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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Saara A. Brax, Anu Bask, Juliana Hsuan and Chris Voss

Services are highly important in a world economy which has increasingly become service driven. There is a growing need to better understand the possibilities for, and…

Abstract

Purpose

Services are highly important in a world economy which has increasingly become service driven. There is a growing need to better understand the possibilities for, and requirements of, designing modular service architectures. The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the roots of the emerging research stream on service modularity, provide a concise overview of existing work on the subject, and outline an agenda for future research on service modularity and architecture. The articles in the special issue offer four diverse sets of research on service modularity and architecture.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is built on a literature review mapping the current body of literature on the topic and developing future research directions in service modularity and architecture.

Findings

The growing focus on services has triggered needs to investigate the suitability and implementation of physical-product-focused modularity principles and theories in service contexts, and to search for principles/theories that enhance services. The expanding research stream has explored various aspects of service modularity in empirical contexts. Future research should focus on service-specific modularity theories and principles, platform-based and mass-customized service business models, comparative research designs, customer perspectives and service experience, performance in context of modular services, empirical evidence of benefits and challenges, architectural innovation in services, modularization in multi-provider contexts, and modularity in hybrid offerings combining service and tangible product modules.

Originality/value

Nine areas are recommended for further research on service modularity and architecture. The introductory piece also discusses the roots of service modularity and provides an overview of current contributions.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Mervi Rajahonka and Anu Bask

The automotive industry has been studied extensively, but few studies focus on outbound logistics in automotive supply chains, or on the logistics service provider’s…

Abstract

Purpose

The automotive industry has been studied extensively, but few studies focus on outbound logistics in automotive supply chains, or on the logistics service provider’s (LSP’s) point of view. Furthermore, there is hardly any research on service model innovation in LSPs. The purpose of this paper is to narrow these research gaps.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is based on a single-case study – an LSP that specializes in services for the automotive industry. The paper examines the company’s service models and their development over time.

Findings

The findings show how the case company has moved towards multifaceted service models through a number of radical and incremental innovations. Moreover, it has used the same methods in developing all its new service models, and has applied modularity principles in service innovation to achieve better process efficiency and service effectiveness.

Research limitations/implications

The rather narrow focus of this study – automotive logistics in a specific area – decreases the generalizability of the findings beyond this context. However, the single-case approach offers in-depth insights, and the analytical frameworks developed herein for service models is applicable in other contexts.

Practical implications

The analysis may help LSPs and service companies in their service design and development. The use of modularity principles makes it easier to offer mass-customized services and to develop efficient processes.

Originality/value

This study narrows a research gap in examining outbound logistics services in the automotive supply chain and focussing on the LSP’s perspective.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Anu Bask and Mervi Rajahonka

Transport is the European Union (EU) sector that produces the second highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions. In its attempts to promote the environmentally sustainable…

Abstract

Purpose

Transport is the European Union (EU) sector that produces the second highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions. In its attempts to promote the environmentally sustainable development of transport, the EU has focussed on intermodal transport in particular – but with limited success. It is important to understand how freight transport is selected, which criteria are used and what role environmental sustainability and intermodal transport play in the selection. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the role of environmental sustainability and intermodal transport in transport mode decisions. The authors look at this issue from the perspective of logistics service providers (LSPs) and buyers, as they are important stakeholders in guiding this process.

Design/methodology/approach

To gain a holistic view of the current state of research, the authors have conducted a systematic literature review of the role of environmental sustainability and intermodal transport in transport mode decisions. The authors have further examined the findings concerning requests for quotations (RfQs), tenders and transport contracts, as these are also linked to decisions on transport choice.

Findings

The findings from the literature review include the results of descriptive and structured content analysis of the selected articles. They show that the discussion on environmental sustainability and intermodal transport as a sustainable mode, together with the transport mode selection criteria, RfQs/tenders and transport contracts, is still a rather new and emerging topic in the literature. The main focus related to the selection of transport mode has been on utility and cost efficiency, and only recently have issues such as environmental sustainability and intermodal transport started to gain greater attention. The findings also indicate that the theoretical lenses most typically used have been preference models and total cost theories, although the theoretical base has recently become more diversified.

