تاثیر توانایی های ارائه دهندگان تدارکات شخص ثالث بر عملکرد صادرکنندگان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1428||2012||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 135, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 741–753
Third-party logistics (3PL) services have experienced unprecedented growth. However, we are not aware of any study that explores the relationships among logistics outsourcing, competitive advantage, and business performance. We study the mediating role of logistics outsourcing as a strategy to develop firms' capabilities in the strategy–performance relationship. Drawing on the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm, we develop a research model grounded in the outsourcing-competitive advantage-performance paradigm. We apply structural equation modeling to empirically test the model using data collected from 150 exporters in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region of China. The results show that there are positive relationships among exporters' strategic orientation towards third-party logistics (3PL) providers, 3PL providers' basic and augmented capabilities, exporters' competitive advantage, and exporters' export performance. We also find that 3PL providers' augmented capabilities and exporters' competitive advantage are strong mediators, supporting the theorized model underpinned by RBV.
A third-party relationship is a relationship between a firm and a third party, which, compared with basic services, offers more customized offerings and a broader number of service functions. It is a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship (Africk and Calkins, 1994). With burgeoning global trade, fierce competition, higher customer expectations, and ever-expanding supply chains around the world, third-party logistics (3PL) providers play an increasingly important role in the prevailing dynamic and volatile environment (Hsiao et al., 2010 and Murphy and Daley, 2001). Driven by globalization and information technology advances, 3PL services have experienced unprecedented growth. According to Koh and Tan (2005), the annual growth in this sector in China has been 25% on average, leading both the U.S. (10–15% annual 3PL growth) and the rest of the world (5–10%). To seamlessly integrate geographically dispersed production systems, shippers' dependency on 3PL providers to provide customized information technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID) will grow (Chen et al., 2010, Koh and Tan, 2005 and Yang et al., 2009). Sinkovics and Roath (2004) suggest that it is a potential area to study in operations management (OM). Christopher (2005) remarks that logistics is quite clearly recognized as a major strategic variable. The recent trend of focusing on core competence has also contributed to the popularity of logistics outsourcing. Firms rely on outside logistics specialists to deliver goods to customers so that they can focus on their own core businesses. They can create competitive advantage by forming long-term relationships with 3PL providers (Coates and McDermott, 2002, Lambert et al., 1999 and Yeung, 2008). In the logistics service industry, 3PL providers add value to users by improving operations efficiency and/or sharing resources and information (Berglund et al., 1999). Acting on the information provided by users, 3PL providers can not only reduce users' inventory and stockout costs, but can also help users better navigate through the web of government regulations and obtain customs clearance to avoid unnecessary delay (Selnes and Sallis, 2003). Therefore, logistics outsourcing could bring a handsome payoff and become a part of corporate strategy (Sahay and Mohan, 2006). Despite the well-documented benefits of forming long-term relationships with 3PL providers, we should not assume that the benefits of supply chain collaboration are always positive. Prior studies have reported that many 3PL providers fail to deliver the expected cost reduction or meet the increasing demand for a broader range of logistics services and advanced information technology (e.g., Wong and Karia, 2009), while many 3PL users are uncertain about the service levels and have unrealistic expectations (Lambert et al., 1999). Many 3PL relationships fail due to a lack of shared/clear goals, communication, top management support, strategic direction, and mutual benefits (Lambert et al., 1999). Fifty-five percent of the 3PL relationships are terminated after three to five years (Gulisano, 1997 and Sahay and Mohan, 2006). These conflicting findings show that the management of 3PL relationships should receive greater attention for efficient supply chain management. Moreover, sixty-nine percent of 3PL studies have no theoretical foundation (Selviaridis and Spring, 2007). Therefore, the logistics service industry needs “theories and solutions to achieve sustainable competitive advantages” (Wong and Karia, 2009). However, we are not aware of any study that has yet explored the relationships among logistics outsourcing, competitive advantage, and business performance (Bustinza et al., 2010). This study extends the existing literature by studying the implications for export performance of an exporter that is strategically oriented towards its 3PL providers through the theoretical lens of the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to fill this gap. Within OM, this study answers the calls by researchers to offer a better understanding of why firms differ in performance (McIvor, 2009, Sinkovics and Roath, 2004 and Vivek et al., 2008). Specifically, we seek to address the following research questions: (1) Are there any relationships among exporters' strategic orientation towards 3PL providers, 3PL providers' capabilities, exporters' competitive advantage, and exporters' export performance? (2) Do 3PL providers' capabilities and exporters' competitive advantage mediate the relationship between exporters' strategic orientation towards 3PL providers and exporters' export performance? We develop a research model grounded in the outsourcing-competitive advantage-performance paradigm of Bustinza et al. (2010) and test the model by applying structural equation modeling (SEM) to empirical data collected from a survey of 150 export firms in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region of China. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: in Section 2 we provide the research background, review the literature, and develop the research hypotheses. In Section 3 we introduce the research methodology, describe the data collection method, and discuss the development of the measurement scales. Then we present an analysis of the results in Section 4. In Section 5 we discuss the research findings and their implications, conclude the paper, and suggest topics for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
