The purpose of this study is to analyse the extent of the integration between manufacturers and third party logistics (TPL) providers at present and how the integration is expected to develop in the near future. The focus is on studying what tasks are part of the cooperation, what information and communications technology (ICT) tools are used for support, and what types of services are supplied and are expected to be supplied by TPL providers in the future.
A multiple case study of seven manufacturers and TPL providers is conducted. As the basis for the study a literature review is presented focusing on supply chain management and TPL provider integration as well as operationalisation of the integration concept. A framework is chosen for developing a detailed interview guide.
Cooperation is primarily found in sub‐processes of three out of the eight business processes studied. Further integration in the same processes is expected, based on ICT tools and with a focus on cost. ICT competences are primarily seen as a qualifier not a differentiator. Because the future TPL industry is expected to be characterised by more standardised services, more segmented markets for the various services and more intense competition, the manufacturers do not expect increased dependence on the TPL providers.
Managerial and behavioural components are not part of this study and their effect on integration will require further investigation.
From a supply chain management perspective, the study sheds light on a rarely explored area concerning the integration between manufacturers and TPL providers and its future development.
Mortensen, O. and Lemoine, O.W. (2008), "Integration between manufacturers and third party logistics providers?", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 331-359. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570810861552
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