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Coordination of environmental measures in logistics service privider-shipper relationships
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8969-9396
2013 (English)In: Digital proceedings of the 25th NOFOMA Conference, 2013, 1-16 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose

Despite increasing research into logistics service providers’ (LSPs’) environmental measures, limited attention has been given to LSP-shipper relationships. This is surprising considering the fact that there is increasing pressure on supply chains to become greener and LSPs are important actors in these supply chains. The aim of this paper is to suggest how environmental measures can be coordinated in LSP-shipper relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

Four dyadic case studies, consisting of one LSP and one shipper each, provide the empirical basis for this paper. Literature on interorganisational coordination mechanisms is applied to the case findings in order to analyse how environmental measures are coordinated in the dyads. 

Findings

This paper identifies a number of coordination mechanisms applicable for different types of environmental measures in LSP-shipper relationships. Moreover, it is suggested that some environmental measures that can be taken in LSP-shipper relationships can be coordinated through different types of coordination mechanisms.

Research limitations/implications (if applicable)

Although the four cases presented in this paper give suggestions of coordination of environmental measures, studies into additional dyads could give further understanding with regards to environmental coordination in LSP-shipper relationships.

Practical implications (if applicable)

The results of this paper can help both LSPs and shippers understand how to work with environmental measures by the use of the appropriate coordination mechanisms.

Original/value

Contrary to previous research, which mainly takes one party's perspective, this paper takes a dyadic approach and thereby adds valuable knowledge to the interorganisational aspects of LSPs’ environmental work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. 1-16 p.
Keyword [en]
Coordination mechanism, dyads, logistics service provider, green supply chains, environmental measures, interorganisational relationships
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-98701ISBN: 978-91-980973-3-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-98701DiVA: diva2:655416
Conference
25th NOFOMA Conference, 3-5 June 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden
Projects
Effektivare Citylogistik – En nödvändighet för både industri och samhälle
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Available from: 2013-10-11 Created: 2013-10-11 Last updated: 2016-11-30
In thesis
1. Towards greener supply chains: Inclusion of environmental activities in relationships between logistics service providers and shippers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards greener supply chains: Inclusion of environmental activities in relationships between logistics service providers and shippers
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is well-recognised that companies are under pressure to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their operations. Logistics service providers (LSPs), who through their transport and logistics operations have a large negative impact on the environment, are one type of supply chain actor that is under such pressure. However, in order for LSPs to be able to lower their environmental impact sufficiently, their customers, the shippers, also need to take responsibility. This thesis takes its starting point in the relationships between LSPs and shippers and argues that in order for LSPs’ environmental activities to reach their full potential, the shippers must be included in the activities.

The purpose of this thesis is to describe and explain how supply chain actors, with a specific focus on logistics service providers and shippers, can include environmental activities in their relationships with each other. This comprises identifying those environmental activities that are relevant for relationships between LSPs and shippers, as well as describing the extent to which environmental activities are included in such relationships. By means of the theoretical perspective of power between supply chain actors, the thesis also sets out to further understand how power balances between LSPs and shippers can influence the extent to which they include environmental activities in their relationships with each other. Finally, the use of the theoretical perspective of coordination aims, through the analysis of coordination mechanisms, to shed light on how environmental activities are included in LSP-shipper relationships.

The research in this thesis has mainly descriptive and explanatory aims, although due to the novelty of research into LSPshipper relationships in an environmental context, the research process as such is mainly exploratory. Following an abductive approach, the insights from literature are combined with empirical data from two cases studies, a homepage scan, a survey and a study of city logistics projects. Most of the applied research methods take a dual perspective of relationships between supply chain actors and thus include both LSPs and shippers.

One conclusion from the research conducted for this thesis comprises the identification of environmental activities as well as a suggestion for a classification based on the activities’ role in the business between LSPs and shippers. With a starting point in the identified activities, a comparison of a market perspective and a relationship perspective of environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships indicates that LSPs are able to fulfil the requirements set by shippers and that shippers’ requirement thus are met. The research does, however, point to a passiveness among LSPs in their relationships with shippers, who in turn would like the LSPs to be more proactive.

