Supply chain integration: studies on linking customer responsiveness and operational efficiency in logistics policy planning
Huiskonen, Janne (2004)
Aineistoon ei liity tiedostoja.
Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis ISSN 1456-4491URN:ISSN:1456-4491
Abstract The research problem in the thesis deals with improving the responsiveness and efficiency of logistics service processes between a supplier and its customers. The improvement can be sought by customizing the services and increasing the coordination of activities between the different parties in the supply chain. It is argued that to achieve coordination the parties have to have connections on several levels. In the framework employed in this research, three contexts are conceptualized at which the linkages can be planned: 1) the service policy context, 2) the process coordination context, and 3) the relationship management context. The service policy context consists of the planning methods by which a supplier analyzes its customers' logistics requirements and matches them with its own operational environment and efficiency requirements. The main conclusion related to the service policy context is that it is important to have a balanced selection of both customer-related and supplier-related factors in the analysis. This way, while the operational efficiency is planned a sufficient level of service for the most important customers is assured. This kind of policy planning involves taking multiple variables into the analysis, and there is a need to develop better tools for this purpose. Some new approaches to deal with this are presented in the thesis.The process coordination context and the relationship management context deal with the issues of how the implementation of the planned service policies can be facilitated in an inter-organizational environment. Process coordination includes typically such mechanisms as control rules, standard procedures and programs, but inhighly demanding circumstances more integrative coordination mechanisms may be necessary. In the thesis the coordination problems in third-party logistics relationship are used as an example of such an environment. Relationship management deals with issues of how separate companies organize their relationships to improve the coordination of their common processes. The main implication related to logistics planning is that by integrating further at the relationship level, companies can facilitate the use of the most efficient coordination mechanisms and thereby improve the implementation of the selected logistics service policies. In the thesis, a case of a logistics outsourcing relationship is used to demonstrate the need to address the relationship issues between the service provider andthe service buyer before the outsourcing can be done.The dissertation consists of eight research articles and a summarizing report. The principal emphasis in the articles is on the service policy planning context, which is the main theme of six articles. Coordination and relationship issues are specifically addressed in two of the papers.
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