This case looks at the challenges of CEVA Logistics, a Netherlands-headquartered global logistics company, in remaining true to its lean management principles and sustainability commitments through worker-centric operations when trying to meet an important new customer’s demanding requirements (Case A) and when trying to attract and retain qualified employees in an unfavourable business environment (Case B).

The case has two sub-cases: Case A focuses on CEVA’s dilemma of choosing between a directive and a transformational leadership approach, and Case B focuses on CEVA’s struggle to increase its labour force at a time when the logistics industry was undergoing transition due to the changing economic and political situation and the rising trend of automation.

The case is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) case series, developed by Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University. With a focus on SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), this case is also closely related to SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). Video learning materials and other resources about these SDGs are available at

1. Critically evaluate the value of human capital in the age of automation; and

2. Creatively design a solution for a traditionally labour-intensive industry that is facing the challenge of rising labour costs and increasing automation.

This case is targeted at Master students (MSc or MBA) and executive students of supply chain management, operations management, logistics, organisational behaviour, leadership, or human resources management. It can also be used for teaching sustainability and general strategic management.

  • Warehousing;logistics; employees; labour; migrants; automation; robotic; HR;motivation; safety; engagement; operation; efficiency; leanmanagement; Uniqlo;Japan; Europe; globa

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