Research limitations/implications

There is still a need to extend the theoretical and methodological base, which could then lead to innovative theory building and testing. Such diverse application of methodologies will help in understanding how environmental sustainability can be better linked to mode choice decisions.

Practical implications

The findings will be of interest to policy makers and companies opting for environmentally sustainable transport solutions.

Social implications

If the EU, shippers and LSPs take a more active stance in promoting environmentally sustainable transformation models, this will have long-lasting societal impacts.

Originality/value

It seems that this systematic literature review of the topic is one of the first such attempts in the current body of literature.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 47 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 January 2009

Anu Bask

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 58 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2002

Karen M. Spens and Anu H. Bask

It has been suggested that successful Supply Chain Management (SCM) requires the understanding and management of three important issues: who are the members in the supply…

Abstract

It has been suggested that successful Supply Chain Management (SCM) requires the understanding and management of three important issues: who are the members in the supply chain; which supply chain processes link them; and. What type/level of integration do these supply chain processes require? This article is based on an extended conceptual framework developed by previous researchers and provides an application in a health care setting. The main purpose of this work is to test the usefulness and to increase the understanding of the framework in a case environment. The objective is to assess the applicability of this supply chain framework for managerial purposes.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2011

Anu Bask, Mervi Lipponen, Mervi Rajahonka and Markku Tinnilä

Modularity has been identified as one of the most important methods for achieving mass customization. However, service models that apply varying levels of modularity and…

Abstract

Purpose

Modularity has been identified as one of the most important methods for achieving mass customization. However, service models that apply varying levels of modularity and customization also exist and are appropriate for various business situations. The objective of this paper is to introduce a framework with which different customer service offerings, service production processes, and service production networks can be analyzed in terms of both modularity and customization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper builds theory and offers a systematic approach for analyzing service modularity and customization. To illustrate the dimensions of the framework, the authors also provide service examples of the various aspects.

Findings

In the previous literature, the concepts of modularity and customization have often been discussed in an intertwined manner. The authors find that when modularity and customization are regarded as two separate dimensions, and different perspectives– such as the service offering, the service production process, and the service production network – are combined we can create a useful framework for analysis.

Research limitations/implications

Rigorous testing is a subject for future research.

Practical implications

The framework helps companies to analyze their service offerings and to compare themselves with other companies. It seems that in practice many combinations of modularity and customization levels are used in the three perspectives.

Originality/value

This paper develops a framework for analyzing service offerings in terms of modularity and customization. The framework provides a basis for analyzing different combinations of these two aspects from the three perspectives, and herein lies its value.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2010

Anu Bask, Mervi Lipponen, Mervi Rajahonka and Markku Tinnilä

Modules and modularity have been popular concepts in operations research and management rhetoric for decades. Nevertheless, it seems that there is no single universal…

Abstract

Purpose

Modules and modularity have been popular concepts in operations research and management rhetoric for decades. Nevertheless, it seems that there is no single universal definition of modularity for classical research themes such as modularity in physical products or modular manufacturing. The purpose of this paper is to describe the current state of modularity research and to clarify the concept and impacts of modularity by means of a literature review. The paper discusses whether the modularity concept originally developed in the context of physical products could be applied in the context of product‐related services.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the authors use a methodology called systematic integrative literature review to describe the current state of modularity research and to define – based on the findings of the review – the themes that are most commonly related to the modularity concept. As service modularity research is a relatively new topic, the authors look for definitions and themes related to modularity from other areas of modularity research.

Findings

The paper presents four key themes and definitions associated with modularity in different perspectives. To illustrate how modularity can be comprehended in the service context, the paper presents examples related to logistics services.

