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Logistics Service Providers Going Green: A Framework for Developing Green Service Offerings
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Environmental impact has increasingly become a “buzzword” and an important topic. This topic has been integrated into the agenda of many companies worldwide, and this dissertation focuses on the transportation and logistics industry. Environmental concerns have gained increased attention among many logistic service providers (LSPs) due to the environmental impact from their operations, and they have been identified of having a significant role in reducing the environmental burden in the supply chain. An environmental approach of the LSPs' business has also been identified as a way to achieve competitive advantage and provide market opportunities where the development and marketing of new products and services associated with green issues are suggested as important aspects for future growth. However, considering the scarcity of research regarding this topic, a study that reveals potential aspects in the development of green service offerings can bridge the knowledge gap and provide opportunities for further research within this field. The purpose of this dissertation is therefore to develop and explain a framework for LSPs’ development of green service offerings. The purpose is addressed by first investigating LSPs' service development from a general perspective in order to, in a second stage, reach a better understanding of the implications when integrating green aspects in LSPs' service development efforts.

Theoretically, this dissertation departed from service marketing literature or more specifically new service development (NSD) research. This resulted in a conceptual framework including key dimensions and aspects regarding a company’s NSD efforts and activities. From this foundation, the theoretical framework was developed further based on research regarding LSPs' service development and innovation management. Finally the framework was extended with green logistics literature as well as research regarding LSPs' green development and influences on their service offerings.

Empirically, this research is mainly based on qualitative data from an in-depth case study on a large LSP active on the Swedish market. In addition, empirical data from a multiple case study and a questionnaire survey conducted for the Licentiate thesis were used in order to enrich the analysis regarding the LSPs' development of green service offerings. The analysis followed a stepwise approach where literature and empirical data were analysed.

One of the main results in this dissertation is the framework for LSPs' new service development, consisting of five dimensions: NSD culture, NSD strategy, NSD process focus, IT use and expertise and NSD knowledge and skills. The NSD framework presents a holistic view of the LSPs’ NSD efforts by revealing different dimensions, their roles and relations to each other as well as the pre-requisites to take into consideration in the development of new services. Thus, the different NSD dimensions should not solely be viewed as isolated dimensions; instead, there is a need for LSPs to have a holistic view and understanding of the NSD activities’ reciprocity.

Another main result concerns the adaption of the NSD framework to green service development. The results reveal some pre-requisites relevant for LSPs to consider in their efforts to develop green service offerings and are summarised in the following main dimensions:

  • Creating green awareness in the NSD culture – encourage participation regarding green initiatives within the organisation, defining a “common picture” in order to facilitate collaboration efforts and knowledge exchange concerning green expertise. The support from top management was also identified of having an influencing impact. Defining the strategic approach of green service offerings – integrate a green concern in the overall business strategy and to define the strategic role and incentives for developing green service offerings. The results also suggest LSPs to adapt green NSD efforts to different business contexts and market possibilities to match existing resources and skills with customers’ green requirements, and to perform a segmentation of customers’ environmental work and ambitions to increase the understanding of customers’ green attitudes and requirements.
  • Create processes and routines to facilitate spreading of green knowledge – highlights the relevance of a process focus for spreading green knowledge both from an external and internal perspective. It involves e.g. adoption of certifications, procedures for environmental calculations and documentation as well as routines to spread and integrate green knowledge among employees as well as identification of customers’ green requirements.
  • Improve green internal knowledge and build green collaborations – provide training and education to increase the level of green awareness and knowledge among employees as well as customers and strive for collaboration efforts both internally and externally to utilise each other’s knowledge and resources towards the development of green service offerings.
  • Increase transparency of green information both internally and externally – improve green information transparency to build both internal and external trust and increase possibilities to effectively use other actors’ knowledge and resources to develop environmental improvements in the supply chain. Integration of IT expertise and synchronisations of IT systems to facilitate and support environmental work and development of green service offerings.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. , 202 plus the Licentiate Thesis, ppendix 1: Interview Guide, Appendix 2: Case Report and Appendix 3: The Questionnaire p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Management and Economics. Dissertations, ISSN 0347-8920 ; 1600
Keyword [en]
Logistics service providers, new service development, framework, green service offerings, environmental work
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106783DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-106783ISBN: 978-91-7519-315-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-106783DiVA: diva2:718842
Public defence
2014-06-10, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-22 Created: 2014-05-22 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Logistics Service Providers going green: insights from the Swedish market
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Logistics Service Providers going green: insights from the Swedish market
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During recent years pressures on the logistics and transport industry to involve and engage more in environmental work have increased. Governmental awareness of environmental impact has led to an increased pressure on the logistics and transport industry to reduce the emissions incurred by their operations. In addition, customers have become more interested and demanding regarding green initiatives in their purchasing of transport services. Although logistics service providers (LSPs) are becoming more aware of environmental problems, the development of green initiatives in the logistics and transport industry is described in the literature as being in its infancy phase. Considering the scarcity of studies on LSPs’ green initiatives, a study that reveals potential factors influencing the adoption of green initiatives may be helpful to fill the knowledge gap and provide opportunities for further research in this field.

