Case Study

Maersk Line: Becoming the Toyota of shipping (A)

21 pages
May 2017
Reference: IMD-7-1822

Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company. The industry is fierce and margins low, forcing all to fight for market shares by having lowest cost in operations. In 2014, Maersk Line Operations embarked on a journey to change the game towards maintaining cost leadership forever. The cultural transformation, build on Lean principles developed by Toyota Motor Corporation for decades, aimed at developing a learning operations organisations who constantly, and with much higher speed than competitors, would be able to improve the business and drive out waste and cost.

Learning Objective

To see an example of how the hardware of Lean improvement methodologies, e.g. tools, systems, structures, need to be driven by the software part of the transformation, e.g. people, management, leadership, in order to become successful and sustainable. To be able to translate the example into own ways of doing transformation programmes and improve the success rate of the desired impact.

Operations, Lean Thinking, Excellence, Operating System, Global Standardization, Behavior
Maersk Group, Logistics and Supply Chain, Transportation
2 years (2014 – 2015)
Field Research
© 2017
Available Languages
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics