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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 3 August 2021

Helena Forslund and Stig-Arne Mattsson

The purpose of this study is to identify, characterize and assess supplier flexibility measurement practices in the order-to-delivery process.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify, characterize and assess supplier flexibility measurement practices in the order-to-delivery process.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involved a survey; participants were 224 purchasing managers at Swedish manufacturing companies that had more than 20 employees.

Findings

Scrutiny of the details of measurement practices revealed that most respondents actually do not specifically measure supplier flexibility. Instead they measure other measures like delivery reliability, conduct qualitative follow-ups, or cannot specify how supplier flexibility is measured. It was acknowledged that they measure different supplier flexibility aspects, and the applied measures were characterized, e.g. in terms of which flexibility dimension they represent.

Research limitations/implications

Conceptual clarifications and adaptations to measuring supplier flexibility in the order-to-delivery process are provided. The identified measures can be a contribution in further developing literature on flexibility performance measurement.

Practical implications

Purchasing, logistics and supply chain managers in search of supplier flexibility performance measurement can find ways to measure and an extended flexibility vocabulary. This has the potential to improve flexibility in the supply chain.

Originality/value

Even though flexibility is claimed as being an important competitive advantage, few empirical studies and operationalized measures exist, particularly in the order-to-delivery process.

Details

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

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 November 2021

Helena Forslund and Stig-Arne Mattsson

The purpose of this study is to develop a framework of strategies to achieving customer order flexibility in and related to the order-to-delivery (OTD) process. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to develop a framework of strategies to achieving customer order flexibility in and related to the order-to-delivery (OTD) process. The purpose is also to investigate how companies prioritize various strategies to achieve customer order flexibility.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a literature review, pre-tests and conceptual reasoning, a conceptual framework of strategies related to the order-to-delivery process was developed. The strategies were linked to the order quantity and delivery lead-time flexibility dimensions. This structure resulted in six groups covering enabling as well as remedial strategies. An empirical interview study of ten customer–supplier relationships was conducted.

Findings

The interviews identified additional strategies, thereby expanding the framework. The enabling strategies with the highest median values were “have continuous contact with the customer's purchaser” and “use safety stock of raw materials/semi-finished products”. The remedial strategy with the highest median was “re-plan/re-prioritize the order backlog”. In the delivery sub-process, it was more common to apply remedial strategies for delivery lead-time than for order quantities.

Research limitations/implications

The developed framework is a contribution to the literature on operational flexibility in and related to the OTD process. It complements existing knowledge by taking a supplier perspective.

Practical implications

Suppliers can use the framework as a tool to understand and systematically achieve better customer order flexibility in and related to the OTD process. Customers can use the framework as a checklist for supplier evaluation and supplier development.

Originality/value

Few identified studies include empirical data on customer order flexibility.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 32 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Petra Andersson and Helena Forslund

The purpose of this paper is to develop an indicator framework for measuring sustainable logistics innovation (SLI) in retail.

1283

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop an indicator framework for measuring sustainable logistics innovation (SLI) in retail.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review in different theory areas was conducted to generate a literature-based SLI indictor framework. The literature-based framework was then compared to five-year sustainability reports of three Swedish retailers to identify SLI indicators and how to measure them. This comparison led to a developed framework.

Findings

The developed framework combines sustainability dimensions with logistics activities. It identifies SLI indicators and how to measure them. Significant gaps between the framework and sustainability reports prompted the creation of an agenda for future research. Items that further research should consider include broadening or deepening the framework, developing specifically social SLI indicators for all logistics activities and developing measurement scales for the SLI indicators.

Research limitations/implications

The study presents an SLI indicator framework as an initial contribution towards knowledge creation, and following the agenda for further research could generate even more implications for research.

Practical implications

Managers need inspiration concerning which indicators to use to measure SLI and how.

Social implications

The study addresses both environmental and social sustainability, as well as suggests SLI indicators.

Originality/value

No identified study has merged sustainable logistics innovation and performance measurement in retail.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 August 2020

Helena Forslund, Patrik Jonsson and Stig-Arne Mattsson

Flexibility is one enabler of efficient use of resources and is therefore an antecedent to sustainability. The purpose of this article is to identify supplier flexibility…

Abstract

Purpose

Flexibility is one enabler of efficient use of resources and is therefore an antecedent to sustainability. The purpose of this article is to identify supplier flexibility variables in, and related to, the order-to-delivery (OTD) process and categorize them into a framework, followed by empirically exploring the framework.

Design/methodology/approach

A perception-based survey was sent to Swedish purchasing managers. 289 responses were received. After descriptive gap analysis, exploratory factor analysis was applied to structure the responses into factors. This formed the basis for hierarchical linear regression analysis, explaining supplier flexibility.