Research limitations/implications

The use of an integrative literature review has its limitations and a more thorough review of service literature is needed for more in‐depth understanding of how modularity is actually manifested and conceptualized in the service context. In the future, in‐depth interviews of service providers will be needed for a more thorough understanding of whether the modularity approach can be used in services today and in the future and if so, how it can be applied in practice.

Practical implications

The findings may be useful particularly for manufacturers and logistics service providers in improving their service offerings and processes.

Originality/value

There is growing interest in issues related to modularity. The paper discusses the key themes related to modularity in the contexts of product, production and processes, organization and supply chain, and service. In addition, the paper illustrates some practical implications for modularity, particularly in the logistics services context.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2001

Anu H. Bask

Outsourcing of logistics services has increased rapidly during the last few years. Accordingly, third‐party logistics and supply chain management as a research phenomenon…

Abstract

Outsourcing of logistics services has increased rapidly during the last few years. Accordingly, third‐party logistics and supply chain management as a research phenomenon has gained increased attention from academia. However, a strategic view focusing on the relationship between supply chain management and third‐party logistics service strategies has gained little attention. This paper focuses on alternative supply chain strategies and their relationship to different types of third‐party logistics services. A normative framework for organizing these relationships is developed. The strategic view adopted in this paper fills a gap in the understanding of how third‐party logistics providers should offer their services more effectively and efficiently to different types of supply chains.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2009

Nathalie Fabbe‐Costes, Marianne Jahre and Christine Roussat

Considering the importance of supply chain integration (SCI) in literature and the increasing outsourcing of logistics, this paper aims to study the role of logistics…

Abstract

Purpose

Considering the importance of supply chain integration (SCI) in literature and the increasing outsourcing of logistics, this paper aims to study the role of logistics service providers (LSPs) in supporting SCI and clients' performance.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is based on a two‐step approach: a literature review on supply chain integration (SCI) and performance regarding how LSPs are taken into account; and an analysis of web sites of LSPs concerning how they communicate their role and whether they themselves consider they have a role in improving the SCI and performance of their clients. Results are then discussed in view of some major works on third party logistics.

Findings

Some surprising conclusions are drawn. Among the analysed articles very few take LSPs into consideration. The web site analysis shows LSPs varying in their communication. Some do not consider SCI as part of their job, others balance between being pure “resource providers” and taking the riskier role of “supply chain designers”. The analysis of the roles LSPs can play in supply chains enriches the understanding of the SCI phenomenon.

Research limitations/implications

In this paper SCI performance papers are analysed. A review of papers on LSPs could be another relevant starting point. The web site analysis concerns LSPs' communication. Further research could complement with the shippers' perspectives.

Practical implications

Results suggest different dimensions to structure LSPs' strategies vis‐à‐vis clients' SCI and performance.

Originality/value

The main contributions of this paper are questioning and analysing what role LSPs play in SCI and performance, and expanding the framework for SCI studies.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 58 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2009

Helena Forslund, Patrik Jonsson and Stig‐Arne Mattsson

The purpose of this paper is to generate a performance model for an order‐to‐delivery (OTD) process in delivery scheduling environments. It aims to do this with a triadic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to generate a performance model for an order‐to‐delivery (OTD) process in delivery scheduling environments. It aims to do this with a triadic approach, encompassing a customer, a supplier and a logistics service provider.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of a conceptual analysis and a triadic case study on performance measurement requirements in an OTD process characterized by delivery scheduling, and generating performance models.

Findings

Two OTD process performance models, one for the supplier's delivery sub‐process and one for the customer's delivery scheduling, the logistics service provider's transportation and the customer's good receipt sub‐process, in delivery scheduling environments are generated.

Research limitations/implications

A single case study limits the levels of external validity and reliability to analytical generalization.

Practical implications

The generated performance models include definitions of four sub‐processes and outline ten performance dimensions that should be of relevance for several companies to apply.

Originality/value

This is the first approach that generates performance models for a triadic OTD process for use in delivery scheduling environments.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 58 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

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