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Exploring the sustainable logistics innovation process
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linnaeus Univ, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Industrial management + data systems, ISSN 0263-5577, E-ISSN 1758-5783, Vol. 118, no 1, p. 204-217Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The development of more sustainable logistics calls for innovative thinking. In order to accelerate the development in the field, there is a need for increased understanding of the process behind successful implementation of sustainable logistics innovations (SLI). The purpose of this paper is to explore the SLI process, in order to identify critical factors, challenges as well as actors involved. Design/methodology/approach - A multiple-case study in six Swedish retailers and logistics service providers (LSPs), successful in SLI implementations, was conducted. Both within-case and cross-case analyses were applied. Findings - The SLI process consists of five phases. The positive relationship between formalisation and SLI success is supported. Critical activities and challenges not known from literature were found in each phase. Examples are the use of logistics and customer KPIs, quickness, developing simple concepts, using a sustainability business case template and selecting where to test SLIs. Some phases are involving many internal and external actors, while others involve few internal actors. Customers are not particularly involved, and retailers involve their LSP suppliers. Research limitations/implications - This study addresses the lack of empirical research in logistics innovation and has bridged the gap of innovation studies in other companies than in LSPs. Furthermore it has combined two developing areas, sustainable innovation and logistics innovation, into SLI. A number of critical activities and challenges, and complex patterns for actors involvement in the SLI process phases are explored as insights from particular cases; these results could be analytically generalised to theory. Practical implications - The practical implications lie in guiding managers who wish to improve sustainability and innovativeness in logistics and, consequently, business success. Knowledge from successful companies about which phases to go through in which sequence, which challenges that can be expected and who to include in the SLI process could imply that more companies focus on SLI. Social implications - Knowledge on how to include sustainability in a clear innovation process, e.g., by making strong business cases, should imply an accelerated development of sustainable logistics in society. Originality/value - This study addresses the lack of empirically-based research in logistics innovation and expands the concept to retailers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD , 2018. Vol. 118, no 1, p. 204-217
Keywords [en]
Case study; Innovation management; Innovation process; Sustainable logistics
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-145156DOI: 10.1108/IMDS-02-2017-0058ISI: 000423366900010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-145156DiVA, id: diva2:1182417
Note

Funding Agencies|Vinnova; Swedish Innovation Agency [2014-03363]

Available from: 2018-02-13 Created: 2018-02-13 Last updated: 2018-03-19

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CiteExportLink to record
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