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International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management Exploring logistics performance management in
International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management Exploring logistics performance management in

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

Exploring logistics performance management in supplier/retailer dyads Helena Forslund

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Exploring logistics performance management in supplier/retailer dyads

Helena Forslund

School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University, Va¨ xjo¨ , Sweden

Abstract

Purpose – The first purpose of this study is to explore logistics performance management practices and lessons learned in some supplier/retailer dyads across retail industries. A second purpose is to suggest a continued research agenda for logistics performance management across retail industries. Design/methodology/approach – Case studies are conducted in four supplier/retailer dyads in different retailing industries in Sweden. The analysis is of a cross-case character and uses a pattern matching approach. Findings – Large differences in practices within and between dyads are found. Some problems were indicated: lack of trust; difficulties in developing a collaborative culture; difficulties in relating metrics to customer value and lacking IT support. A previously unknown obstacle, the internal collaboration with category management, was identified. A good example was found in an industry standard. State-of-the-art descriptions, international comparisons, exploring the interface with the stores and combating identified problems were found to be relevant topics for continued research. Research limitations/implications – The limitations are mainly related to the small number of cases, but since the purpose of this study is exploratory, this should be acceptable. The theoretical contribution is a first step in the expansion of knowledge on logistics performance management from manufacturing to retailing companies. Practical implications – The practical contribution includes insights in the shape of descriptions and lessons learned in different retail industries. Originality/value – No identified study has explored logistics performance management as a whole across retail industries with a dyadic approach.

Keywords Case study, Research agenda, Logistics performance management, Dyad, Retailer

Paper type Research paper

Introduction In order to succeed for brand suppliers, it is important to operate an effective and efficient down-stream supply chain via retailers to end consumers (Lorentz and Lounela, 2011). Marketing aspects, such as category management, are evident strategy components to reach financial performance (Amato and Amato, 2009). Category management was described by Lindblom and Olkkonen (2006) and Hamister (2011) as the supplier/retailer practice of managing distinct product categories by focusing on end consumer value. However, hand in hand with marketing come logistics aspects, which are as important to create differentiation advantages and competitiveness of retail supply chains (Lorentz and Lounela, 2011). Logistics performance is important for customer satisfaction and loyalty, which at the same time are targets for category management (Schramm-Klein and Morschett, 2006).

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Received 9 January 2013 Revised 13 March 2013 17 June 2013 Accepted 5 July 2013

2013 Revised 13 March 2013 17 June 2013 Accepted 5 July 2013 International Journal of Retail

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management Vol. 42 No. 3, 2014 pp. 205-218 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited

