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Combining vertical and horizontal collaboration for transport optimisation

Robert Mason (Lean Enterprise Research Centre and Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (CU‐IMRC), Cardiff University, UK)
Chandra Lalwani (Business School, The University of Hull, Hull, UK)
Roger Boughton (MultiServ. Logistics, Willenhall, UK)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 8 May 2007




The purpose of this paper is to focuss on customer driven supply chains and what this means for the management of freight transport, a key process in the supply chain as it acts as a physical link between customers and suppliers. It aims to assess whether some of the new collaborative models for transport management are delivering better optimised solutions.


The paper is based on a multi‐dimensional methodological approach, which includes empirical, model building, opinion and archival evidence. Much of the thinking and findings in this paper have been derived from a series of quasi‐delphi discussion sessions with logistics industry experts from three sectors, steel, grocery and construction and experienced academics in the fields of logistics and supply chain management.


The paper sets out to argue that new innovative solutions are emerging for better transport optimisation, that exploit the competitive power of collaboration, both vertically with supply chain partners and horizontally with other logistics service providers (LSPs).

Research limitations/implications

The research was largely focused on the road freight transport industry in the UK and Europe. However, it is felt that similar thinking can be deployed in other settings for alternative transport modes and other geographical regions. From an academic perspective the paper contributes to the notion that supply chain management as well as focussing on vertical coordination and process integration also needs to incorporate the potential considerable power of horizontal collaboration.


In particular it is original in that it highlights how important it is to combine vertical collaboration with horizontal collaboration if better optimised transport solutions are to be achieved. This is of considerable value and interest both to practitioner and academic communities.



Mason, R., Lalwani, C. and Boughton, R. (2007), "Combining vertical and horizontal collaboration for transport optimisation", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 187-199.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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