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Urban consolidation centres: retail stores demands for UCC services
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6575-715X
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0202-5917
2017 (English)In: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, ISSN 0960-0035, E-ISSN 1758-664X, Vol. 47, no 7, p. 646-662Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - Urban consolidation centres (UCCs) are often conceived to improve services in retail stores and potentially reduce costs. However, few studies have examined how retail stores perceive the services a UCC could provide. The purpose of this paper is to explore retail stores potential demands for different services that a UCC could provide in order to foster the development and implementation of UCC solutions aimed towards more economically feasible business models. Design/methodology/approach - Structured interviews were conducted with employees at 72 retail stores. Qualitative, as well as quantitative analyses, were conducted to identify the potential demands of the retail stores. Findings - The authors have provided arguments why retail stores might be interested in UCC services, and thereby potentially pay for them. Improved customer service to stores customers might not be a valid argument. The authors point to the cost aspect: stores expend resources that a UCC could provide in a more cost-efficient manner. Research limitations/implications - The findings contradict previous studies to some extent, as it indicates that a UCC may actually not enhance customer service in retail stores. Instead, the findings point to the importance of considering the potential advantages according to economies of scale that are facilitated by UCC services. Practical implications - Taking the perspective of the stores is important in order to identify arguments for why they should pay for the services provided by a UCC. Social implications - Financially viable UCC solutions are needed in order for the initiatives to be maintained and thereby provide a long-term decrease in the environmental and social footprints caused by urban freight. Originality/value - This study answers the call for research addressing retailers perspective in urban logistics, as it takes a demand-driven perspective of the development of UCC services. Furthermore, by highlighting services requested by retail stores, it can guide the financing of UCC initiatives, an aspect that has been lacking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD , 2017. Vol. 47, no 7, p. 646-662
Keywords [en]
Customer service; Business model; Urban freight; City logistics; Receivers; Urban consolidation centre; Urban distribution
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-140529DOI: 10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2017-0114ISI: 000407286000005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-140529DiVA, id: diva2:1140084
Conference
Annual Nordic Logistics and SCM Researchers Conference (NOFOMA)
Note

Funding Agencies|VINNOVA; Swedens Innovation Agency

Available from: 2017-09-11 Created: 2017-09-11 Last updated: 2020-03-20
In thesis
1. Urban Consolidation Centres: On Relationships between Customer Needs and Services in City Logistics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urban Consolidation Centres: On Relationships between Customer Needs and Services in City Logistics
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Urban Consolidation Centres (UCCs) are often conceived as an enabler to alleviate negative effects associated with distribution of goods in cities, such as traffic congestion and hazardous emissions. UCCs not only have the potential to reduce these effects but also provide alternative distribution solutions by introducing new transhipment points. Despite their potential, UCCs often fail to be self-supporting and are often dependent on subsides, which is not considered to be sustainable in the long run. In response, this thesis takes its point of departure in the two business models elements value propositions and target customers. A business model is often viewed as an enabler to generate revenue and UCCs have the potential to generate revenue by offering services to their customers, and the customers pay for the services. To understand how customers can benefit from UCCs and provide arguments why they should use these, it is important to understand the relationship between customers’ needs and the services UCCs can provide. The purpose of this thesis is to identify and describe the potential relationship between needs of UCC customers and UCC services.

The research in the thesis is both explorative and descriptive, where a first step is to identify customer needs, UCC services, and value propositions. The descriptive part is to describe them and it is also the foundation for understanding the relationship between customer needs and UCC services. Through the analysis and discussion, multiple customer needs are identified and described for seven customer groups and the UCC operator; all of which could be considered customers of UCCs. The thesis also adds to the UCC literature with three new identified UCC services: e-commerce with used products, advertisement, and registration in computer system. The outcome of the analysis also provides illustrations of how customer needs can be matched with UCC services. For the most studied customer group, receiver of goods, a total of 29 different matches were identified, which illustrates the possibilities but also the complexity of the relationships. To understand the relationship, three different types of gaps were also identified that have implications for future research.

