Fouth-Party Logistics: A study on modern logistics

The business environment has changed tremendously in the last two decades. Corporations have been forced to realign their global strategies and in order to cut costs, they started to transfer activities which were previously performed in-house to the market (e.g. IT, manufacturing or logistics) focusing instead on their core competencies. Nowadays companies outsource several of their logistics activities to so-called third-party logistics (3PL) companies and thus from being centralized, vertically integrated and with single-sited manufacturing facilities, enterprises have their network of resources globally dispersed.As a result corporate management has realized that the competitive vehicle is no longer the individual firm, with its own resources and competencies. Instead, in order to cope with shorter product life cycles and ever more demanding customers, both on industrial and consumer markets, individual firms need to strategically become part of ‘extended enterprises’; that is, networks of specialist providers of resources and competencies.However, because the capabilities to manage the entire network do not exist in any one organization, a new business organization was needed to provide the strategic knowledge and competence that will enable the complete integration of the supply chain. This new sort of firm, with core competencies on logistics processes and supply chain IT integration, besides offering consulting services on implementation and development of logistics and supply chain solutions, manages through the use of logistics control towers “the best of breed” 3PL specialists, integrating the end-to-end supply chain so that superior customer value is delivered in the most cost effective way. But how does the use of a supply chain integrator help the supply chain as a whole to achieve competitive advantages that enhance end-customer service? This paper aims to answer the above question. I felt that in order to be able to do that the most appropriate research strategy would be a qualitative study. Hence, a multi-case study was performed on three Swedish companies which differentiate themselves from the more traditional third-party logistics providers…

Contents

1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 PROBLEM BACKGROUND
1.1.1 Moving towards a new organizational paradigm
1.2 RESEARCH SUBJECT CHOICE
1.2.1 Research Question
1.2.2 Research Purpose
1.3 DISPOSITION
2 THEORETICAL METHOD
2.1 PRECONCEPTIONS
2.2 VIEWS OF KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY
2.2.1 Epistemology
2.2.2 Ontology
2.3 SIENTIFIC APPROACH
2.4 SECONDARY SOURCES
3 THEORY
3.1 ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN
3.1.1 The building blocks of organizational design
3.1.2 Combining Logistics, Strategy and Structure
3.1.2.1 Strategy
3.1.2.2 Structure
3.1.2.3 Structure – Network organization
3.1.3 Strategic blueprints of the firm
3.1.3.1 Market-based view
3.1.3.2 Resource-based & Core-competencies view
3.2 THE VALUE CHAIN – SHIFTING THE BOUNDARIES (OUTSOURCING / DECONSTRUCTION/ DISINTERMEDIATION)
3.3 ENTERPRISE LOGISTICS INTEGRATION
3.3.1 Logistics & Supply Chain Management Theory
3.3.2 The supply chain integrator
3.3.3 Information and the synchronous supply chain
3.4 LOGISTICS AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES
3.4.1 Delivering customer value
3.4.2 Customer service objectives and priorities
3.5 THE BULLWHIP EFFECT
3.6 LOGISTICS AND THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT
4 PRACTICAL METHOD
4.1 INITIAL STEPS
4.2 THE SELECTION OF SITES
4.3 METHOD OF COLLECTING DATA
4.4 METHOD OF ANALYZING DATA
4.4.1 Interview guide
4.4.2 Presentation of the interviews
4.5 EVALUATING THE RESEARCH
5 EMPIRICAL DATA
5.1 SONAT
5.1.1 The single firm
5.1.2 Enterprise Logistics Integration
5.1.3 Logistics & Competitive advantage
5.2 UAE LOGISTICS
5.2.1 The single firm
5.2.2 Enterprise Logistics Integration
5.2.3 Logistics & Competitive advantage
5.3 VOLVO LOGISTICS
5.3.1 The single firm
5.3.2 Enterprise Logistics Integration
5.3.3 Logistics & Competitive advantage
6 ANALYSIS & DISCUSSION
6.1 THEME 1 – THE SINGLE FIRM
6.1.1 Sonat
6.1.2 UAE Logistics
6.1.3 Volvo Logistics
6.1.4 Theme discussion
6.2 THEME 2 – ENTERPRISE LOGISTICS INTEGRATION
6.2.1 Sonat
6.2.2 UAE Logistics
6.2.3 Volvo Logistics
6.2.4 Theme discussion
6.3 THEME 3 – LOGISTICS AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES
7 CONCLUSIONS
8 APPENDICES
8.1 APPENDIX 1 – THE 4PL CONCEPT (ACCENTURE)
8.2 APPENDIX 2 – STRUCTURAL CONFIGURATIONS
8.3 APPENDIX 3 – VOLVO GROUP ORGANIZATION CHART (COURTESY OF VOLVO LOGISTICS)
8.4 APPENDIX 4 – INTERVIEW GUIDE
8.5 APPENDIX 5 – GRAPHIC REPRESENTATION OF IT INTEGRATION WITH USE OF AN LCT (OWN CREATION)
9 REFERENCE LIST
9.1 ARTICLES
9.2 BOOKS
9.3 INTERNET

Author: Braganca, Paulo

Source: Umea University

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Fouth-Party Logistics: A study on modern logistics