The strategic intent of logistic service providers on three processes : French case
- Logistics Service Providers
- Strategic intent
- Inductive approach
Our aim is to discuss the strategic intent of French Logistic Service Providers (LSPs) through three logistics processes: innovation, traceabilityand pooling. Research Approach: Previous literature mostly describes the LSP as a proactive actor dealing with supply chain strategy. This paper uses some of the results of three qualitative researches (on innovation processes, traceability, and logistics pooling) between 2010 and 2014 on French LSPs. Content analysis is then used to build fromthese empirical results a theoretical framework. Findings and Originality:Concerning innovation processes, the contract length and the shippers' vision of outsourcing explain the lack of LSPs revolutionary innovations. Incremental innovations such as technological and organizational are much more implemented because of a lower risk level. They do not lead to a long-term strategic intent even if they consider this as a major strategic issue. Traceability of supply chains appears to be a strategic issue for firms. As intermediate actors of a supply chain, LSPs could consider traceability as a possibility to offer a distinctive service. In fact, the only reason why LSPs improve this kind of process is to transfer their responsibility to their customers. They split the responsibilities and no strategic intent appears in the actors' interviews. Concerning logistics poolingprocess, LSPs are not getting involved and do not implement a logistics network process, they prefer offering services they know well, as they always did since the last thirty years. The creation of networks with multiple shippers means dealing with their customers in the way they are not used to, in more complex processes. We conclude that LSPs are not proactive in these three strategic processes, which lead to the conclusion that they miss a strategic intent. Much has been written on the operational role of LSPs. However, little has been written concerning the strategic intent of this actor of the supply chain. This paper bridges this gap, providing the necessity for this interface actor to have a strategic intent that could lead to improve the supply chain management. Research Impact: The paper strives to limit the enthusiastic theoretical way of thinking of the LSP's strategic intent. It brings some empirical elements to understand the strategic intent of these third parties. Driving factorsand strategic behaviorare diagnosed and discussed. Practical Impact: Our aim is to understand betterLSPs role and the possible weight they could gain in the case of a strategic intent. They could also propose and develop new added value services that could improve their position in the supply chain. We will show that strategic intent might create value and help them to be considered as partners instead of subcontracting firms.