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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 29 June 2020

Andreas Norrman and Andreas Wieland

This invited article explores current developments in supply chain risk management (SCRM) practices by revisiting the classical case of Ericsson (Norrman and Jansson…

8778

Abstract

Purpose

This invited article explores current developments in supply chain risk management (SCRM) practices by revisiting the classical case of Ericsson (Norrman and Jansson, 2004) after 15 years, and updating its case description and analysis of its organizational structure, processes and tools for SCRM.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory case study is conducted with a longitudinal focus, aiming to understand both proactive and reactive SCRM practices using a holistic perspective of a real-life example.

Findings

The study demonstrates how Ericsson's SCRM practices have developed, indicating that improved functional capabilities are increasingly combined across silos and leveraged by formalized learning processes. Important enablers are IT capabilities, a fine-grained and cross-functional organization, and a focus on monitoring and compliance. Major developments in SCRM are often triggered by incidents, but also by requirements from external stakeholders and new corporate leaders actively focusing on SCRM and related activities.

Research limitations/implications

Relevant areas for future research are proposed, thereby increasing the knowledge of how companies can develop SCRM practices and capabilities further.

Practical implications

Being one of few in-depth holistic case studies of SCRM, decision-makers can learn about many practices and tools. Of special interest is the detailed description of how Ericsson reactively responded to the Fukushima incident (2011), and how it proactively engaged in monitoring and assessment activities. It is also exemplified how SCRM practices could continuously be developed to make them “stick” to the organization, even in stable times.

Originality/value

This is one of the first case studies to delve deeper into the development of SCRM practices through taking a longitudinal approach.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 50 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 22 June 2022

Joakim Kembro and Andreas Norrman

To meet customers' expectations on shorter lead times, high product availability, flexibility, and variation in delivery and return options, retailers have turned their…

2230

Abstract

Purpose

To meet customers' expectations on shorter lead times, high product availability, flexibility, and variation in delivery and return options, retailers have turned their attention to warehousing and are making big investments in technology. Currently, technology providers are pushing for smart warehousing, a new and under-researched phenomenon. This study aims to conceptualize the term and examine pathways toward implementing smart warehousing.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory survey was administered to 50 leading Swedish retailers in varying segments. A two-tailed t-test for equality of means was used to detect significant differences between current and future states.

Findings

The study found that future smart warehouses will be automated, autonomous, digital, and connected, but that retailers will follow different paths along this journey, driven by contextual trends, e.g. sales growth, wider product assortment, shorter lead-time offerings, and integration of brick-and-mortar and online stores. Interestingly, the study revealed that many of the retailers that aim to create smart warehouses in five years are not the retailers with the most developed technology today.

Research limitations/implications

The paper operationalizes smart warehousing in two dimensions: degree of automation and degree of digitalization and connectivity of information platforms. Based on the findings, 16 theoretical propositions are put forth that, based on contextual factors, explain different pathways for retailers to implement smart warehousing.

Practical implications

The empirical insights and theoretical discussions provide practically useful guidance, including outlined trends, for selecting and benchmarking automation and complementary technologies in warehouse operations.

Originality/value

This paper conceptualizes and operationalizes smart warehousing – an original approach. It is also one of the first to investigate the technological transformation in retail warehousing empirically, explaining how and why retailers choose different pathways toward smart warehousing.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 9 September 2020

Joakim Hans Kembro and Andreas Norrman

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of adopting a contingency approach to configuring omnichannel warehouses. Nonetheless, research on how various contextual…

3296

Abstract

Purpose

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of adopting a contingency approach to configuring omnichannel warehouses. Nonetheless, research on how various contextual factors influence the selection of warehouse configuration is scarce. This study fills this knowledge gap by exploring how and why certain configurations fit in different omnichannel contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study is conducted with six leading Swedish omnichannel retailers. Focusing on outbound warehouse configurations, data are collected through interviews, on-site observations, and secondary sources. A multistep analysis is made, including both pattern matching and explanation building.

Findings

The qualitative analysis reveals 16 contextual factors, of which assortment range, requested online order fulfillment times, goods size and total transactions are the most influential. The study shows how contextual factors create different challenges, thereby influencing the choice of the configurations. In addition to market dynamics and task complexity, the study describes four categories of the factors and related challenges that are particularly important in omnichannels: speed, space, economies of scale and tied-up capital.

Research limitations/implications

The findings highlight the importance of understanding context and imply that multiple challenges may require trade-offs when selecting configurations, for example, regarding what storage, processes and resources to integrate or separate. To confirm, extend, challenge and further operationalize the ideas and observations put forward in this paper, an agenda with future research issues is given for this accelerating, contemporary phenomenon.