The main contributions to research and the UCC literature in particular are enlargement of the scope of customers and the illustration of the relationships between customer needs and UCC services. The illustrations include contributions such as identifying, mapping and describing the customer needs, UCC services, and value propositions. An important first step is to understand how customer needs and UCC services can be linked, and this thesis provides examples of how this can be achieved. Viewing every stakeholder as a potential customer opens up the opportunity to fulfil their needs and the potential to generate revenue, which in turn could close the gap in the problem of non-self-supporting UCCs. Furthermore, with self-supporting UCCs, the number of freight vehicles can be reduced and this may lead to more attractive cities with less traffic congestion and lower emissions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. p. 60
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Licentiate Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1800
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-144225 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-144225 (DOI)9789176853801 (ISBN)
Presentation
2018-01-26, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:05 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

I den tryckta versionen är det ena serienamnet felaktigt. I den elektroniska versionen är detta ändrat till korrekt: "Linköping studies in Science and Technology. Licentiate Thesis"

Available from: 2018-01-12 Created: 2018-01-11 Last updated: 2019-10-12Bibliographically approved
2. Customer Benefits in City Logistics: Towards Viable Urban Consolidation Centres
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Customer Benefits in City Logistics: Towards Viable Urban Consolidation Centres
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Urban Consolidation Centre (UCC) is a city logistics initiative that has the potential to increase the efficiency of urban freight delivery systems while reducing negative environmental and social effects caused by freight vehicles. One important issue that have hindered longevity of this initiative is its viability, both the financial viability and acceptance from affected stakeholders (also called UCC customers). The UCC customers in focus in this thesis are receivers of goods and municipalities. To satisfy both types of stakeholders, their requests and, in particular, the benefits they can gain from using UCCs need to be studied. The types of benefits to be given priority differ between the stakeholders, where municipalities strive towards more societal benefits, and the main goals of receivers are an increase in efficiency and financial sustainability. In response, the purpose of this thesis is to deepen the understanding of benefits for customers of UCCs, with a particular focus on customer needs and benefits that UCCs can provide.

This thesis consists of five appended papers, each of which uses a different methodology. The methodologies applied in the papers include a multiple interview study of five UCCs, a surveybased interview study of retail stores, and a case study of an operating UCC. Regarding customer needs, this thesis takes the customer perspective, in order to identify needs that UCCs can meet. The results presented in this thesis also highlight the importance for UCCs to give priority to meeting customer needs that stem from some type of problem. Regarding benefits that UCCs can provide, the thesis suggests how different types of benefits can be distinguished. This can give guidance to UCC operators regarding which benefits should be given priority in communication with UCC customers. However, the results highlight that it is also important to understand the situation of the customer to be able to communicate the most relevant benefits that UCCs can provide. Furthermore, the results illustrate different improvement areas that can affect the benefits for UCC customers. These identified areas are: improved understanding by both UCCs and its customers of each other’s operation, communication, developing a more holistic view for UCC customers, and developing new UCC services to match customer needs.

The results provide a foundation for customer needs that UCCs can meet, and the benefits that UCCs can provide. This foundation can be important for UCC customers to gain a better understanding of what a UCC is and how it can affect their operation, something that this thesis contributes towards. It can also assist initiators of UCCs to determine which customer needs they should focus on. Lastly, the results and contribution also address the potential role of municipalities, and it is argued that their role should change from a more supportive role to that of a paying UCC customer. All of these aspects can increase the probability that a UCC, when established becomes viable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2020. p. 83
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 2042
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-164522 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-164522 (DOI)9789179299163 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-04-24, ACAS, A-Building, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Available from: 2020-03-20 Created: 2020-03-20 Last updated: 2020-03-24Bibliographically approved

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