0959-0552

DOI 10.1108/IJRDM-01-2013-0020

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Logistics performance can be lead time, on-time delivery, and service level. Measuring logistics performance moves the focus from strategic, financial performance to operational performance enabled by information sharing between supply chain actors (Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari, 2010). It is not enough to merely measure performance. Rather measurement should be expanded into performance management, which implies that a number of sequential activities – from strategy to action – are viewed as a whole (Forslund and Jonsson, 2007; Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari, 2010). Knowledge about logistics performance management is mainly based on manufacturing companies (e.g. Bourne et al., 2002; Forslund and Jonsson, 2007). The retail sector is continuously growing, competition is increasing, and logistics performance is a critical competitive aspect (Menachof et al., 2009; Ganesan et al., 2009; Fernie et al., 2010; ECR, 2011; Lorentz and Lounela, 2011; Hamister, 2011; SAP, 2012). In an extensive study of retail supply chain executives, performance management was identified as one key area for future competitiveness (ECR, 2011). Fragmented knowledge exists on logistics performance management in retail. Theodoras et al. (2005) conducted an interesting study that identified important performance metrics and suggested improvements between suppliers and retailers in one industry. Wang et al. (2008) discussed the importance of setting specific and differentiated performance targets. However, no identified study described logistics performance management as a whole in retail. Descriptions can bring managerial relevance both to suppliers and retailers by showing “best practices” to benchmark and problems to avoid or prevent. We do not know if problems found among manufacturing companies also are valid in retail. Descriptions of practices are furthermore important as previous studies have shown a relation between logistics performance management practices and the actual performance levels. Forslund and Jonsson (2010) found relationships between performance management practices and on-time delivery performance levels in supplier/manufacturer dyads. Sheu et al. (2006) found supplier/retailer collaboration to improve logistics performance. Hamister (2011) related supply chain management practices between suppliers and retailers, however moderately implemented, to increased performance. “Since suppliers and retailers have knowledge in different domains, the combination can create unique knowledge” (Hamister, 2011, p. 431). This implies that it is of both theoretical and practical relevance to describe operational logistics performance management practices in supplier/retailer dyads. So how can practices be illustrated and what lessons are learned from both actor’s perspective? Addressing both actors, supplier and retailer, was encouraged by Lindblom and Olkkonen (2006) and Hamister (2011). Different practices are expected to be found in different retail industries (Amato and Amato, 2009). Therefore, it is relevant to explore and show practices across retail industries. The fact that no so few studies previously described logistics performance management in retail, indicates a need for a research focus from scholars. Wiese et al. (2012) found that retail research lag ten years behind the corresponding manufacturing research on environmental performance, and that retail practice not is completely reflected by academic literature. Managing logistics performance in retail seems especially relevant, given the complexity with a large number of articles and the length and number of retail chains (Wiese et al., 2012). In what areas does it seem important that scholars focus their continued research efforts, in order to expand theoretical knowledge? This should enable retail chains to improve logistics performance, which

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in turn would improve competitiveness. By suggesting a research agenda for logistics performance management across retail industries, this study complements existing knowledge and expands it into the retail sector. The first purpose of this study is to explore logistics performance management practices and lessons learned in some supplier/retailer dyads across retail industries. A second purpose is to suggest a continued research agenda for logistics performance management across retail industries. The expected theoretical contribution is to expand knowledge on logistics performance management from manufacturing into retailing companies. The expected practical contribution is to provide insights and lessons learned from supplier/retailer dyads in different retail industries.

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Literature review – logistics performance management in retail Forslund and Jonsson (2007) have described logistics performance management between suppliers and manufacturers as a sequential process – the performance management process. It consists of five activities – selecting metrics, defining metrics, setting targets, measuring, and analysing/acting – that could be carried out in a collaborative manner. However, Brewer and Speh (2001) found difficulties in developing a collaborative culture regarding performance management in supply chains, as well as lack of trust (also Forslund and Jonsson, 2009) and lack of knowledge. In this section, retail-based studies complement the knowledge on performance management.

Selecting metrics The performance management process should be linked to the company’s strategy; selecting metrics concretizes strategic choices (Lohman et al., 2004). This study focuses on metrics that are shared with other actors and less attention is paid to company-internal metrics. In a supply chain, it is important that the actors discuss and agree on which logistics performance metrics to apply (Brewer and Speh, 2001; Forslund and Jonsson, 2010). Brewer and Speh (2001) found that companies had difficulty selecting metrics that were linked to customer value. Forslund and Jonsson (2007, 2010) showed that on-time delivery is a dominating metric among manufacturing companies. Theodoras et al. (2005) identified some logistics metrics as important between food suppliers and retailers:

service level; complete orders; delivery of products without defects; efficient handling of returns; information about shortages in the orders; on-time delivery; and efficient handling of emergency orders. Lorentz and Lounela (2011) mentioned out-of-stock as a critical logistics metric. A development in retail supply chains is the acknowledgement of environmental metrics such as reduced packaging and alternative fuels (Fernie et al., 2010). Wiese et al. (2012) found carbon footprint to be a promising metric, however only analysed very rarely in retail research. Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010) mentioned the importance of limiting the number of metrics used.

