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A longitudinal study on logistics strategy: The case of a building contractor
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Communications and Transport Systems. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (Bygglogistik)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3538-8346
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Communications and Transport Systems. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (Bygglogistik)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1066-2094
2023 (English)In: The International Journal of Logistics Management, ISSN 0957-4093, Vol. 34, no 7, p. 1-23Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose Contingency studies within logistics and supply chain management have shown a need for longitudinal studies on fit. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the logistics strategy from a process of establishing fit perspective.

Design/methodology/approach A large Swedish building contractor's logistics strategy process was analysed using a longitudinal single-case study for a period of 11 years (2008–2019).

Findings The case study reveals three main constraints to logistics strategy implementation: a dominant purchasing organisation, a lack of incentives and diverging top-management priorities. This suggests that logistics strategy fit is not a conscious choice determined by contextual factors.

Research limitations/implications Establishing fit is a continuous cycle of regaining fit between the logistics context and logistics strategy components. Fit can be achieved by a change to the logistics context or to logistics strategy components.

Practical implications Logistics managers may need to opt for satisfactory fit in view of the costs incurred by changing strategy versus the benefits to be gained from a higher degree of fit.

Originality/value This paper adopts a longitudinal case design to study the fit between the logistics context and strategy, adding to the body of knowledge on organisational design and strategy in logistics and supply chain management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2023. Vol. 34, no 7, p. 1-23
Keywords [en]
construction logistics, strategy process, strategic fit, organisational structure, project based organisations
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics Construction Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-190757DOI: 10.1108/ijlm-02-2022-0060ISI: 000903971000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85144862414OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-190757DiVA, id: diva2:1722444
Funder
Svenska Byggbranschens Utvecklingsfond (SBUF), 13843
Note

Funding: Development Fund of the Swedish Construction Industry (SBUF); Lars Erik Lundberg Foundation for Research and Education;  [13843]

Available from: 2022-12-29 Created: 2022-12-29 Last updated: 2024-03-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Logistics Organization Design for Building Contractors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Logistics Organization Design for Building Contractors
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Construction logistics management is crucial for timely and cost-effective project delivery. While studies highlight improved project performance with a strategic and long-term approach to construction logistics management, there is a tendency to pursue project-centric logistics planning, hindering long-term, strategic approaches. Building contractors often prioritize dedicated solutions for specific projects, resulting in a lack of focus on company-wide efficiency. In the context of project-oriented building construction, where the logistics organization governs the planning, coordination, and control of resource flows, there is little known about how to tailor logistics strategies for the context of building contractors. While studies highlight the potential of strategic approach to logistics on project and supply chain performance, the adaptation of logistics strategies in the construction sector, especially considering influential contextual factors, remains largely unexplored.

Current logistics strategy literature predominantly draws from the repetitive manufacturing industries, often in the United States, failing to account for the distinct challenges posed by project-oriented construction. This thesis addresses how building contractors should strategically design their logistics organizations, accounting for building contractors’ specific contextual factors and subsequently proposing logistics organization design configurations that align with their unique characteristics.

The purpose is to investigate building contractors’ logistics strategy content and process with a focus on how to design the logistics organization. To fulfil the purpose, the following three research questions are formulated:

RQ1. What contextual factors influence the design of building contractors’ logistics organizations?

RQ2. How do the identified contextual factors influence the design of building contractors’ logistics organizations?

RQ3. How should building contractors design their logistics organizations in response to the contextual factors?

In response to RQ1, a combination of conceptual research, case studies, and a questionnaire study were undertaken to identify contextual factors influencing building contractors' logistics organizations, including the number of strategic business units (SBUs), product characteristics, and production process characteristics. These factors influence logistics organization design elements in terms of the degree of centralization, formalization, integration, and division of labour.

To answer RQ2, a mix of conceptual research, case studies, and a questionnaire study were undertaken to investigate how contextual factors influence the logistics organization design element. The findings indicate that while product and production process characteristics influence logistics organization design, the impact of company size remains inconclusive. The findings challenge conventional understanding regarding the influence of company size on logistics organization design, emphasizing the central role of product characteristics, production processes, and the number of SBUs among building contractors.

In response to RQ3, case studies were used to classify several logistics organization design configurations determined by the building contractors' product characteristics, production process characteristics, and the number of SBUs. These configurations outline responses to product characteristics, production process characteristics, and the number of SBUs. For instance, configurations reflecting single business unit contractors with high logistics predictability favour a centralized logistics organization, while those involving multiple SBUs lean towards divisional logistics function structures. Furthermore, the findings highlight the feasibility and preference for hybrid configurations in aligning logistics organization design with the unique characteristics of building contractors, contributing insights valuable for adapting organizational structures in diverse operational contexts.

This thesis contributes to logistics organization design literature by explaining how contextual factors shape building contractors' logistics organizations. The focus on construction-specific contextual factors, such as the degree of pre-engineering (product characteristics) and off-site fabrication (production process characteristics), broadens the scope beyond repetitive manufacturing contexts. The suggested logistics organization structures and configurations provide a foundation for understanding logistics strategy in construction and similar engineer-to-order industries. However, generalization to other engineer-to-order sectors requires additional research.

The thesis highlights a lack of formalized logistics strategies among building contractors. The identified logistics organization structures and design configurations offer practical insights for initiating a strategic logistics process, thus contributing to construction logistics practice. However, while the thesis advances logistics organization design understanding, the need for further research remains. Future research avenues include investigating the impact of company size, exploring misfit consequences, developing key performance indicators, and refining the implementation process. The methodological approach suggests the need for practice-oriented research designs to actively apply and evaluate the thesis' concepts in real-world scenarios.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2024. p. 65
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 2374
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-201783 (URN)10.3384/9789180755306 (DOI)9789180755290 (ISBN)9789180755306 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-04-12, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-03-21 Created: 2024-03-21 Last updated: 2024-03-21Bibliographically approved

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Haglund, PetterRudberg, Martin

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