Toward a typology of the roles of Logistics Service Providers as ‘Supply Chain Integrators’


  • Fabbe-Costes Nathalie
  • Jahre Marianne
  • Roussat Christine


  • Third-party logistics TPL
  • Logistics service providers LSP
  • Supply chain management SCM
  • Supply chain integration SCI
  • Role

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Increased logistics outsourcing and importance of supply chain integration (SCI) have attracted our interest in studying how logistics service providers (LSPs) are viewed as contributors to SCI and to their clients' performance. On the basis of LSPs' roles as they emerge from a review of SCI-performance literature and from an analysis of LSP-websites on how they communicate their role(s), we discuss how these results differ from roles as presented in previous literature on third party logistics (TPL). Some surprising conclusions are drawn. Few SCI articles take LSPs into consideration. From the websites, we find LSPs vary in how they communicate about the role they play in the SCI. The roles emerging from these two analyses are quite convergent. In comparison with roles identified in TPL literature, greater differences were identified. This paper contributes to existing body of knowledge by 1) questioning and analysing roles LSPs play in SCI; 2) developing different dimensions of LSPs' strategies for SCI and, 3) providing an enriched understanding of the SCI phenomenon taking LSPs' contribution into account, 4) and providing a typology for the roles of LSPs as integrators. Particularly interesting is with whom the LSP should/could be integrated and whether it is the LSP or the shipper who is the integrator. For the purpose of understanding these questions, we suggest further studies on the roles of LSPs based on the resources they possess more than activities they undertake, and to link this new research with relationship theories.

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