Technology Adoption in Small and Medium-Sized Logistics Providers

Other literature type, Article OPEN
Evangelista, Pietro ; McKinnon, Alan ; Sweeney, Edward (2013)
  • Publisher: Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Subject: innovation diffusion | Information and communication technology (ICT) adoption | logistics service market | Italy. | Industrial Engineering | small and medium-sized third party logistics providers (3PLs) | Business Administration, Management, and Operations

Purpose - The main aim of the research is to shed light on the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the logistics innovation process of small and medium-sized third party logistics providers (3PLs). Design/methodology/approach - A triangulated research strategy was designed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The former involved the use of a questionnaire survey of small and medium-sized Italian 3PLs with 153 usable responses received. The latter comprised a series of focus groups and the use of seven case studies. Findings - There is a relatively low level of ICT expenditure with few companies adopting formal technology investment strategies. The findings highlight the strategic importance of supply chain integration for 3PLs with companies that have embarked on an expansion of their service portfolios showing a higher level of both ICT usage and information integration. Lack of technology skills in the workforce is a major constraint on ICT adoption. Given the proliferation of logistics-related ICT tools and applications in recent years it has been difficult for small and medium-sized 3PLs to select appropriate applications. Research limitations/implications - The paper provides practical guidelines to researchers in the effective use of mixed-methods research based on the concept of methodological triangulation. In particular, it shows how questionnaire surveys, focus groups and case study analysis can be used in combination to provide insights into multi-faceted supply chain phenomena. It also identifies several potentially fruitful avenues for future research in this specific field. Practical implications - The paper's findings provide useful guidance for practitioners on the effective adoption of ICT as part of the logistics innovation process. The findings also provide support for ICT vendors in the design of ICT solutions that are aligned to the needs of small 3PLs. Originality/value - There is currently a paucity of research into the drivers and inhibitors of ICT in the innovation processes of small and medium-sized 3PLs. This paper fills this gap by exploring the issue using a range of complementary research approaches.
  • References (54)
    54 references, page 1 of 6

    AT Kearney, 2010. Scenario delle logistica in Italia. Study prepared for the Confederazione Generale Italiana dei Trasporti e della Logistica (CONFETRA), Milan, Italy (in Italian). Available at: (accessed 28 November 2012).

    Barbosa, D.H., Musetti, M.A., 2010. Logistics information systems adoption: a empirical investigation in Brazil. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 110(6), 787-804.

    Berglund, M., 2000. Strategic Positioning of the Emerging Third-Party Logistics Providers, Studies in Management and Economics. Doctoral Dissertation n. 45, Linkoping, Linkoping University.

    Berglund, M., van Laarhoven, P., Sharman, G., Wandel, S., 1999. Third-party logistics: is there a future? The International Journal of Logistics Management, 10(1), 59-70.

    Blackburn, R., Stokes, D., 2000. Breaking down the barriers: using focus groups to research small and medium-sized enterprises, International Small Business Journal, 19(1), 44-67.

    Boyes, A.J., Irani, Z., 2004. An analysis of the barriers and problems to web infrastructure development experienced by small businesses. International Journal of Information Technology and Management, 3(2/3/4), 189-207.

    Bowersox, D.J., Closs, D.C., 1996. Logistical Management: The Integrated Supply Chain Process. The McGraw-Hill Companies, New York, USA.

    Bryman, A., Bell, E., 2003. Business Research Methods, New York: Oxford University Press.

    Capgemini / Penn State University, 2013. 2013 Third Party Logistics Study: the State of Logistics Outsourcing. University Park, PA.

    Cainelli, G., Evangelista, R., Savona, M., 2004. The impact of innovation on economic performance in services, The Service Industries Journal, 24(1), 116-130.

  • Similar Research Results (1)
  • Metrics
    views in OpenAIRE
    views in local repository
    downloads in local repository

    The information is available from the following content providers:

    From Number Of Views Number Of Downloads
    Aston Publications Explorer - IRUS-UK 0 33
Share - Bookmark