Decision support systems for sustainable logistics: a review and bibliometric analysis

Fahham Hasan Qaiser (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Karim Ahmed (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Martin Sykora (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Alok Choudhary (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Mike Simpson (Management School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Publication date: 14 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Decision making in logistics is an increasingly complex task for organizations as these involve decisions at strategic, tactical and operational levels coupled with the triple-bottom line of sustainability. Decision support systems (DSS) played a vital role in arguably solving the challenges associated with decision making in sustainable logistics. The purpose of this paper is to explore the current state of the research in the domain of DSS for logistics while considering sustainability aspects.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review approach using a set of relevant keywords with several exclusion criteria was adopted to identify literature related to DSS for sustainable logistics. A total of 40 papers were found from 1994 to 2015, which were then analyzed along the dimensions of publishing trend, geographic distribution and collaboration, the most influential journals, affiliations and authors as well as the key themes of identified literature. The analysis was conducted by means of bibliometric and text mapping tools, namely BibExcel, gpsvisualizer and VOSviewer.

Findings

The bibliometric analysis showed that DSS for sustainable logistics is an emerging field; however, it is still evolving but at a slower pace. Furthermore, most of the contributing affiliations belong to the USA and the UK. The text mining and keyword analysis revealed key themes of identified papers. The inherent key themes were decision models and frameworks to address sustainable logistics issues covering transport, distribution and third-party logistics. The most prominent sustainable logistics issue was carbon footprinting. Social impact has been given less attention in comparison to economic and environmental aspects. The literature has adequate room for proposing more effective solutions by considering various types of multi-criteria decision analysis methods and DSS configurations while simultaneously considering economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainable logistics. Moreover, the field has potential to include logistics from wide application areas including freight transport through road, rail, sea, air as well as inter-modal transport, port operations, material handling and warehousing.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first systematic review of DSS for sustainable logistics using bibliometric and text analysis. The key themes and research gaps identified in this paper will provide a reference point that will encourage and guide interested researchers for future study, thus aiding both theoretical and practical advancements in this discipline.

Keywords

Citation

Qaiser, F., Ahmed, K., Sykora, M., Choudhary, A. and Simpson, M. (2017), "Decision support systems for sustainable logistics: a review and bibliometric analysis", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 117 No. 7, pp. 1376-1388. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-09-2016-0410

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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