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Matches and Gaps in the Green Logistics market
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Sustainable Logistics)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8969-9396
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Sustainable Logistics)
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, ISSN 0960-0035, Vol. 42, no 6, 562-583 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The management of interfaces is central in supply chain management (SCM) and logistics. An important part of SCM is coordination and collaboration with different partners such as suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers and customers (CSCMP, 2010). Collaboration between parties in the supply chain is generally believed to decrease costs and increase efficiency as well as service. Moreover, the success of a firm is dependent on its managerial ability to integrate and coordinate the business relationships among the supply chain members (Lambert and Cooper, 2000). The supply chain linkage ought to be so tight that separate organizational units share the same purpose and suppliers and customers help each other to achieve mutually beneficial objectives (Seth et al., 2006).

In the SCM literature interfaces seldom include the logistics service provider (hereafter labelled LSP). Instead, most interfaces discussed are those between a shipper and the receiver of the goods (Skjoett-Larsen et al., 2003; Stefanson, 2006). One reason for this could be that logistics firms are the least integrated link in supply chains (Lemoine and Skjoett-larsen, 2004) or that, as noted by Fabbe-Costes et al. (2009), LSPs seem to be the forgotten actors of supply chain integration. Furthermore, LSPs are often merely seen as actors that supports other members of the supply chain, providing resources, knowledge, utilities or assets for the primary members (Spens and Bask, 2002). Several logistics related trends, such as the shift towards outsourcing and increased globalisation, increase the need for strong relationships between LSPs and supplychains (Seth et al., 2006).

Most of the research conducted on LSPs applies either a shipper or an LSP perspective, instead of a dyad perspective. Literature in the context of service quality in supply chains also commonly considers only one directional view (Seth et al., 2006). Knemeyer and Murphy (2005) mean that there is a need to simultaneously consider both shipper and LSP perspectives in order to decrease the risk of key perceptual differences (gaps) that can negatively influence the logistics service quality.

Shippers and LSPs face an emerging and considerable challenge because of the large negative impact transports have on the natural environment and, as stated by for example the EEA (2007) and Roth and Kåberger (2002), the environmental performance of the transport sector is an increasing problem. Because of growing freight transport it is not surprising that both shippers and LSPs are pressured from different stakeholders, such as governments and customers, to lower their environmental impact from transports (McKinnon, 2003; McKinnon and Piecyk, 2009; Wolf and Seuring, 2010). This creates an opportunity for LSPs to be proactive and meet these demands by considering environmental issues in their business models and as a value adding service offering.

The correspondence between customer needs and the service offerings is essential in order to succeed with the service concept (Edvardsson, 1997). However, that does not necessarily mean that supply and demand always match. For example, Wolf and Seuring (2010) found that the LSPs seem to be ahead of their customers when it comes to environmental issues, but state this with caution and call for further research in this area. With the aim to learn more about the interface between LSPs and shippers and how environmental issues are taken into account, the purpose of this paper is:

To develop and apply a tool for the identification of matches and gaps in the interface between LSPs’ green offerings and shippers’ green demands.

There are many ways to label the actor responsible for the supply of logistics services. In this paper, the term logistics service providers (LSPs) is applied and, inspired by Fabbe-Costes et al. (2009) and Forslund (2010), includes actors such as carriers, forwarding companies, transport(ation) companies, third party logistics providers/partners and logistics service companies/providers/suppliers.

This paper is divided into five main parts. After the introduction, a literature section on the greening of the LSP-Shipper interface will be presented. This is followed by a gap section, ending with the developed gap model. Next, the survey study is explained, after which findings from the application of the model are presented. The paper ends with conclusions and future research suggestions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald , 2012. Vol. 42, no 6, 562-583 p.
Keyword [en]
Sweden, Logistics management, Environmental management, Logistics service provider, Shippers, Interface, Green logistics, Gap analysis
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68838DOI: 10.1108/09600031211250596ISI: 000314562000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-68838DiVA: diva2:421267
Projects
Konkurrenskraftiga affärsmodeller för att möta framtidens krav på hållbara logistiksystem
Available from: 2011-06-08 Created: 2011-06-08 Last updated: 2016-11-30
In thesis
1. Green Supply and Demand on the Logistics Market
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Green Supply and Demand on the Logistics Market
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A well-known concept, both in practice and in literature is the logistics market. This market is a place where shippers’ demand for logistics services meets Logistics Service Providers’ (LSPs’) supply of such services. Although this market has been given much attention in previous research, focus has been on shippers, while the LSP perspective has to a large extent been neglected. Several logistics related trends indicate that there is an increasing need for strong relationships between LSPs and supply chains, and one such trend is the “greening” of companies and supply chains. Although it is widely recognised that transports and  logistics are a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental logistics literature has only focused on the interaction between LSPs and their customers to a very limited extent. This is despite the fact that LSPs could include so-called green categories in their offerings, just as shippers could include green categories in their demands and that this interaction could in turn contribute to a decrease of greenhouse gas emissions.

The purpose of this thesis is to describe the extent to which green categories are taken into account in the logistics market and suggest explanations. This includes identifying those green categories that are relevant for the logistics market, as well as a description of matches and mismatches with regard to these green categories. The matches and mismatches are studied from both a general market perspective and a relationship perspective. Initial explanations for the matches and mismatches in the relationship perspective contribute to the final part of the purpose.

There are two basic theoretical starting-points in this thesis. Firstly, it is recognised that the logistics market is important to the purpose and different ways to view this market are therefore discussed. Secondly, general environmental logistics literature provides a basis for the research into green categories that can be offered or demanded on the logistics market. In the exploratoryresearch conducted for the thesis, the insights from literature are combined with empirical datafrom a survey, a homepage scan and four case studies of buyer-supplier relationships.

One main contribution of this thesis is the large number of green categories that are identified as relevant for LSPs and shippers on the logistics market. These green categories range from environmental management systems, vehicle technologies and CO2 reports, to reviews of sustainability reports, relationship specific green projects and general desires among shippers to decrease CO2 emissions.

A comparison of the supply of and demand for the green categories indicates that from a general market perspective, there appear to be clear mismatches between green supply and green demand. The same comparison made from a relationship perspective also indicates severalmismatches between green supply and green demand, but the buyer-supplier relationships studied show matches between green offerings and green demands to a greater extent than the market perspective does. Interestingly, the LSPs seem to include more in their offerings than the shippers appear to include in their demands for almost all mismatches in both the market perspective and the relationship perspective.

Seven propositions are made to account for the matches and mismatches between green categories in buyer-supplier relationships. Three of these propositions are related to the characteristics of those green categories that are found in the relationships. It is suggested that the tangibility level of green categories influences the occurrence of matches and mismatches in the relationships and the more tangible a green category is, the higher is the likelihood of a match between supply and demand in that relationship. The opposite is also suggested, as well as the idea that the more relationship specific green categories are, the fewer the mismatches that appear in that relationship.

The remaining four propositions relate to the potential connection between the type of relationship between LSPs and shippers and green matches and mismatches in their relationships. It is suggested that the closer a business relationship is, 1) the greater the number of green categories it has 2) the better green categories are communicated 3) the greater the number of matches compared to mismatches of green categories and 4) the higher the level of green category collaboration is.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 171 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1496
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-68843 (URN)LiU-TEK-Lic 2011:35 (Local ID)978-91-7393-137-3 (ISBN)LiU-TEK-Lic 2011:35 (Archive number)LiU-TEK-Lic 2011:35 (OAI)
Presentation
2011-05-30, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-06-08 Created: 2011-06-08 Last updated: 2016-11-30Bibliographically approved
2. Towards greener supply chains: Inclusion of environmental activities in relationships between logistics service providers and shippers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards greener supply chains: Inclusion of environmental activities in relationships between logistics service providers and shippers
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is well-recognised that companies are under pressure to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their operations. Logistics service providers (LSPs), who through their transport and logistics operations have a large negative impact on the environment, are one type of supply chain actor that is under such pressure. However, in order for LSPs to be able to lower their environmental impact sufficiently, their customers, the shippers, also need to take responsibility. This thesis takes its starting point in the relationships between LSPs and shippers and argues that in order for LSPs’ environmental activities to reach their full potential, the shippers must be included in the activities.

The purpose of this thesis is to describe and explain how supply chain actors, with a specific focus on logistics service providers and shippers, can include environmental activities in their relationships with each other. This comprises identifying those environmental activities that are relevant for relationships between LSPs and shippers, as well as describing the extent to which environmental activities are included in such relationships. By means of the theoretical perspective of power between supply chain actors, the thesis also sets out to further understand how power balances between LSPs and shippers can influence the extent to which they include environmental activities in their relationships with each other. Finally, the use of the theoretical perspective of coordination aims, through the analysis of coordination mechanisms, to shed light on how environmental activities are included in LSP-shipper relationships.

The research in this thesis has mainly descriptive and explanatory aims, although due to the novelty of research into LSPshipper relationships in an environmental context, the research process as such is mainly exploratory. Following an abductive approach, the insights from literature are combined with empirical data from two cases studies, a homepage scan, a survey and a study of city logistics projects. Most of the applied research methods take a dual perspective of relationships between supply chain actors and thus include both LSPs and shippers.