Defining metrics According to Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010), studies on performance measurement seldom include the definition of each performance metric, which is an important link between the metric and the accessible data. Bourne et al. (2002) concluded that companies characterised as successful in performance management understood the importance of using validated and sufficiently specified metrics

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definitions. Lohman et al. (2004) suggested a detailed “metrics dictionary” to ensure common and shared metrics definitions in a supply chain. Metrics definitions are especially critical in a supply chain context, as more than one actor should be able to understand the metric (Forslund and Jonsson, 2007). In order to define logistics metrics such as on-time delivery, service level and lead-time, detailed aspects must be agreed on by the supply chain actors. One is the measurement object, whether it is the order, order line, unit/product, value, etc. The second is the time unit, whether it is a week, day, hour, or some kind of delivery window. A third aspect is the measurement point; where along the supply chain a measurement takes place;, e.g. delivered from the supplier, accessible to the retailer, or at the point of consumption. The fourth is the comparison; whether it is the retailer’s wished or the acknowledged demand that is compared (Forslund and Jonsson, 2007). For service level, one definition can be the percentage of available stock on every product to satisfy the retailer’s demand (Theodoras et al., 2005).

Setting targets Soltani et al. (2004) reported problems with setting targets, such as missing or vague targets, or inconsistency between targets. Targets are often based on the supplier’s subjective interpretations of the customer’s needs; to avoid this tendency they should be set in a joint manner (Holmberg, 2000). Brewer and Speh (2001) found it common for targets to differ between supply chain actors. Wang et al. (2008) mentioned the lack of conceptual frameworks to handle differentiated targets for different distribution channels. Theodoras et al. (2005) and Wang et al. (2008) meant that suppliers should set differentiated targets for their retailers. Furthermore, Theodoras et al. (2005) suggested that suppliers should frequently update their knowledge of retailers’ targets in order to capture changes. Schramm-Klein and Morschett (2006) found differences in targets between the category management function and the logistics function in retailing companies. Category management has implied increased collaboration between supplier and retailer (Lindblom and Olkkonen (2006).

Measuring In measuring, it is recommended that the supply chain actors agree on who should measure, how often, with which methods, and how to communicate the reports or outcomes of the measuring (Forslund and Jonsson, 2007). Capturing and reporting performance data were often found to be done manually in manufacturing companies (Forslund and Jonsson, 2007, 2010). However Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010) meant that retailers often have good data capturing capabilities by their access to point-of-sales (POS) data. Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010) further suggested sharing daily or weekly measurement outcomes in a web-based measurement portal. Forslund and Jonsson (2010) showed that those supplier/manufacturer dyads that had automatic and therefore high-frequency measurement reports perceived higher logistics performance levels than those dyads that had manual and low-frequency measurement reports.

Analysing/acting Collaboration in the supply chain is a critical success factor for improved performance (Sheu et al., 2006; Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari, 2010). Forslund and Jonsson

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(2007) showed that analysing and acting were weakly performed activities in performance management in manufacturing dyads. Menachof et al. (2009) found that the internationalisation of retail chains has lead to improved performance, where less developed logistics systems have been forced to conform to an international standard. Forslund and Jonsson (2010) showed that those supplier/manufacturer dyads that had common analysis and improvement actions perceived higher logistics performance levels than those that had not.

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Methodology In order to make a description on logistics performance management across retail industries, a survey methodology could be possible. However, this study has an exploratory purpose, as current knowledge is fragmented and immature. It is therefore not judged possible to formulate accurate survey items. A case study approach is more appropriate for exploratory purposes (Yin, 2009). According to Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010), case studies are a good consolidation tool between theory and practice. Consequently this study has a case study approach, where the advantages of understanding have been more important than the possibilities to broadly generalise results. Clearly defining the study object in case studies in the supply chain was encouraged by Mann et al. (2009) and Barratt et al. (2011). The study object is supplier/retailer dyads; the interface between suppliers (product manufacturers or sales organisations) and retail chains. The contact point is the retailer headquarters, where managers involved in logistics performance management are identified. It is not obvious which manager to address, as this responsibility can be found in different positions in the studied companies (see Table I). This is another reason for not conducting a survey. The retailer headquarters suggested an important supplier to include in the dyad. The companies and respondents are all shown in Table I. Four retail chains are selected to represent different retailing industries in Sweden; daily groceries, home decoration, non-food and sports. They all handle fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG, e.g. Lindblom and Olkkonen, 2006; Amato and Amato, 2009) and are among the market leaders in their specific industries. By this selection different practices and lessons learned are expected to be discovered (Amato and Amato, 2009). The use of multiple cases is likely to create more robust theory (Barratt et al., 2011). The data collection followed the procedures recommended by Yin (2009), such as basing interview questions on the literature review, providing definitions, and letting each respondent validate their case description in order to increase validity. To increase reliability, multiple respondents are addressed where possible (source triangulation, Barratt et al., 2011), and other data sources complemented the interviews, such as documents and measurement reports (method triangulation, Yin, 2009). Fifteen mainly personal, semi-structured interviews, lasting from between 30 and 90 minutes, were conducted during late 2011 and early 2012. These provided descriptions of characteristics and logistics performance management pratices. The analysis is mainly of a cross-case character and uses a pattern matching approach (Yin, 2009).

