اندازه شرکت و عملکرد: یک مطالعه در مورد استفاده از تجارت الکترونیک توسط اپراتورهای حمل و نقل کانتینر در هنگ کنگ
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|3442||2011||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7210 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Expert Systems with Applications, Volume 38, Issue 6, June 2011, Pages 7227–7234
In this study, we examine the relationship between firm size and the use of electronic commerce (EC) by container transport operators in Hong Kong and their performance implications. Using data collected from a sample of container shipping operators in Hong Kong, we identified internal and external drivers that affect the use of EC by container transport operators. Our findings indicate that large firms tend to adopt EC at a higher level of sophistication. This study also investigates the relationship between the use of EC and firm performance. Our results show that sales growth is positively related to the use of EC and firm size. To understand how firm size affects firm performance, we use a structural equation model (SEM) to examine their structural relationships. Our findings indicate that firm size positively influences sales growth. On the other hand, sales growth affects the profitability of a firm. Although customer satisfaction does not have a direct impact on profitability, our SEM suggests that customer satisfaction is a significant variable that affects the sales growth of firms.
The types of electronic commerce (EC) used by the container shipping operators can be categorised into intra firm and inter firm systems (Lai, Ngai, & Cheng, 2005). Intra firm systems are used to facilitate collaboration among different functions within a firm. These information technology applications are used to capture, store, and transmit information for greater efficiency and visibility in handling physical container transport. Information on container movement has to be handled transparently, not only within a firm, but also to all related parties within the container transport chain (Lun & Browne, 2009), including customer firms, vendors and customs authorities. One example is the use of Tradelink to complete the customs declaration in Hong Kong. To improve operational efficiency and reduce transaction cost, many traders use Tradelink as a platform to complete their customs declaration. Another example of inter-firm EC is shipping lines work with other actors such as logistic service providers in the container transport chain to develop INTTRA which is a free and single-source Internet portal through which shippers can access services offered by a community of liner shipping companies (source: www.inttra.com). Services offered by INTTRA include checking the sailing schedule, booking shipping space, and tracing container status. The use of EC suggests that operators in container transport chains are making use of EC to develop their networks and connect with shippers and their suppliers to improve productivity and the service provided (Bailey & Francis, 2008). Recognising the importance of maintaining a high level of visibility for the business operations in container transport networks, many firms have developed inter firm EC in the form of electronic data interchange (EDI) to facilitate the flow of information enabling different parties to track and trace the status, location, and delivery time of their containers. Container transport operators also use EC as a tool for online booking and sending booking confirmation to shippers. Inter firm systems are employed to assist communication among different parties within container transport chains. Within a container transport chain, the amount of data generated by a container move can include many physical documents such as shipping order, terminal interchange receipt, bill of lading, cargo manifest, container load plan, and invoice (Bichou, Lai, Lun, & Cheng, 2007). It also covers many data elements including information on the bill of lading number, shipper, consignee, notify party, place of receipt, port of loading, port of discharge, place of delivery, vessel name, voyage number, pre-carriage, on-carriage, shipping mark, container number, cargo description, cargo weight, cargo volume, place of payment, cargo on-board date, and so on (Lun, Lai, & Cheng, 2009). Effective information exchange among the firms in the container transport chain are essential to ensure that containers are dispatched from shippers to consignees in a timely manner as well as to meet the regulatory requirements. Increasingly, many container transport operators have recognised the importance of using EC for container transport operations to attain a competitive edge through reduced costs, increased productivity, and improved customer services (Lai, Cheng, & Yeung, 2004). To use EC, the effect of firm size is an important area to explore. In the container transport industry, large carriers are influential in business and industrial practices. Modern containerships are expensive, and their purchase involves financial risk because of the lead time between ordering and deploying a new vessel. Withdrawing capacity during a period of low demand is also costly. Additions to shipping capacity must be tailored to infrastructure constraints such as the width and depth of ports and the loading and unloading capacities at container terminals (Fusillo, 2004). The container shipping business has entered into a phase where liner shipping companies have shifted towards scale operation in ship size (Cullinane & Khanna, 2000). With an increase in ship size, carriers need to have a large cargo volume to fill their ships (Lun Y.H.V., 2009). Moreover, the scope of services in terms of the geographical size of the network increase costs unless the volume to the enlarged network attracts sufficient traffic (Midoro & Pitto, 2000). Concentration of container carriers contributes to the economies of scale and generates revenue. It is also an excellent tool for ocean carriers to expand by enlarging their fleets and allocating more ships to serve wider markets (Slack, Comtois, & McCalla, 2002). This concentration in recent years is a result of increased carrying capacity by the largest liner operators. Between January 2000 and 2006, the capacity of liner trade rose from 5,150,000 to 9,135,000 TEU, i.e., a 