Findings

A conceptual framework, specifying supplier flexibility into volume, delivery and information exchange dimensions and relating these dimensions to the OTD process, was developed. Significant negative gaps between actual and demanded volume flexibility and delivery flexibility were identified, while positive gaps were found for information exchange flexibility. The factor analysis revealed three factors. The regression analysis verified that OTD-related information exchange flexibility and OTD-related volume and delivery flexibility explain the variation in OTD-specific flexibility and are important antecedents for supplier flexibility in the OTD process.

Research limitations/implications

A contribution to research is the framework – with defined, related and empirically validated flexibility types.

Practical implications

The study proposes a perception-based way to capture supplier flexibility in the OTD process, which is of practical relevance when evaluating suppliers.

Originality/value

Identifying, conceptualizing and capturing types of supplier flexibility in the OTD process is new related to academic literature. Also the wide empirical study mapping supplier flexibility gaps is unique in its focus.

Details

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

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 17 May 2021

Helena Forslund, Maria Björklund and Veronica Svensson Ülgen

Sustainability approaches across product supply chains are well-known, while similar knowledge on transport supply chains (TSC) is limited. The purpose of this paper is to…

2320

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability approaches across product supply chains are well-known, while similar knowledge on transport supply chains (TSC) is limited. The purpose of this paper is to explore sustainability approaches and managerial challenges in extending sustainability across a TSC.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a case study of a TSC with a shipper, a third-party logistics firm and a hauler. Each actor’s views on sustainability-related communication and relations with other TSC actors are analyzed through the lens of agency theory.

Findings

Each dyad in the TSC reveals different, more or less collaboration-based approaches. Challenges are revealed, including the lack of shipper understanding for the TSC context and the use of immature contracts, which disincentivizes sustainability compliance. The multi-tier study object reveals the silencing of distant actors and the need for actors to take on mediating roles to bridge information asymmetries.

Research limitations/implications

Combining literature perspectives (relations, communication and agency theory) provides a deeper understanding of the approaches applied and identifies different challenges. The inclusion of agency theory reveals principal problems such as information asymmetries between agents and less-informed principals and suggests complementary labels of supply chain actors.

Practical implications

Practical contributions include the highlighting of managerial challenges, which can aid managers in extending sustainability across TCSs.

Social implications

The case study method offers insights into collaboratively improving sustainability in supply chains (such as using contracts), thus having social and environmental implications.

Originality/value

The paper narrows knowledge gaps about managing sustainability among logistics service providers and analyzes data from multi-tier actors.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Maria Björklund and Helena Forslund

The development of more sustainable logistics calls for innovative thinking. In order to accelerate the development in the field, there is a need for increased…

1935

Abstract

Purpose

The development of more sustainable logistics calls for innovative thinking. In order to accelerate the development in the field, there is a need for increased understanding of the process behind successful implementation of sustainable logistics innovations (SLI). The purpose of this paper is to explore the SLI process, in order to identify critical factors, challenges as well as actors involved.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple-case study in six Swedish retailers and logistics service providers (LSPs), successful in SLI implementations, was conducted. Both within-case and cross-case analyses were applied.

Findings

The SLI process consists of five phases. The positive relationship between formalisation and SLI success is supported. Critical activities and challenges not known from literature were found in each phase. Examples are the use of logistics and customer KPIs, quickness, developing simple concepts, using a sustainability business case template and selecting where to test SLIs. Some phases are involving many internal and external actors, while others involve few internal actors. Customers are not particularly involved, and retailers involve their LSP suppliers.

Research limitations/implications

This study addresses the lack of empirical research in logistics innovation and has bridged the gap of innovation studies in other companies than in LSPs. Furthermore it has combined two developing areas, sustainable innovation and logistics innovation, into SLI. A number of critical activities and challenges, and complex patterns for actors’ involvement in the SLI process phases are explored as insights from particular cases; these results could be analytically generalised to theory.

Practical implications

The practical implications lie in guiding managers who wish to improve sustainability and innovativeness in logistics and, consequently, business success. Knowledge from successful companies about which phases to go through in which sequence, which challenges that can be expected and who to include in the SLI process could imply that more companies focus on SLI.

Social implications

Knowledge on how to include sustainability in a clear innovation process, e.g., by making strong business cases, should imply an accelerated development of sustainable logistics in society.

Originality/value

This study addresses the lack of empirically-based research in logistics innovation and expands the concept to retailers.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 118 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 February 2020

Simon Gottge, Torben Menzel and Helena Forslund

The aim of the study is to explore the possible practical impact of big data/business intelligence and Internet of Things on the purchasing process of premium automotive…

2068

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the study is to explore the possible practical impact of big data/business intelligence and Internet of Things on the purchasing process of premium automotive manufacturers, and to evaluate its theoretical impact with a transaction cost economics approach.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory multiple-case study was carried out, using qualitative content analysis and cross-case synthesis.

Findings

Collaborative platforms and a new purchaser role were found to impact the entire process. In the strategic purchasing 4.0 process, co-creation of specifications, automated prequalification, and parameter-based negotiations are some expected changes. The operative purchasing 4.0 process is shaped by, for example, interactive call-offs. Transaction cost is expected to decrease by reduced uncertainty and supplier specificity, as well as by lowered information search, negotiation, and monitoring costs.

