Sweating the Assets: Asset Leanness and Financial Performance in the Motor Carrier Industry

The motor carrier industry has adopted lean management practices in recent years, after their introduction in the automotive manufacturing industry. After reviewing various theories on the relationship between leanness and performance in general, this study specifically investigates the link between asset leanness and financial performance. The Empirical Leanness Indicator (ELI) developed by Eroglu and Hofer was used to assess a carrier’s asset leanness by comparing its assets to a size-adjusted industry benchmark. Both overall asset leanness and specific subgroups of motor carrier assets, including trailers and tractors, were assessed. The authors also used a series of semistructured interviews with industry senior executives and senior financial analysts to place the statistical results into context. The results showed a U-shaped relationship between asset leanness and performance, contrary to expectations of an inverted U-shaped relationship. Thus, it is concluded that both asset-light and asset-heavy strategies are associated with superior performance, depending on how a carrier manages its resources. In addition, the benefits of leanness vary by asset type, such as trailers and tractors.


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  • Accession Number: 01689548
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 30 2018 9:49AM