The purpose of this licentiate thesis is therefore to describe how different factors can affect the adoption of green initiatives among LSPs, and how the adoption of green initiatives can be reflected in the service offering. This includes identifying different kinds of triggers, drivers and barriers, as well as firm characteristics and describing how these factors can affect the adoption of green initiatives. Furthermore, ways in which the adoption of green initiatives can be reflected in the service offering are exemplified in order to answer the second part of the purpose.

The theoretical base in this licentiate thesis can be linked to general environmental logistics literature, sustainable service, and product development research. The research in this study is in its nature explorative and empirical data have been obtained from a cross case study of six companies, and a survey study investigating LSPs active on the Swedish market.

Based on the findings from the analysis, the LSPs studied have commenced to adopt green initiatives since they experience the pressure to adapt to future expectations and, understand the consequences. This will enable the LSPs to respond to the increasing and more global competition. Although increased competiveness seems to act as a trigger, the role of competitors as a driver affecting the adoption of green initiatives among LSPs are neither stressed in the case study nor singled out in the survey study as a significant driver. Increased, interest from customers and decisions from top management are both highlighted as triggers for LSPs to start adopting green initiatives, in the literature as well as among the LSPs studied.

The role of customers and top management also seem to be prominent drivers in the further green development. By adopting green initiatives, LSPs strive to win new customers and there is also a desire to improve customer relationships. Furthermore, the engagement and support from top management can be crucial for how successfully the adoption of green initiatives is integrated into the company and received by the employees. In addition, among the LSPs studied, their employees can be considered as an essential driver and a resource when adopting green initiatives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. 82 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1518
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73991 (URN)LiU-TEK-LIC- 2012:03 (Local ID)978-91-7519-970-2 (ISBN)LiU-TEK-LIC- 2012:03 (Archive number)LiU-TEK-LIC- 2012:03 (OAI)
Presentation
2012-01-27, Rum 3B:955, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-01-18 Created: 2012-01-18 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved
2. Developing sustainable logistics services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing sustainable logistics services
2010 (English)In: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual NOFOMA Conference : Logistics and Supply Chain Management in a Globalised Economy / [ed] Jan Stentoft Arlbjørn, Kolding, Danmark, 2010, 985-1000 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose of this paper: Logistics companies need to take account of environmental aspects into their services to strengthen their position on the market and meet the increased demands from the society. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present a framework for how to consider sustainability in the development of logistics services. The paper also aims at developing a research agenda for further research needs regarding how logistics companies can include the environmental aspect in their service offerings.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on a literature review that has its origin in sustainable service and product development. This is compared with literature about development of offerings for logistics companies. The results from the literature studies are then analyzed in order to identify a research agenda and to present a framework containing aspects of sustainable service offerings of relevance from a logistics company perspective.

Findings: The paper suggests how logistics service offerings can be enhanced through sustainable service and product development literature. A framework consisting of aspects to address in the development of sustainable offering for logistics firms is presented.

Research limitations/implications: The findings should be considered as conceptual, and provides a basis for further empirical based research

Practical implications: The results provide a basis for logistics companies, to build upon in their continuing efforts to develop and enhance more sustainable services to their customers.