Research limitations/implications

The description of a potential purchasing 4.0 process for premium automotive manufacturers is given.

Practical implications

Premium automotive manufacturers can develop strategies to push the existing standards of purchasing. Suppliers can create scenarios to allow for future compliance at the purchasing–sales interface.

Social implications

New technologies' effects on the workforce are considered.

Originality/value

No identified study focused on the impact of Industry 4.0 technologies on the purchasing process of premium automotive manufacturers.

Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Veronica S Ülgen and Helena Forslund

The purpose of the paper is to explore the practices with logistics performance management in two textiles supply chains, and to identify the related best practices and…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to explore the practices with logistics performance management in two textiles supply chains, and to identify the related best practices and barriers.

Design/methodology/approach

The method is a multiple case study of two textiles supply chains with a special focus on the rarely addressed interface between the manufacturer and the retail chain. The retail chains represent one large, global retail chain and one Nordic, comparably smaller retail chain. This paper is primarily empirical and describes practices for logistics performance management. The analysis discusses and explains best practices and barriers for logistics performance managements in textiles supply chains.

Findings

Differences were identified regarding practices, priorities and collaboration in the logistics performance management process. No textiles industry-specific practices were found. A way of exchanging action plans between the actors is an interesting best practice, which enables improvement projects even with long geographical distances. Barriers in the shape of difficulties in creating a collaborative culture were found; however, IT support seems no longer to be a barrier.

Research limitations/implications

Two cases are explored, why a broader study is necessary to confirm the results. The best practices and barriers identified are similar to those known from manufacturing companies.

Practical implications

The detailed descriptions of logistics performance management practices can provide insights for practitioners. Even if the studied supply chains are important for the respective actors, there is a potential for increased effectiveness in textiles supply chains.

Originality/value

Supply chains for textiles products “starting at a manufacturer and ending in a retail chain” seem to be an unchartered territory and not many studies have been performed.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 64 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 April 2012

Helena Forslund

Logistics service providers (LSPs) are important actors for creating logistics performance in supply chains. However, there is little previous research on how they handle…

5106

Abstract

Purpose

Logistics service providers (LSPs) are important actors for creating logistics performance in supply chains. However, there is little previous research on how they handle the performance management process. The purpose of this paper is to explore the handling of the performance management process and its obstacles from the perspective of LSPs.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple‐case study is conducted with the three largest LSPs in Sweden.

Findings

The handling of the performance management process shows similarities among LSPs in selecting performance variables, defining metrics, and capturing real‐time data. The differences are found in target setting, in report‐making and analysing, and in the perceived demand for performance management. The following three perceived obstacles are found for supply chain performance management: lack of understanding and knowledge; poor capabilities for adapting performance metrics definitions; and lagging IT solutions for performance reportmaking. The findings indicate possibilities for an increased supply chain scope where activities are handled by the partner that has the best capabilities, improving efficiency in supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to performance management theory by providing exploratory knowledge of the supply chain performance management process and its obstacles from the perspective of three LSPs. The study focuses on large LSPs and has respondents at the managerial level.

Practical implications

The study reveals differing supply chain performance management practices among LSPs, which implies that customers can choose an LSP that handles performance management in the way required.

Originality/value

Little previous research includes LSPs in studies of supply chain performance management. In particular it is unusual to have the perspective of LSPs and apply case‐based methodology.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 March 2014

Helena Forslund

The first purpose of this study is to explore logistics performance management practices and lessons learned in some supplier/retailer dyads across retail industries. A…

2004

Abstract

Purpose

The first purpose of this study is to explore logistics performance management practices and lessons learned in some supplier/retailer dyads across retail industries. A second purpose is to suggest a continued research agenda for logistics performance management across retail industries.

Design/methodology/approach

Case studies are conducted in four supplier/retailer dyads in different retailing industries in Sweden. The analysis is of a cross-case character and uses a pattern matching approach.

Findings

Large differences in practices within and between dyads are found. Some problems were indicated: lack of trust; difficulties in developing a collaborative culture; difficulties in relating metrics to customer value and lacking IT support. A previously unknown obstacle, the internal collaboration with category management, was identified. A good example was found in an industry standard. State-of-the-art descriptions, international comparisons, exploring the interface with the stores and combating identified problems were found to be relevant topics for continued research.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations are mainly related to the small number of cases, but since the purpose of this study is exploratory, this should be acceptable. The theoretical contribution is a first step in the expansion of knowledge on logistics performance management from manufacturing to retailing companies.

Practical implications

The practical contribution includes insights in the shape of descriptions and lessons learned in different retail industries.

Originality/value

No identified study has explored logistics performance management as a whole across retail industries with a dyadic approach.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 42 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

1 – 10 of 39