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Urban Consolidation Centres: On Relationships between Customer Needs and Services in City Logistics
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Urban Consolidation Centres (UCCs) are often conceived as an enabler to alleviate negative effects associated with distribution of goods in cities, such as traffic congestion and hazardous emissions. UCCs not only have the potential to reduce these effects but also provide alternative distribution solutions by introducing new transhipment points. Despite their potential, UCCs often fail to be self-supporting and are often dependent on subsides, which is not considered to be sustainable in the long run. In response, this thesis takes its point of departure in the two business models elements value propositions and target customers. A business model is often viewed as an enabler to generate revenue and UCCs have the potential to generate revenue by offering services to their customers, and the customers pay for the services. To understand how customers can benefit from UCCs and provide arguments why they should use these, it is important to understand the relationship between customers’ needs and the services UCCs can provide. The purpose of this thesis is to identify and describe the potential relationship between needs of UCC customers and UCC services.

The research in the thesis is both explorative and descriptive, where a first step is to identify customer needs, UCC services, and value propositions. The descriptive part is to describe them and it is also the foundation for understanding the relationship between customer needs and UCC services. Through the analysis and discussion, multiple customer needs are identified and described for seven customer groups and the UCC operator; all of which could be considered customers of UCCs. The thesis also adds to the UCC literature with three new identified UCC services: e-commerce with used products, advertisement, and registration in computer system. The outcome of the analysis also provides illustrations of how customer needs can be matched with UCC services. For the most studied customer group, receiver of goods, a total of 29 different matches were identified, which illustrates the possibilities but also the complexity of the relationships. To understand the relationship, three different types of gaps were also identified that have implications for future research.

The main contributions to research and the UCC literature in particular are enlargement of the scope of customers and the illustration of the relationships between customer needs and UCC services. The illustrations include contributions such as identifying, mapping and describing the customer needs, UCC services, and value propositions. An important first step is to understand how customer needs and UCC services can be linked, and this thesis provides examples of how this can be achieved. Viewing every stakeholder as a potential customer opens up the opportunity to fulfil their needs and the potential to generate revenue, which in turn could close the gap in the problem of non-self-supporting UCCs. Furthermore, with self-supporting UCCs, the number of freight vehicles can be reduced and this may lead to more attractive cities with less traffic congestion and lower emissions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. , p. 60
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Licentiate Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1800
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-144225DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-144225ISBN: 9789176853801 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-144225DiVA, id: diva2:1173043
Presentation
2018-01-26, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:05 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

I den tryckta versionen är det ena serienamnet felaktigt. I den elektroniska versionen är detta ändrat till korrekt: "Linköping studies in Science and Technology. Licentiate Thesis"

Available from: 2018-01-12 Created: 2018-01-11 Last updated: 2018-01-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Urban Consolidation Centre: a Literature Review, Categorisation and a Future Research Agenda
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urban Consolidation Centre: a Literature Review, Categorisation and a Future Research Agenda
2016 (English)In: LRN conference 2016: proceedings, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-131362 (URN)
Conference
Logistics Research Network Annual Conference 2016, Hull, UK, September 7-9, 2016
Projects
Affärsmodeller för citylogistik
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2016-09-15 Created: 2016-09-15 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
2. Critical factors for viable business models for urban consolidation centres
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Critical factors for viable business models for urban consolidation centres
2017 (English)In: Research in Transportation Economics, ISSN 0739-8859, E-ISSN 1875-7979, Vol. 64, p. 36-47Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Abstract Although urban consolidation centres (UCC) worldwide have improved urban freight distribution and reduced externalities, other UCC initiatives have not materialised due to problems such as for example, business model limitations. All the same, researchers have rarely described business model components relevant to city logistics. In response, the purpose of this article is to analyse critical factors for viable business models of city logistics initiatives involving UCCs. Following an extensive literature review and multiple-case study of five initiatives with UCCs, we identified seven critical factors of viable city logistics business models: the ability to scale up and down the UCC solution; an ability to continuously develop and adapt to a dynamic environment; the important entrepreneurial role of the initiator as well; the acknowledgment of society; ability to innovate new services; logistics and supply chain management competence; and the ability to take full advantage of advanced IT. All seven factors describe continuously redeveloped business models seeking to seize new and unexpected opportunities, yet also indicate that city logistics systems require local authorities and municipalities to act as initiators, enablers, and customers. The models also underscore differences between purely commercial and purely municipal city logistics initiatives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Urban logistics, Business models, Critical factors, Urban consolidation centres
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-144226 (URN)10.1016/j.retrec.2017.09.009 (DOI)
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2018-01-11 Created: 2018-01-11 Last updated: 2018-07-03
3. Urban consolidation centres: retail stores demands for UCC services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urban consolidation centres: retail stores demands for UCC services
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, ISSN 0960-0035, E-ISSN 1758-664X, Vol. 47, no 7, p. 646-662Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - Urban consolidation centres (UCCs) are often conceived to improve services in retail stores and potentially reduce costs. However, few studies have examined how retail stores perceive the services a UCC could provide. The purpose of this paper is to explore retail stores potential demands for different services that a UCC could provide in order to foster the development and implementation of UCC solutions aimed towards more economically feasible business models. Design/methodology/approach - Structured interviews were conducted with employees at 72 retail stores. Qualitative, as well as quantitative analyses, were conducted to identify the potential demands of the retail stores. Findings - The authors have provided arguments why retail stores might be interested in UCC services, and thereby potentially pay for them. Improved customer service to stores customers might not be a valid argument. The authors point to the cost aspect: stores expend resources that a UCC could provide in a more cost-efficient manner. Research limitations/implications - The findings contradict previous studies to some extent, as it indicates that a UCC may actually not enhance customer service in retail stores. Instead, the findings point to the importance of considering the potential advantages according to economies of scale that are facilitated by UCC services. Practical implications - Taking the perspective of the stores is important in order to identify arguments for why they should pay for the services provided by a UCC. Social implications - Financially viable UCC solutions are needed in order for the initiatives to be maintained and thereby provide a long-term decrease in the environmental and social footprints caused by urban freight. Originality/value - This study answers the call for research addressing retailers perspective in urban logistics, as it takes a demand-driven perspective of the development of UCC services. Furthermore, by highlighting services requested by retail stores, it can guide the financing of UCC initiatives, an aspect that has been lacking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2017
Keywords
Customer service; Business model; Urban freight; City logistics; Receivers; Urban consolidation centre; Urban distribution
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-140529 (URN)10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2017-0114 (DOI)000407286000005 ()
Conference
Annual Nordic Logistics and SCM Researchers Conference (NOFOMA)
Note

Funding Agencies|VINNOVA; Swedens Innovation Agency

Available from: 2017-09-11 Created: 2017-09-11 Last updated: 2018-01-11

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