Practical implications

Managers could leverage the frameworks proposed for the contextual profiling of their current and future positions. The frameworks provide support for understanding the important challenges and potential trade-offs and developing aligned configurations.

Originality/value

This study is original in the way it provides in-depth, case study findings about contextual factors and their influence on omnichannel warehouse configuration.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 51 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 48 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 29 August 2018

Joakim Hans Kembro, Andreas Norrman and Ebba Eriksson

The purpose of this paper is to increase the understanding of how warehouse operations and design are affected by the move toward integrated omni-channels.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to increase the understanding of how warehouse operations and design are affected by the move toward integrated omni-channels.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured literature review is conducted to identify and categorize themes in multi- and omni-channel logistics, and to discuss how aspects related to these themes impact and pose contingencies for warehouse operations and design.

Findings

The review revealed a lack of focus on warehouse operations and design in multi- and omni-channels. Instead, most articles published in scientific journals discuss changes in consumer demand and implications for the network level, concerning aspects such as the organization and management of material and information flows, inventory management, resources, actors and relationships. Ten themes in omni-channel logistics were identified and grouped into two categories: the value proposition and channel management; and the physical distribution network design. The themes and related aspects have implications for warehousing, and by combining these with general warehousing knowledge, the authors derive a comprehensive and structured agenda is derived to guide future research on omni-channel warehousing.

Research limitations/implications

This paper outlines a research agenda, including detailed research questions, for advancing the theory on warehouse operations and design in omni-channels.

Practical implications

The agenda can inspire practitioners in their work to understand the upcoming challenges and address relevant issues in omni-channel warehousing, taking into consideration its interdependence with value proposition, channel management and network decisions.

Originality/value

This is the first comprehensive review focusing on and synthesizing available literature on omni-channel warehousing. This topic has until now received limited coverage but is of increasing importance to scholars in the field.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 48 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 December 2019

Joakim Hans Kembro and Andreas Norrman

The purpose of this study is to explore warehouse configuration in omni-channel retailing.

2200

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore warehouse configuration in omni-channel retailing.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple case study is conducted with six large omni-channel retailers from three different sectors.

Findings

The study shows an increase in the number, variation and frequency of flows passing through omni-channel warehouses. Along with an increased variety of stock keeping units (including singles vs multipacks), there is an increase in the complexity of planning and coordination of order fulfillment. Retailers test a mix of different solutions for storage and picking and partly shift focus to advanced sorting operations. The companies already have or plan to invest in substantial automation systems, which emphasize the importance of capturing and using accurate master data.

Research limitations/implications

The study highlights the need to understand the interrelations and co-development of configuration elements in omni-channel warehousing. The findings also suggest that a successful transformation requires increased collaboration with upstream and downstream partners. Conceptual models are developed to illustrate strategies and development paths in omni-channel warehousing, and suggestions for future research are summarized in a research agenda. A research limitation is the focus on Swedish retailers in three sectors (fashion, consumer electronics and DIY/construction material). Future studies can include additional sectors, extend the geographical scope and explore cross-regional differences.

Practical implications

As one of the few deeper case studies on omni-channel warehousing, practitioners will find new configurations described and analyzed here. Along with conceptual models, a synthesis of challenges and potential solutions are presented to support retailers’ practical analysis and decision making.

Originality/value

This is one of the first multiple case studies that go deeper into omni-channel warehouse configuration, which is of increasing importance to both scholars and practitioners in the field.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 50 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 June 2019

Ebba Eriksson, Andreas Norrman and Joakim Kembro

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how grocery retailers configure their online fulfilment centres (OFC) as they move towards an omni-channel structure and what…

5176

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how grocery retailers configure their online fulfilment centres (OFC) as they move towards an omni-channel structure and what contextual factors influence their decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory case study with three grocery retailers in the Nordic countries was conducted. The study investigates the current OFC configurations and identifies nine important contextual factors.

Findings

This study shows the importance of understanding the changes that omni-channel retailing entails for an OFC configuration. Nine contextual factors were identified. Several of the factors are found in previous theory, but this paper extends the knowledge of how they affect the configuration of an OFC in grocery retail. The changes in, for example, order characteristics create different requirements for picking, packing, sorting and shipping when compared with traditional distribution centres (DC). Although representing a separate flow for online fulfilment, OFC configuration depends on how the other logistics flows from the DC to stores are designed.

Research limitations/implications

To support further theory development, nine contextual factors and their relationship to OFC configurations are proposed.

Practical implications

This study provides managerial value in two ways. First, grocery retailers with one or more OFCs can benchmark existing solutions using the empirical case descriptions. Second, the findings provide grocery retailers with knowledge of how to configure an OFC.