One conclusion from the research conducted for this thesis comprises the identification of environmental activities as well as a suggestion for a classification based on the activities’ role in the business between LSPs and shippers. With a starting point in the identified activities, a comparison of a market perspective and a relationship perspective of environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships indicates that LSPs are able to fulfil the requirements set by shippers and that shippers’ requirement thus are met. The research does, however, point to a passiveness among LSPs in their relationships with shippers, who in turn would like the LSPs to be more proactive.

Further, based on an analysis of power balances in LSP-shipper relationships, it is suggested that in an LSP-shipper relationship in which the shipper has a power advantage, the shipper’s environmental ambitions for logistics sets the agenda for the environmental activities in that relationship.

An analysis of coordination of environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships indicates that the mechanisms of direct supervision, which is when one actor tells the other actor in the relationship what to do, and mutual adjustment can be chosen to be used in order to include environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships. While direct supervision is suggested to be a coordination mechanism that is easy for shippers to apply, mutual adjustment appears to hold greater potential for the development of environmental activities.

Finally, these findings in combination are suggested to have implications for the coordination of environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships. More specifically, this thesis offers a categorisation of different types of LSP-shipper relationships and the involved actors’ environmental ambition. Depending on whether the environmental ambition of the LSP and shipper in a specific relationship is high or low appears to have implications for the possibility to work towards greener supply chains for each type of relationship.

Abstract [sv]

Många företag känner av pressen av agera för att minska sin miljöpåverkan. Flera företag har också insett att ett sådant agerande även har affärsmässiga fördelar. När det gäller miljöpåverkan så tillhör logistikföretagen, till stor del på grund av sina transporter, de företag som insett att något måste göras. Möjligheten för dessa företag att göra olika miljöåtgärder påverkas av varuägarna som köper logistikföretagens tjänster. Som en följd av detta blir länken mellan dessa företag – relationen – viktig för att möjliggöra förbättringar när det gäller påverkan från logistiken. Denna avhandling har som syfte att beskriva och förklara hur aktörer i försörjningskedjan, med ett speciellt fokus på relationer mellan logistikföretag och varuägare, kan inkludera miljöåtgärder i sina relationer med varandra.

För att över huvud taget kunna diskutera miljöåtgärder i relationer mellan logistikföretag och varuägare så är det viktigt att veta vad för typer av miljöåtgärder detta kan röra sig om. Första forskningsfrågan i avhandlingen behandlar detta och i avhandlingen identifieras ett antal sådana åtgärder. Det kan röra sig om relativt tekniska åtgärder så som alternativa bränslen, olika typer av fordon och energieffektiv körning, till åtgärder som handlar om styrning av logistiken, så som design av logistiksystemen, till åtgärder som är väldigt relationsspecifika som exempelvis specifika projekt eller miljögrupper.

Med avstamp i de identifierade åtgärderna analyseras sedan relationerna mellan logistikföretag och varuägare i några olika steg. En jämförelse mellan logistikföretagens och varuägarnas perspektiv på de miljöåtgärder som erbjuds, efterfrågas samt ingår i relationerna dem emellan visar att logistikföretagen ofta kan tillgodose sina kunders önskemål. Samtidigt som detta visar att varuägarnas önskemål verkar vara uppfyllda, så finns det en frustration från varuägarnas sida över att logistikföretagen inte är mer proaktiva.

En av anledningarna till detta kan vara maktbalansen mellan logistikföretag och varuägare. Resultaten i avhandlingen pekar nämligen på att varuägarna oftast har makten över logistikföretagen, vilket verkar leda till att varuägarens ambitioner gällande miljö ofta är det som sätter agendan för vilka miljöåtgärder som inkluderas i relationen mellan dessa företag.

Vidare så kan de miljöåtgärder som ingår i en relation mellan logistikföretag och varuägare koordineras på olika sätt och flera sådana tas upp i avhandlingen. Resultaten pekar även på att maktbalansen i relationerna påverkar i vilken grad miljöåtgärder inkluderas i relationer mellan logistikföretag och varuägare samt hur dessa koordineras. En matris, som bygger på logistikföretagets och varuägarens ambitioner gällande miljö för en specifik relation, sammanfattar resultaten i avhandlingen. Beroende på om denna ambition är hög eller låg för de båda aktörerna påverkar i sin tur möjligheten för varje typ av relation att arbeta mot gröna försörjningskedjor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 127 + 2 Case Reports p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1565
Keyword
Green supply chain management, inter-organisational relationships, environmental activities, logistics service providers, shippers
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102564 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-102564 (DOI)978-91-7519-440-0 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-02-07, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-12-13 Created: 2013-12-13 Last updated: 2016-11-30Bibliographically approved

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