Case descriptions The supplier/retailer dyads’ characteristics are shown in Table I. They are named after each retail chain; the daily groceries dyad, the home decoration dyad, the non-food dyad and the sports dyad. The logistics performance management practices are

The sport shoe sales organisation is an important brand supplier to the sports retail chain, which in turn is the largest Swedish customer. This relationship is one of the first supplier relationships that the sports retail chain developed in terms of

logistics. Traditionally, the industry is sales-driven and dominated by category managers

Forecasts are transmitted to the Swedish sport shoe sales organisation, which has several supply chain actors before the Chinese manufacturer. Orders are automatically generated and transmitted to the Nordic distri-

bution center, which delivers to the Swedish distribution center. The business processes and the logistics knowledge are under development

logistics manager, key account supply chain manager

Sport shoe sales organisation:

2,100 items, design-driven products with an important brand

Sports chain: supply chain manager, logistician

Sports dyad

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The non-food retail chain sends forecasts and daily inventory records to the Swedish supplier, which operates a VMI solution with this retailer. The supplier applies both MTS and MTO and handles the transportation to the distribution center. The business processes are mature, efficient, and collaborative

The chemical manufacturer is the second largest supplier to the non-food retail chain, who in turn is a large and important customer. The actors have a long-term relationship on a company but not a personal level, with contracts and shared logistics projects

600 items, branded products with seasonal variation

Chemical manufacturer: sales manager, supply chain manager

Non-food chain: purchasing manager, purchaser

Non-food dyad

Aggregated six-month forecasts and monthly orders are transmitted to the Turkish manufacturer by e-mail. MTO is done with four weeks’ lead-time. There is monthly, outsourced transport to the Swedish distribution center. The business processes are fairly mature but not collaborative; the actors do not have good knowledge of each other’s processes

The textiles manufacturer is a strategic partner supplier to the home decoration retail chain, who in turn is one of four key account customers. The relationship is long-term on a company but not a personal level.

Home decoration chain: logistics manager

Many successions of purchasers have led to little trust and collaboration in the relationship

150 items, design-driven products with the chain’s own brand

Textiles manufacturer: sales manager

Home decoration dyad

The confectionery manufacturer is a tactical partner supplier to the daily groceries retail chain, who in turn is an A customer. There is a long-term relationship both on a company and personal level, with shared logistics projects and an EDI connection

The retailer exchanges forecast information 3-4 times per year with the Swedish supplier. Daily order planning, to a large extent based on automatic replenishment, is transferred to the supplier by EDI. Picking takes place day 2, then outsourced transportation to the distribution centers. The business processes are mature, efficient, and collaborative

100 items with an important brand

replenishment manager, supply chain manager, planner, manager order support

Confectionery manufacturer:

Daily groceries chain:

Daily groceries dyad

Logistics manager

Relationship

respondents

respondents

processes

Products

Business

Supplier

Retailer

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Table I. Overview and characteristics of the four supplier/retailer dyads

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described in Table II, together with collaboration and logistics performance level. The use of tables to display and summarise case study descriptions is recommended by Barratt et al. (2011).

