Purchasing of logistical services: A new view of LSPs’ proactive strategies


  • Fulconis François
  • Jean Nollet
  • Gilles Paché


  • Innovation
  • Supply chain
  • Purchasing
  • Logistics service provider LSP
  • Kraljic matrix
  • Relational disequilibrium

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Purpose – The purpose of this viewpoint is to analyze the emergence of a modified equilibrium in the relationship between buyers (“shippers”) and suppliers (“providers”) of logistical services. In the 1990s, the logistical service providers (LSPs) had relatively little power and were often asked to perform basic operations. The situation has evolved as a result of proactive strategies implemented by some forward-thinking LSPs. In this viewpoint, the emphasis is on the strategies developed by shippers which the authors labeled the “ramp effect”. Design/methodology/approach – The authors discuss the impact of the ramp effect on LSPs’ innovation processes. This viewpoint is based on the authors’ experience in the field, on a literature review focused on the logistics industry and on the purchasing strategies applied to logistical services. Findings – The authors show that the buyers of logistical services have lost some of their power because of two main factors: LSPs’ embeddedness in the shipper’s supply chain and the transformation of LSPs into orchestrators (labeled fourth-party logistics). This viewpoint discusses the relational disequilibrium between shippers and LSPs rather than the cooperative relationships between them. Originality/value – The ramp effect as a source of innovation and proactive strategies for LSPs has never been covered in the management literature. This viewpoint provides both academics and practitioners with a different perspective of the relational disequilibrium between buyers and sellers of logistical services.

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