processes in stores? An exploratory case study based on structured direct observation has been conducted. A supermarket store in a Spanish mid-size city has been selected and observed for more than 30 weeks. Methods to gather data were document analysis, direct and participative observation and informal interviews with customers and employees. Seven types of Muda (defects, motion, over-processing, inventory, overproduction, transportation, and time) were identified and measured prior to COVID-19 pandemic and after the first weeks. The results show that all types of Muda increased significantly during the first four weeks after the pandemic outbreak, but they decrease afterwards when actions were implemented by the management.

Keywords: lean; service process; grocery stores; supermarket; continuous improvement; waste; Muda; COVID-19 pandemic; Spanish.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEPEE.2023.129783

International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, 2023 Vol.17 No.2, pp.256 - 281

Received: 03 Jan 2021
Accepted: 12 Nov 2021

Published online: 27 Mar 2023 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article