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Performance evaluation of an online benchmarking tool for European freight transport chains

Dewan Md Zahurul Islam (NewRail, School of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Thomas H. Zunder (NewRail, School of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Ronald Jorna (Mobycon, Zwolle, The Netherlands)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 5 April 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the performance of an online benchmarking tool developed for logistics service users and providers to provide alternative service option in Europe.

Design/methodology/approach

First, conduct desktop research including but not limited to academic literature reviews on benchmarking, performance measurement and previous and current examples of online benchmarking tools in order to determine issues in the field; second, report the development process and functionalities of a benchmarking tool; third, examine the benchmarking tool through structured interviews with the users of the tool; and finally, draw conclusion as to whether the tool is effective or needs changes to make it more effective.

Findings

Six Key Performance Indicators were identified: Transport cost, Transport time, Flexibility, Reliability, Quality, Sustainability. The functionality of an online transport chain benchmarking e‐tool is detailed. The evaluation of the tool found that it is a strategic decision‐making tool; cost is most often selected as the most important indicator; the majority would not use the tool for daily planning purposes. Future needs of development were identified, including using the tool for procurement decisions, and its utility in supporting corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Research limitations/implications

The benchmarking e‐tool is developed for the 27 EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland. Thus, the research findings are primarily applicable for these countries and may not be applicable for other countries.

Practical implications

The online tool has been used by multiple commercial companies actively involved, as a service provider or user, in the freight transport chain to plan their transport chains.

Social implications

The tool makes the strategic planning of intermodal and co‐modal transport solutions easier and supports exploring sustainable freight transport choices in Europe.

Originality/value

The paper meets a research need to evaluate a newly‐developed online benchmarking tool, as well as detailing the e‐tool, and setting it within the practice and policy in this field.

Keywords

Citation

Dewan, , Islam, Z., Zunder, T.H. and Jorna, R. (2013), "Performance evaluation of an online benchmarking tool for European freight transport chains", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 233-250. https://doi.org/10.1108/14635771311307696

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited