The purpose of this paper is to establish a scale for the measurement of proactive improvement, in general, and then more specifically in terms of cost‐ and service‐focused improvement in logistics outsourcing arrangements.
Upon completing a review of the literature, scale development is completed in five phases. The first two phases focus on item generation and qualitative validation. The third phase (quantitative pilot testing) involves a sample of 220 logistics managers in Germany. The fourth phase replicates these findings with a sample of 250 US logistics managers. The final phase differentiates the general scale tested and replicated in the previous two phases by assessing the merit of cost‐ and service‐focused scales adapted from the general scale among a separate sample of 298 logistics managers in Germany.
After eliminating one measurement item, the German and US samples provide support for a four‐item scale to measure general proactive improvement. Subsequent analysis with a separate sample finds strong support for scales that are adapted to capture the distinct aspects of cost‐ and service‐focused improvement.
Research indicates that one of the key differentiators in the success of logistics outsourcing relationships is the service provider's ability to achieve proactive improvement, or customer‐oriented ex post adaptations that benefit the customer after the relationship's formation. Little empirical research has been conducted to assess the influence and merit of such improvements. The establishment of valid scales is an important initial step towards understanding the value and nature of proactive improvement in logistics outsourcing relationships.
Future research using the established scales should help provide practitioners with a better understanding of the value and nature of proactive improvement in logistics outsourcing relationships.
The paper employs a thorough multi‐phase/multi‐sample approach across two distinct countries to devise a scale for an important construct in logistics outsourcing research.
Marcus Wallenburg, C., Knemeyer, A., Goldsby, T. and Cahill, D. (2010), "Developing a scale for proactive improvement within logistics outsourcing relationships", International Journal of Logistics Management, The, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 5-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/09574091011042151Download as .RIS
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