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Title: Drivers and obstacles for innovation in logistics: case studies in dutch logistics
Authors: Kooistra, WM
Keywords: hindernissen
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: The concept of innovation is regarded in most organizations as an effective tool to create and sustain competitive advantages. Firms in today’s volatile business environments need to innovate in order to stay ahead in the market. While a substantial body of literature has examined innovation and organizational learning this study focuses explicitly on the drivers and obstacles for continuous innovation and improvement in the logistics sector. The logistics function is an area that is increasingly seeking ways of adding value through innovation. It has transformed from the business concept of transportation to that of serving the entire logistical needs of customers. Not only independent logistical firms but also most manufacturing firms become aware of the service aspects of the products they present their clients. The service component offers a very good change of gaining sustainable competitive advantage in the hyper-competitive global market. To be able to study the phenomenon of innovation in logistics in its natural setting and to gain a better understanding of its nature and complexity, a case-study method was adopted. A research population was composed of 10 logistics firms, selected for their logistics function / capabilities and size, creating a bulk sample of the Dutch logistics sector. The research data was gathered through a series of interviews with managers of the participating firms and observation of the firms’ processes. An additional expert group of four logistics consultancies participated in the study to support the research findings. This exploratory work examines, describes and compares factors that drive and impede innovation in Dutch logistics. Based on the findings of this study we offer directions for future research. The results of this study create the image of a volatile and competitive sector / function that has traditionally been in a following and supporting role. On the other hand are there all different kinds of indications supporting the theory that logistics are evolving from offering transportation to offering solutions. The research results also suggest that many managers active in the logistics sector lack the relevant knowledge of and experience with innovation, especially in small and medium, often family owned, organizations. The most important limitation of this research is the relatively low external validity of the conclusions caused by the use of a case-study methodology. Additional research is for that reason necessary to validate and extend the research results. The directions for future research include; comparison of the degree of innovativeness of the logistics sectors with other sectors, comparison of the degree of knowledge of innovation within the logistics sector with other sectors and the determination, categorization and classification of the different attitudes towards logistics of different logistics branches/ sectors. Future research is also necessary to study the (longitudinal) effects of implemented collaborative innovation strategies. The theoretical implications of this study are that it provides new insights in the phenomenon of continuous innovation and improvement in logistics and sets out directions for future research. It specifically adds new knowledge to three areas of limitation in existing literature: obstacles of innovation, collaborative innovation and innovation in logistics. A better understanding of what drives and hampers innovation will offer good opportunities to improve innovation management in the future, giving organizations the change to gain sustainable competitive advantages.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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