77.4% increase, according to the data from BRS-Alphaliner. In 2006, the market share of the top five liner operators, namely Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Evergreen, and Hapag–Lloyd, grew to 42.1% of the world total container carrying capacity (source: http://www.brs-paris.com). Due to the scale of operations and abundant resources, large carriers provide services for major routes and employ smaller carriers as their feeder services partners. Firm size plays an important role in most empirical researches on strategic management ranging from internal organisation to strategic alliance among sets of firms (Wang, Liu, & Yong, 2007). Size effects are so strong that researchers are working on a large variety of research topics including performance, knowledge management and many others (Macher & Boerner, 2006). Firm size can be a source of competitive advantage as bigger firms are presumed to be relatively more efficient than smaller ones (Hawawinin, Subramanian, and Verdin, 2003). Despite this widespread recognition of its importance, little research has been conducted that focuses on firm size and the use of EC on firm performance in container transport operators. To gain a better understanding of the effect of firm size and use of EC on firm performance in the container transport industry, we develop hypotheses and test them empirically to investigate this issue. In this study, the use of EC by container shipping operators are categorised into four groups, namely simple usage, e-collaboration, e-booking and e-payment. We examine the effect of firm size and the use of EC on firm performance by container transport operators in the context of Hong Kong as this city has been involved in the container port business for more than three decades. Hong Kong is a major hub in the global container transport chain and is served by 80 international shipping lines with more than 400 container liner services per week to over 500 destinations worldwide. From 1992 to 2004, Hong Kong was the world’s busiest port (Port of Hong Kong, 2004). Due to the scale and history of container transport operations in Hong Kong, a study on the use of EC and firm size on firm performance in this city would advance knowledge for the industry. The objectives of this paper are as follows: • To identify the factors that influence container transport operators to use EC. • To investigate the relationship between firm size and the use EC. • To examine if firm performance is dependent on the use of EC. • To develop and empirically test a theoretical model on firm size and firm performance.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study highlights the view that the use of EC for container transport activities is subject to the influences of a number of factors. Using factor analysis, we identify the internal and external EC drivers that affect the use of EC. The results of regression models suggest a link exists between EC drivers and firm size. Hence, firm size is an important topic to investigate. On the performance aspect, firms that use a higher level of EC perceive an improvement in sales growth. Growth can be considered as a desirable goal for container transport operators. Growth brings increasing economies of scale and is associated with prestige and the ability to withstand environmental changes (Misguba, Pollock, & Porac, 2004). Growth is often viewed as an important organisational outcome. Our findings show that both firm size and use of EC are determinants for sales growth in the container transport industry. Our findings also indicate that sales growth affects profitability of a firm. Although customer satisfaction does not have a direct impact of profitability, the SEM in this study suggests that customer satisfaction is a significant variable that affects sales growth of container transport operators. Although firm size does not have direct impact on profitable, it affects sales growth which is a key factor to influence profitability. Implications of this study are two-fold. From a research perspective, understanding the factors that affect the use of EC by container transport operators and their relationship with firm size opens up a new area in the literature to develop theories about technology adoption. For instance, what are the antecedents to transport operator decisions to use EC successfully? How do container carriers formulate strategies and deploy resources to use EC along the container transport chain? To what extent should the use of EC and the business strategy of container transport operators be aligned to attain superior performance? The findings of this study aid in understanding the factors that affect the use of EC and the relationship with firm size and firm performance. From a managerial perspective, the empirical results of this study suggest sales growth is positively affected by the use of EC and firm size. This would accelerate the EC adoption process as transport operators tend to achieve higher sales growth if they use EC at a higher level of sophistication in the spectrum from simple usage, e-collaboration, e-booking, through to e-payment. We also found that EC adoption does not have significant impacts on the levels of profitability and customer satisfaction. However, our results suggest profitability can be affected by sales growth. Sales growth can also be affected by customer satisfaction. Our finding of the link between sales growth and firm size may affect transport operators’ growth strategy and operational scale. This work is one of several efforts to investigate the use of EC and its relationship with firm size and firm performance in the container transport chain in Hong Kong. Thus, our investigation and its findings are still relatively exploratory. There are several limitations to this study and we leave them for future research. First of all, the sample size (n = 98) in this study might affect the interpretation of the research results. In addition, this study provides limited longitudinal evidence of the evolution of the use of EC in the container transport industry. In terms of scope, this research was limited to the study of container transport operators in Hong Kong. It would be useful to carry out a large scale longitudinal study and replicate it in other national contexts to generalise the findings.