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Supply chain capabilities for facilitating the internationalisation of retailers: a multiple case study of three Swedish retail companies
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8969-9396
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8969-9396
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2019 (English)In: International Review of Retail Distribution & Consumer Research, ISSN 0959-3969, E-ISSN 1466-4402, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 321-339Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Market-oriented aspects of retail internationalisation have received a lot of research attention since the 1990s. However, beyond these aspects lies also supply-chain oriented capabilities that are necessary for retailers to successfully internationalise into foreign sales markets. By using a perspective based on resource-based theories, this paper explores supply-chain oriented capabilities that facilitate retail internationalisation. The research is based on a multiple case study of three Swedish retailers. Through the perspective of research based theories, specifically capabilities, the empirical data is studied in a single-case as well as a cross-case analysis. Findings reveal three supply chain-oriented capability categories (leadership capability, integration capability and learning capability) of importance for retail internationalisation. Resources necessary for the capabilities are to be found internally at the retailer, but also externally at other firms. This research adds to the market-oriented knowledge on retail internationalisation by adding a supply-chain oriented perspective. Further, it provides an understanding of the early phases of retail internationalisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019. Vol. 29, no 3, p. 321-339
Keywords [en]
Supply-chain capabilities, retail internationalisation, resource-based theories (RBT), multiple case study, foreign establishment
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-158603DOI: 10.1080/09593969.2019.1598467ISI: 000470201900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-158603DiVA, id: diva2:1334937
Available from: 2019-07-03 Created: 2019-07-03 Last updated: 2019-08-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Supporting Role of Logistics during the Early Stage of Retail Internationalisation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Supporting Role of Logistics during the Early Stage of Retail Internationalisation
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Retail internationalisation refers to the establishment of retailers into foreign sales markets and is an important success factor for many retail chains. Logistics has been acknowledged as an important prerequisite and key component of retail internationalisation, enabling physical distribution to new foreign markets as well as ensuring customer satisfaction in terms of on-time delivery and product availability. Despite the recognition of logistics, logistics managers struggle to adapt their logistics organisation and operations in order to efficiently and effectively support retail internationalisation due to the complexity of operating in multiple markets. Previous research seldom mentions how logistics supports retail internationalisation, especially when retail chains are at the beginning of their retail-internationalisation journey. By exploring the supporting role of logistics during the early stage of retail internationalisation, retailers can better understand how logistics organisation and operations can be organised in order to successfully expand into foreign sales markets. Therefore, the purpose of this licentiate thesis is to:

Explore the supporting role of logistics during the early stage of retail internationalisation.

This licentiate thesis is based on an abductive, multiple-case-study approach that combines empirical data with literature in an iterative process in order to explore the supporting role of logistics during the early stage of retail internationalisation. The selected case companies were three large-sized Swedish retail chains that have recently established themselves into nearby foreign sales markets.

The findings of this licentiate thesis suggest that logistics plays both a reactive and a proactive supporting role during the early stage of retail internationalisation. The reactive supporting role refers to logistics that adapts to predetermined conditions set by the retail company’s top management team. As a reactive supporter, the logistics organisation is typically involved at an operational level and scales up its logistics operations in order to supply multiple markets. Beyond its reactive role, logistics can also play a proactive supporting role. This refers to its involvement at a strategic level within the retail company where it can influence the conditions of retail internationalisation. When logistics is involved more proactively, its operations can become better aligned with the other company operations involved in retail internationalisation. Furthermore, proactive logistics support enables more efficient and effective logistics that can better cope with increased complexity as well as more effectively keeping track of logistics costs. In addition to these findings, the importance of top management has been identified as a key aspect of proactive logistics support. More specifically, logistics competence within the top management team enables logistics to be prioritised at a strategic level and to be better integrated during retail internationalisation, including during individual establishments into new markets. The findings also suggest that the importance of logistics increases over time during retail internationalisation. The more markets the retailer enters, the more important efficient logistics becomes in order to deal with both complexity and logistics costs. By involving proactive logistics from the start of retail internationalisation, retail chains can more efficiently and effectively establish into and operate within foreign sales markets, which in turn supports a sustainable retail internationalisation.

One of the main academic contributions of this licentiate thesis has been to study logistics in the specific context of retail internationalisation, which has previously not been researched in any great detail. In addition, logistics has often been studied as a static aspect, but in this thesis it is studied from a dynamic perspective in order to understand how its supporting role changes over time during the early stage of retail internationalisation. Another important contribution is that the role of logistics has been studied from both a strategic and an operational level, as previous research has mostly focused on the strategic level of logistics related to retail internationalisation. In terms of practical contributions, this licentiate thesis clarifies the logistics characteristics and supply-chain capabilities that support the early stage of retail internationalisation. This licentiate thesis can also help practitioners to better prepare their logistics organisation and logistics operations for a future retail internationalisation, as well as helping them to avoid making logistical mistakes during the early stage of retail internationalisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2019. p. 80
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Licentiate Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1834
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-155027 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-155027 (DOI)9789176851081 (ISBN)
Presentation
2019-03-29, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-03-08 Created: 2019-03-08 Last updated: 2019-07-05Bibliographically approved

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