Result and discussion Exploring logistics performance management practices Characteristics. The dyads’ characteristics split them into two groups. The daily groceries and non-food dyads have high logistics performance demands (derived from the stores), mature business processes, collaborative performance management, and high perceived performance levels. The home decoration and sports dyads have lower logistics performance demands (not expressed by the stores), less mature business processes, less collaborative performance management, and lower perceived performance levels. The sports dyad especially highlights the large number of small stores, with unclear logistics performance demand and low logistics competency as possible reasons. The studied retail chains are dominant actors in their respective industries, which may indicate that logistics demand and performance are generally lower in home decorating and sports than in daily groceries and non-food retail chains. Selecting metrics. The literature review showed many possible metrics (e.g. Theodoras et al., 2005; Lorentz and Lounela, 2011). The metrics that are found in this study are on-time delivery, service level, lead time and damages. Few metrics are used in the cases, which corresponds to the recommendations from Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010). Furthermore, surprisingly little interest in environmental performance metrics is found, contrary to the findings of Fernie et al. (2010) and Wiese et al. (2012). In the daily groceries retail chain, service level is the central metric, in accordance with Theodoras et al. (2005). In the home decoration and sports retail chains, there is instead a clear focus on on-time delivery from the suppliers. This can be interpreted as a desire to follow up on the suppliers’ reliability rather than to select the more customer-focused service level metric. Also, in the non-food retail chain, on-time delivery from the supplier is in focus, which is a paradox when VMI is applied. By definition, the supplier then has a freedom to replenish the inventory when it suits them, as long as the agreed on service level is held. This is in accordance with the findings of Brewer and Speh (2001), who mentioned difficulties and importance in linking metrics to customer value. This study has provided evidence for their claim. Defining metrics. The only dyad that clearly defines their metric in writing is the daily groceries dyad, which follows an industry standard. In the other chains, definitions had to be discovered during the interviews. Unclear and differing metrics definitions between the actors correspond to earlier findings by Lohman et al. (2004), Forslund and Jonsson (2007), and Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010). If metrics definitions are studied in detail, one can see that a number of measurement objects exist: retail package, order, order line, order volume, value and item. The measurement points found are delivered, accessible for delivery, arrived and invoiced. The time units found are day, week-based delivery window, and in the non-food retail chain, there is a move towards hour. In the sports retail chain, a time unit is not yet decided. Different functions have different demands, and furthermore, logistics work with different time units than category management, similar to the findings of Schramm-Klein and Morschett (2006). The comparison in the dyads are ordered, acknowledged, and

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Table II. The logistics performance management processes, collaboration and performance levels in the four supplier/retailer dyads

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Automatic data

R & S: Due to level,

level S: Automatic data

just been joint

of the performance

similarities

supplier-specific

cent service

retailer-specific

actors groceries

complemented

Daily, weekly,

management

3-4

performance

Historically,

is perceived

have

ERP

times/year.

reporting

currently

Logistics

feedback

weekly,

action

large

daily

and

and

per

R:

Notes: R: retailer, S: supplier

Logistics performance level

Collaboration management

in logistics

Analysing/ acting

performance

Measuring

Logistics

performance

management

213

Table II.

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notified. None of the companies compare to customers’ wished delivery time, which would be another way of increasing the customer value of metrics (Brewer and Speh,

2001).

Setting targets. The daily groceries dyad has shared targets, as recommended by Holmberg (2000). Targets vary between the actors within the home decoration and non-food dyads. Most companies have general, non-specific targets, similar to what was found by Forslund and Jonsson (2007) among manufacturing companies. In the sports dyad, no targets are set. Measuring. Measuring is most often a company-internal issue. Only in the daily groceries dyad is there a shared measurement method for logistics performance management. It specifies performance metrics definitions, measurement, analysis, improvement work and role division, and enables similar practices in all business relations. The non-food dyad conducts a lot of manual performance data capturing, and wishes that POS data were used more frequently for automatic replenishment. In all dyads, limitations were found among the ERP systems’ capabilities in creating efficient measurement reports, and Excel is a complementary solution. This is similar to the indications from manufacturers (Forslund and Jonsson, 2007, 2010). Manual reporting can be related to un-standardised and low-frequency reports, which may delay analysis, improvement actions, and collaboration. In the sports dyad, the actors even disagree whether they feed back reports to each other or not. Many possibilities for improvement exist in measuring. Analysing/acting. Analysis is a poorly conducted activity, just as found by Forslund and Jonsson (2007) among manufacturers. Less priority for analysis can happen for at least two different reasons. In the daily groceries dyad, the actors mean that the performance levels are so high and stable that no analysis is required. The sports dyad on the other hand is in a phase of establishment where the business processes are not yet stable, and analysis is considered of low importance. When the business processes are either functioning poorly or functioning well, analysis is not a priority. In the home decorating and non-food dyads, analysis is a company-internal activity. This is in line with the findings of Forslund and Jonsson (2010), who showed that those dyads that had common analysis and improvement actions perceived higher logistics performance levels than those dyads that did not. This may imply lower performance levels in home decorating and non-food industries.

