Logistics-based Competition A Business Model Approach

University dissertation from Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling

Abstract: Logistics is increasingly becoming recognised as a source of competitive advantage, both in practice and in academia. The possible strategic impact of logistics makes it important to gain deeper insight into the role of logistics in the strategy of the firm. There is however a considerable research gap between the quite abstract strategy theory and logistics research. A possible tool to use in bridging this gap is identified in business model research. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to describe and analyse logisticsbased competition using a business model approach, a topic not handled in earlier research. This purpose entails investigating the role of logistics in the strategy of the firm by identifying a number of business model components which together constitute a logistics-based business model.Theoretically, the dissertation departs from strategic management and more specifically from the two opposing strategy theoretical perspectives the resource-based view of the firm (RBV) and the industrial organisation school of thought (I/O). From this foundation, the theoretical framework is further built upon with logistics- and business model research leading to a model of analysis that eventually evolves into one of the main outcomes of the dissertation: a logistics-based business model.The methodology used is that of multiple case studies of largely qualitative character. The cases represent trading firms which all display long-term profitable growth, a consistency in their growth, and they all have a, by the management, outspoken focus on logistics. The cases have been analysed using a patternmatching approach.A key deliverable from this research is the logistics-based business model, a model consisting of five components: strategy, position, offering, activities and organisation, and resources. The logistics-based business model makes possible a description and analysis of the role of logistics in the strategy of the firm leading to the identification of specific characteristics of the business models of firms competing on logistics. A few of the results from this research are:? A logistics-based business model requires a synthesis of RBV and I/O.? Control over the logistics resources is a distinctive capability in a logistics-based business model.? Logistics strategy cannot be understood in terms of degree of integration only as much of the current logistics strategy research suggests.? Hybrid logistics-strategies can involve lean processes and agile assortment with standardisation as an enabler.? The domain of control of a logistics-based business model stretches beyond the domain of a traditional logistics strategy.? A single logistics-platform may support multiple offerings.For managers, the logistics-based business model is possible to use as a tool in business development.