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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…

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

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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.

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

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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2021

Christian F. Durach, Joakim Hans Kembro and Andreas Wieland

The discipline's most common uses for literature reviews—identifying gaps, developing research agendas, and categorizing the literature—too often fail to challenge, change…

Abstract

Purpose

The discipline's most common uses for literature reviews—identifying gaps, developing research agendas, and categorizing the literature—too often fail to challenge, change or advance theoretical perspectives. The authors offer guidance to theorization through literature reviews. The key to theory advancement is consistency between the state of theory and the chosen review type.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual approach is taken. The authors identify shortcomings in literature reviews of logistics and supply chain management (L&SCM) research and develop a framework to aid theorization from literature.

Findings

Literature review types are categorized as inductive theory building, contextualized explanations, theory testing and interpretive sensemaking. The authors argue that the effectiveness of a review type depends on the prior state of theory, which ranges from nascent, to intermediate, to mature. The authors propose the interpretive sensemaking review as a novel review type rooted in the interpretive paradigm.

Practical implications

This study should be of immediate interest and value to logistics and supply chain management scholars—as well as scholars in other fields—because it offers a pathway to theory development through literature reviews. Appropriate applications of the proposed review types will result in more comprehensive theories.

Originality/value

This article lays down arguments for the need to change the way L&SCM scholars use literature reviews. It extends earlier work from the authors (Durach et al., 2017; A New Paradigm for Systematic Literature Reviews in Supply Chain Management, Journal of Supply Chain Management) by outlining four review types, and offering further insights to theorization, as is typically the goal in the synthesis step of literature reviews.

Details

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

Keywords

Content available
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.

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

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Joakim Hans Kembro, Veronica Danielsson and Granit Smajli

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how modern network video technology could be used to improve different warehouse types and operations and how barriers may…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how modern network video technology could be used to improve different warehouse types and operations and how barriers may prevent its implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory multiple-case study with nine case companies was conducted, including on-site visits, interviews, questionnaires and a workshop.

Findings

The authors identified 12 video applications that could improve warehouse operations by making them safer, faster, more transparent and more reliable than they are at present. The authors found that video applications complemented existing information technology and offered a new dimension that provided the real-time analysis of different activities in warehouse operations. The main barriers to implementing video technology included uncertain return on investment, staff integrity, union restrictions and integration with other systems.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to the literature by exploring how information technology could be used to improve warehouse operations and by developing a classification matrix that outlines the video applications that suit the warehouse type and operation. Building on the contingency theory, the authors also described a conceptual framework for guiding future relevant research on warehousing.

Practical implications

Video technology provides an opportunity to improve efficiency and cut costs in warehouse operations, which could contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the company and the supply chain. However, several barriers must be overcome to enable its implementation. Furthermore, competing technologies, such as augmented reality and the internet of things, are being developed in parallel.

Social implications

The identified video applications could help to increase safety, sustainability and traceability in warehouse operations and, potentially, across the entire supply chain.

Originality/value

This research is the first to explore the potential of introducing video applications to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of various warehouse types and operations.

Details

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

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 28 January 2021

Tore Listou and Bente Flygansvær

Abstract

Details

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

Abstract

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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