Lessons learned Lessons learned can be in the shape of problems and best-practices. Two problems or obstacles with logistics performance management, recognised from manufacturing company research, were found. In three dyads; home decoration, non-food and sports, difficulties were found in establishing a collaborative culture (Table II). This is an obstacle described by Brewer and Speh (2001). Little or no collaboration was going on. One concrete sign of this were differences in defining metrics which were discovered during the interviews, which indicates that they were not discussed previously. Another was the lack of performance feedback between the actors. In the non-food dyad, the actors even disagree whether they do analysis and action collaboratively or not. Another problem, lack of trust in the other actor (Brewer and Speh, 2001; Forslund and Jonsson, 2009) was expressed. This was mainly related to the frequent changes or

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successions in purchasers in the home decoration chain, which implied that no trust on a personal level was built up with the textiles manufacturer. This in turn hindered the development of collaboration in logistics performance management. A third problem was not mentioned as a problem in logistics performance management previously. In the sports retail chain, the internal collaboration between logistics and category management implies practical problems. Both functions make decisions that affect logistics performance management. They have different meetings, documents, and agreements with the supplier, and lack knowledge about each other’s work. This can act as an obstacle to collaborative logistics performance management and implies lower performance levels. Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari (2010) found it problematic to study logistics aspects in retailing companies without considering decisions in category management. Collaboration both within and between companies seems to be important, which is in accord with previous findings in studies of retailing companies (Lindblom and Olkkonen, 2006; Schramm-Klein and Morschett, 2006; Hamister, 2011). No identified study specified obstacles for logistics performance management in retail, and this study has, with its exploratory approach, just indicated some obstacles in retail chains. The industry standard for logistics performance management found in the daily groceries dyad is lifted up as a best-practice. It has developed over 15 years, which is a sign of maturity in logistics performance management in the industry. The standard is spread to companies and managers through seminars and web pages. It is perceived as important for obtaining the high logistics performance levels in the daily groceries industry.

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A continued research agenda Some suggestions for continued research have emerged along this study. State-of-the-art descriptions of logistics performance management. This study was of an exploratory nature and showed logistics performance management practices in four retail industries. It indicated large differences in practices between the studied industries, corresponding to the observations of Amato and Amato (2009). It would be relevant to study the practices on a broader basis and to conduct more descriptive mapping within and across retail industries. This could possibly be done in collaboration with industry organisations. With the current study as a basis, surveys could be developed and conducted. Decisions have to be made concerning which actor that should be surveyed, suppliers and/or retailers’ headquarters. Furthermore, respondents must be carefully identified; it is not obvious which manager has the responsibility for logistics performance management. State-of-the-art descriptions are important to understand practices, suggest industry standards and provide benchmarking possibilities. A study with a quantitative approach can clarify the existence of best-practice and obstacles, and furthermore, can measure the impact of different obstacles on collaboration and performance levels. Such a study should also have theoretical relevance, as no identified study described obstacles in logistics performance management in retail. International comparisons. This study has provided early exploratory results based on Swedish companies. It would be interesting to conduct comparative studies in other national settings after having conducted the broad, state-of-the-art study above. This could create understanding, reveal best-practices, and improve understanding about the global competitive situation in which retailers act.