What is original/value of paper: A large amount of literature can be found concerning sustainable development of offerings. However, literature concerning the development of sustainable services is not that available and there is a large lack regarding the connection to logistics companies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kolding, Danmark: , 2010
Keyword
Environmental logistics, Service offering, Sustainability, Literature review, Logistics Service
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-62685 (URN)978-87-92471-05-5 (ISBN)
Conference
22nd NOFOMA Conference, Logistics and Supply Chain Management in a Globalised Economy, June 10-11, Kolding, Denmark
Available from: 2010-12-02 Created: 2010-12-02 Last updated: 2014-05-22Bibliographically approved
3. Green Initiatives in the Transport and Logistics Service Industry: An Exploratory Case Study of Logistics Service Providers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Green Initiatives in the Transport and Logistics Service Industry: An Exploratory Case Study of Logistics Service Providers
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The impact of business operations on the natural environment is an area in which societies and governments have become more proactive. This specifically affects logistics service providers (LSPs) where the core business has a significant environmental impact. That is why transport and logistics companies are increasingly being asked to respond to the challenges of green issues by implementing more environmentally sustainable strategies. Hence environmental research specific to LSPs has been neglected despite the fact that these companies have assumed a more critical role in the wider supply chain. In order to generate more structured knowledge and understanding of the green initiatives undertaken by LSPs, this paper explores the level of awareness and actual initiatives undertaken, as well as the drivers and barriers these companies encounter in this area today. This has been done through a multiple case study approach investigating a sample of LSPs operating in Sweden, Italy and Ireland. The results of the case study identify the environmental attitude of LSPs and how they are responding to the green pressures on their businesses. Managerial and research implications – in particular, a set a propositions are derived from the study.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73989 (URN)
Available from: 2012-01-18 Created: 2012-01-18 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved
4. Understanding efficiencies behind logistics service providers' green offerings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding efficiencies behind logistics service providers' green offerings
2013 (English)In: Management Research Review, ISSN 2040-8269, E-ISSN 2040-8277, Vol. 36, no 3, 216-238 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – Awareness of environmental impacts on society is increasing among companies. In order to turn environmental problems into business opportunities, many companies are beginning to consider how environmental, or green aspects can be integrated into their service offerings. This opportunity can be of specific interest to logistics service providers, whose core business is an environmental impact in itself. The purpose of this article is to indicate where green-labelled logistics service providers are positioned today in their development, and to seek the underlying rationale in development of green service offerings.

Design/methodology/approach – This article takes a logistics service provider's perspective and is based on a multiple case study of six companies. The analysis is based on cross-case analysis, and empirical, as well as theoretical, pattern matching.

Findings – The attitude towards a green approach differs among the case companies: while some are working towards a green integration throughout the entire business, others offer green alternatives to the original service offering. The results point to possible explanations for these differences, and include differences in range of service offerings, size, and to different management principles for green aspects.

Practical implications – The article can inspire logistics service providers in their continuing work to integrate green initiatives into the company. By introducing alternative green approaches in the development of service offerings, logistics service providers can match their own business and context with alternative rationales.

Originality/value – While most of the green logistics research focuses on the logistics system's characteristics, this article offers initial insights into how the integration of green aspects into logistics services can impact logistics service providers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2013
Keyword
Green logistic service offering, logistics service providers, new service development, pattern matching.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73990 (URN)10.1108/01409171311306382 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-04-08 Created: 2012-01-18 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. The Challenge andAdoption of Green Initiatives for Transport and Logistics Service Providers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Challenge andAdoption of Green Initiatives for Transport and Logistics Service Providers
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 16th Annual Logistics Research Network Conference: Smarter Logistics: Innovation for Efficiency, Performance and Austerity / [ed] Ben Waterson, 2011, 1-10 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The role of logistics service providers (LSPs) has started to change both when it comes to content and complexity and LSPs have been identified to have potential to become more value-adding actors in supply chains. This applies when LSPs begin to transform their operations and strategy to become more effective from a green perspective. In response, the purpose of this paper is to develop a base for further investigations of green initiatives carried out by LSPs and analyse if the green initiatives implemented are dependent on firm characteristics of the LSPs, as well as drivers and barriers experienced.

Research approach: A questionnaire survey has been launched and it is still ongoing. The survey investigates a sample of LSPs operating on the Swedish and the Italian market. The questionnaire is derived from the researchers’ earlier research projects based on case studies and literature reviews. Data and information collected through the questionnaire allow identifying current and future green initiatives, influencing factors (drivers and barriers) and firm characteristics. The analysis suggests how these dimensions depend on each other.

Findings and Originality: The survey is still ongoing and the paper will present the first results of the research. The first results discern different green initiatives and the type of drivers and barriers affecting these companies. Prior research has focused on the perspective of the buyer of green logistics services and little attention has been paid to the role of green initiatives in the strategy of LSPs, their impact on customer relationship and performance, the role of ICT as well as drivers and barriers affecting such initiatives.

Research impact: The expected contribution of this paper is to illustrate and give a deeper knowledge of how LSPs respond to changing market conditions when it comes to green pressures from society. This study may provide a broad base for further research on LSPs’ continued strategy development and adaption to future green requirements both from customers and government.

Practical impact: The paper will describe the way LSPs have started to adopt and manage green initiatives into their operations. Furthermore, the study will also provide a deeper understanding among practitioners of how logistics green services can be approached and also what drives and inhibits that process. 

National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73681 (URN)978-1-904564-36-2 (ISBN)
Conference
The 16th Annual LRN Conference 7-9 September, Southampton, United Kingdom, 2011
Available from: 2012-01-13 Created: 2012-01-11 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved

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