A major concern of RBV is how a firm develops its resources to craft its competitive position, which, in turn, affects its performance (McIvor, 2009). Drawing on RBV, we use SEM fed with data from 150 exporters in Hong Kong and PRD region to analyze the relationships among exporters' strategic orientation towards 3PL providers, 3PL providers' capabilities, exporters' competitive advantage, and exporters' export performance. The SEM results show that (1) exporters' strategic orientation towards 3PL providers has significant positive relationships with both 3PL providers' basic capability and augmented capability, (2) only 3PL providers' augmented capability has a significant positive relationship with exporters' competitive advantage, and (3) exporters' competitive advantage has a significant positive relationship with their own export performance. Comparing the path coefficients in the structural equation model, we see that the path coefficient between 3PL providers' augmented capability and exporters' competitive advantage was the largest. The path coefficient between 3PL providers' basic capability and exporters' competitive advantage was the smallest. The findings are consistent with prior studies. According to Hill (2000), 3PL providers' basic and augmented capabilities can be viewed as the order qualifier and order winner for 3PL providers, respectively. Augmented capability is more important than basic capability because the latter is necessary but not sufficient for sustaining long-term relationships. The basic capability is reliable and timely delivery, which is a necessary function that 3PL providers need to provide to exporters. The augmented capability enhances the basic capability by providing additional value-added services. Our analysis shows that the mean scores of the four basic capability survey questions were quite high while their standard deviations were quite low. This means that the variance of 3PL providers' basic capability was relatively small. When 3PL providers perform at about the same level of basic capability, the importance of 3PL providers' augmented capability to exporters becomes significant. The appendix shows that (1) the mean scores of the four augmented capability questions (ranging between 3.92 and 4.31) were lower than those of basic capability (ranging between 4.70 and 4.98) and (2) the standard deviations of the augmented capability questions (ranging between 1.18 and 1.26) were higher than those of the basic capability questions (ranging between 0.95 and 1.11). These data show that (1) the overall level of 3PL providers' augmented capability is lower than that of their basic capability and (2) the variability of 3PL providers' augmented capability is much larger than that of their basic capability. Therefore, caution should be exercised when interpreting the relative importance of basic capability and augmented capability. Our results do not necessarily suggest that augmented capability is more important than basic capability. The results in this study only suggest that 3PL providers' augmented capability has a significant positive relationship with exporters' competitive advantage when the difference in 3PL providers' basic capability is small. It is likely that 3PL providers need to build up their basic capability first and then develop their augmented capability. Our findings bear some theoretical implications and answer the calls from researchers to ground theoretical concepts within practice frameworks (Holcomb and Hitt, 2007 and Selviaridis and Spring, 2007). RBV theorists propose that firms can create competitive advantage by sharing and deploying rare resources with partners to improve performance, but little has been done to examine the capabilities and the underlying mechanism (Coates and McDermott, 2002). Although the core capability concept is well documented in other fields such as strategic management (Yang et al., 2009) and marketing (e.g., Srivastava et al., 2001), this study plugs a gap in the OM literature, particularly in the context of the export sector. If an exporter is strategically oriented towards its 3PL providers, both parties will meet and share information. 3PL providers can learn from their strategic relationships with users to deploy resources better and improve their basic and augmented capabilities. 3PL providers' augmented capability will enhance exporters' competitive advantage. By improving its competitive advantage, an exporter can improve its export performance, in terms of sales and growth, market share, and profitability. This indirect effect has been confirmed by alternative model analysis and mediation test in this study, and therefore, supports RBV theory. Lambert et al. (1999) advocate that “partnership studies would benefit from research designs aimed at identification and explication of integrative processes that serve to bond partners and strengthen inter-organizational relationships.” Our findings also bear some practical implications. Lambert et al. (1999) comment that “this is a good partnership if both people are winning and both sides are getting what they want”. For 3PL providers, the results of this study provide evidence that they can improve their basic and augmented capability via collaborating with exporters. Their augmented capability plays an important mediating role in the effect of exporters' strategic orientation towards 3PL providers on the exporters' competitive advantage. However, only 20% of China-based 3PL providers report that they currently offer value-added services (Chen et al., 2010). Basic capability is only regarded as an order qualifier, not an order winner (Stank et al., 2003). Therefore, 3PL providers should have more customized offerings. They should put a greater emphasis on acquiring and exploiting knowledge, as well as relational and information resources, in order to win contracts and secure continuity of the contracts. For exporters, senior executives should be committed to collaborating with their 3PL providers that have superior logistics expertise and resources on a long-term basis in order to gain competitive advantage. They should meet regularly to share related information and work together to improve logistics operations in a proactive and non-adversarial manner. It is the better use of resources that creates competitive advantage, not the resources themselves. Strategically oriented towards 3PL providers, exporters can enhance their competitive advantage (internal competitive priorities), which, in turn, improves their export performance (Coates and McDermott, 2002 and Penrose, 1959). Therefore, we posit that many 3PL relationships fail due to incompatibility of partners. Collaborating with the right 3PL providers that can acquire and exploit knowledge, relational, and information resources determines whether the exporters can succeed. This paper contributes to an area of logistics research that has received very little attention or that has been undervalued (Bustinza et al., 2010 and Buyukozkan et al., 2008). While the findings of this study are representative of 3PL providers and exporters in the PRD region, the conclusions are not readily generalized to other contexts such as Europe or the U.S.A. Another limitation is that we examined only a particular period of the 3PL provider–exporter relationship. A longitudinal study of the 3PL provider–exporter relationship may provide more insights on how the relationship develops and its effects on non-financial firm performance such as customer service. We used only four items to measure resources. More items should be operationalized to manifest resources in more detail in future studies.