Further, based on an analysis of power balances in LSP-shipper relationships, it is suggested that in an LSP-shipper relationship in which the shipper has a power advantage, the shipper’s environmental ambitions for logistics sets the agenda for the environmental activities in that relationship.

An analysis of coordination of environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships indicates that the mechanisms of direct supervision, which is when one actor tells the other actor in the relationship what to do, and mutual adjustment can be chosen to be used in order to include environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships. While direct supervision is suggested to be a coordination mechanism that is easy for shippers to apply, mutual adjustment appears to hold greater potential for the development of environmental activities.

Finally, these findings in combination are suggested to have implications for the coordination of environmental activities in LSP-shipper relationships. More specifically, this thesis offers a categorisation of different types of LSP-shipper relationships and the involved actors’ environmental ambition. Depending on whether the environmental ambition of the LSP and shipper in a specific relationship is high or low appears to have implications for the possibility to work towards greener supply chains for each type of relationship.

Abstract [sv]

Många företag känner av pressen av agera för att minska sin miljöpåverkan. Flera företag har också insett att ett sådant agerande även har affärsmässiga fördelar. När det gäller miljöpåverkan så tillhör logistikföretagen, till stor del på grund av sina transporter, de företag som insett att något måste göras. Möjligheten för dessa företag att göra olika miljöåtgärder påverkas av varuägarna som köper logistikföretagens tjänster. Som en följd av detta blir länken mellan dessa företag – relationen – viktig för att möjliggöra förbättringar när det gäller påverkan från logistiken. Denna avhandling har som syfte att beskriva och förklara hur aktörer i försörjningskedjan, med ett speciellt fokus på relationer mellan logistikföretag och varuägare, kan inkludera miljöåtgärder i sina relationer med varandra.

För att över huvud taget kunna diskutera miljöåtgärder i relationer mellan logistikföretag och varuägare så är det viktigt att veta vad för typer av miljöåtgärder detta kan röra sig om. Första forskningsfrågan i avhandlingen behandlar detta och i avhandlingen identifieras ett antal sådana åtgärder. Det kan röra sig om relativt tekniska åtgärder så som alternativa bränslen, olika typer av fordon och energieffektiv körning, till åtgärder som handlar om styrning av logistiken, så som design av logistiksystemen, till åtgärder som är väldigt relationsspecifika som exempelvis specifika projekt eller miljögrupper.

Med avstamp i de identifierade åtgärderna analyseras sedan relationerna mellan logistikföretag och varuägare i några olika steg. En jämförelse mellan logistikföretagens och varuägarnas perspektiv på de miljöåtgärder som erbjuds, efterfrågas samt ingår i relationerna dem emellan visar att logistikföretagen ofta kan tillgodose sina kunders önskemål. Samtidigt som detta visar att varuägarnas önskemål verkar vara uppfyllda, så finns det en frustration från varuägarnas sida över att logistikföretagen inte är mer proaktiva.

En av anledningarna till detta kan vara maktbalansen mellan logistikföretag och varuägare. Resultaten i avhandlingen pekar nämligen på att varuägarna oftast har makten över logistikföretagen, vilket verkar leda till att varuägarens ambitioner gällande miljö ofta är det som sätter agendan för vilka miljöåtgärder som inkluderas i relationen mellan dessa företag.

Vidare så kan de miljöåtgärder som ingår i en relation mellan logistikföretag och varuägare koordineras på olika sätt och flera sådana tas upp i avhandlingen. Resultaten pekar även på att maktbalansen i relationerna påverkar i vilken grad miljöåtgärder inkluderas i relationer mellan logistikföretag och varuägare samt hur dessa koordineras. En matris, som bygger på logistikföretagets och varuägarens ambitioner gällande miljö för en specifik relation, sammanfattar resultaten i avhandlingen. Beroende på om denna ambition är hög eller låg för de båda aktörerna påverkar i sin tur möjligheten för varje typ av relation att arbeta mot gröna försörjningskedjor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 127 + 2 Case Reports p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1565
Keyword
Green supply chain management, inter-organisational relationships, environmental activities, logistics service providers, shippers
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102564 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-102564 (DOI)978-91-7519-440-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-02-07, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-12-13 Created: 2013-12-13 Last updated: 2016-11-30Bibliographically approved

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