Originality/value

The literature lacks a holistic approach towards how grocery retailers configure their OFCs and what factors affect these decisions. This study provides the first in-depth analysis of how the omni-channel context affects the configuration of all the aspects of an OFC.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 47 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 22 March 2022

Ebba Eriksson, Andreas Norrman and Joakim Kembro

Omnichannel (OC) logistics is undergoing a significant transformation in grocery retail. To shed light on this important but underresearched phenomenon, this study aims to…

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Abstract

Purpose

Omnichannel (OC) logistics is undergoing a significant transformation in grocery retail. To shed light on this important but underresearched phenomenon, this study aims to investigate how grocery retailers transform and why some are more successful in transforming OC logistics.

Design/methodology/approach

Applying dynamic capabilities as a theoretical lens, a multiple case study was conducted with three grocery retailers at different stages of their transformation.

Findings

Six microfoundations of dynamic capabilities were identified as critical for enabling OC transformation. The study highlights important differences in dynamic capabilities, which can be attributed to investment decision-making, governance and creating co-specialization. Finally, the authors propose seven propositions for contextualization of dynamic capabilities for OC transformation in grocery retail.

Originality/value

This study is original by contextualizing microfoundations in grocery OC retailing. The study contributes to theory and practice by showing the value of dynamic capabilities, stressing the important interrelation among a retailer's governance structure, leadership and capability to make investment decisions, increase logistics coordination and co-specialize.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 50 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 14 August 2019

Dag Naslund and Andreas Norrman

The purpose of this paper is to develop, implement, test and further enhance a framework for measuring organizational change initiatives.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop, implement, test and further enhance a framework for measuring organizational change initiatives.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual part of the framework is based on the structured analysis of existing literature. The framework was further developed during an action research (AR) study where the authors developed, implemented, evaluated and improved the measurement system for organizational change initiatives.

Findings

The academic literature is rich in conceptual articles providing required characteristics of a “good” measurement system and frameworks for how organizations should measure performance. However, academia provides less empirical evidence of how these performance measurement systems can be implemented, evaluated and improved. In this paper, the authors present a study where the developed measurement system has been implemented, evaluated and improved. The results in terms of how the actual framework worked as well as the response from the case organizations are equally positive.

Research limitations/implications

The framework has been implemented in two different, major change initiatives in one case organization. While the results are truly encouraging, the framework needs to be further tested and refined in more organizations.

Practical implications

There is a gap between academic perception and practical reality regarding how organizations should measure performance in general as well as measuring organizational change initiatives. The presented, and empirically tested, framework measures both the results of the change initiative (effectiveness) the actual change process (efficiency) as well as the perception of the change initiative and process from different key stakeholders.

Originality/value

This is the first developed, implemented and further improved measurement system for organizational change which measures both the efficiency and effectiveness of the change initiative (process).

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 25 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Henrik Sternberg and Andreas Norrman

The Physical Internet (PI) is an emerging concept that applies the Digital Internet as a design metaphor for the development of sustainable, interoperable and…

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Abstract

Purpose

The Physical Internet (PI) is an emerging concept that applies the Digital Internet as a design metaphor for the development of sustainable, interoperable and collaborative freight transport. With the aim of aiding researchers and policy makers in their future efforts to develop efficient logistics systems, the purpose of this paper is to present a review of the existing literature on the PI, to critically discuss the concept and to outline a research agenda.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature review investigates scientific papers, project reports, specifications and other publications related to PI. In total, 46 publications were finally analyzed. The approach used in this paper is technology adoption by firms. The authors examine the PI based on four factors: organizational readiness (technological blueprints), external pressure (promised effects), perceived benefits (business model) and adoption.

Findings

A growing number of strategies, blueprints and specifications have been developed for PI, yet there are no currently developed models that illustrate how the move from the entrenched logistics business models to the PI could ensue. There is a lack of understanding of the business models needed that can involve critical actors and promote the adoption of the PI concept.

Research limitations/implications

While using the internet as a metaphor for reimagining physical transports is certainly exciting, this review and analysis suggest that several research questions need to be addressed before further PI blueprint work is carried out.

Practical implications

The “grand challenge” of sustainability in logistics needs to be addressed and improved, but the authors’ analysis suggests that, to some extent, it is uncertain how the PI will contribute to improving sustainability, and why logistics service providers should engage in PI. Policy makers and practitioners are provided with critical issues to consider in the practical development and adoption of the concept.

Originality/value

This paper provides an outsider and technology-adoption perspective of PI research, as well as important implications for policy makers and researchers.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 47 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

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