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Exploring the interface with retail stores. In this study, the interface between supplier and retailer headquarters has been in focus. It would be relevant to conduct an exploratory study in the interface between retailer headquarters and the stores. A similar, dyadic case-based methodology could be applied. Differences can be expected based on, e.g. the type of integration in that interface. It would further highlight problems in linking metrics to end consumer value. Metrics such as shelf availability is increasing in importance (Papakiriakopoulos and Pramatari, 2010). Such a study complements the current study to encompass a whole supply chain, which would be a theoretical contribution. Combating obstacles for performance management in retail. This study has identified some problems, challenges, and obstacles to logistics performance management. One example is the difficulty in developing a collaborative culture. It was beyond the purpose of this study to look for approaches combating these obstacles, but this would be of theoretical and even practical relevance. The method for such a study would be a continued dyadic case study.

Conclusions, contributions, and limitations Not only marketing aspects but also logistics aspects are important components in retailer strategy towards competitive advantage (Lorentz and Lounela, 2011). The first purpose of this study was to explore logistics performance management practices and lessons learned in some supplier/retailer dyads across retail industries. Four dyads are described, indicating that there are large differences in practices which may be related to, e.g. the respective industries’ characteristics. Both dyads that operate successfully and those that are just starting up and developing their logistics performance management practices have been included. Some problems, challenges, and obstacles were indicated; lack of trust, difficulty developing a collaborative culture, difficulty relating metrics to customer value and a lack of IT support for data capturing and reporting. These obstacles are similar to those found in manufacturing companies, but the company-internal collaboration with the category management function seems to be a retail-specific obstacle. An interesting good example was found in the industry standard for logistics performance management in the daily groceries dyad. A second purpose is to suggest a continued research agenda for logistics performance management across retail industries. State-of-the-art descriptions, international comparisons, exploring the interface with the stores and combating of identified obstacles were found to be interesting topics of continued study. The theoretical contribution is an initial step in the expansion of knowledge about logistics performance management into retail. Illustrating descriptions, problems and good examples are provided, expanding the knowledge from, e.g. Theodoras et al. (2005) with a recent, Swedish study across industries and with a dyadic approach. The dyadic approach, encouraged by, e.g. Lindblom and Olkkonen (2006) and Hamister (2011), creates unique knowledge and reveals differing opinions between supplier and retailer, which had not been observed with another research approach. A research agenda enables further proceedings. The managerial contribution includes insights in the shape of descriptions and lessons learned in different retail industries. By benchmarking the best-practice from the daily groceries industry, or trying to prevent indicated problems, both suppliers and retailers can apply practices that may lead to improved logistics performance. Awareness about the retailer-internal problem in collaboration with category management seems particularly relevant.

The limitations of the study are mainly related to the small number of cases, but as the purpose is exploratory rather than descriptive, this should be acceptable. Established procedures (Yin, 2009; Barratt et al., 2011) are followed throughout the data collection and analysis and are described in the method section, which should lead to valid and reliable conclusions.

Logistics

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Further reading

 

measurement in supply chain management”, The IUP Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. VI No. 3 & 4, pp. 41-56. Menachof, D.A., Bourlakis, M.A. and Makios, T. (2009), Order lead-time of grocery retailers in

 

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No. 5, pp. 349-358. Papakiriakopoulos, D. and Pramatari, K. (2010), “Collaborative performance measurement in

 

supply chain”, Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 110 No. 9, pp. 1297-1318.

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Review of Retail, Distribution & Consumer Research, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 277-296.

Sheu, C., Yen, H. and Chae, B. (2006), “Determinants of supplier-retailer collaboration: evidence

from an international study”, International Journal of Operations & Production

Management, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 24-49.

Soltani, E., van der Meer, R.B., Gennard, J. and Williams, M.T. (2004), “A study of UK-based

TQM-driven organisations”, The TQM Magazine, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 403-417.

Theodoras, D., Laios, L. and Moschuris, S. (2005), “Improving customer service performance

within a food supplier-retailers context, International Journal of Retail & Distribution

Wang, Y., Potter, A., Mason, R. and Naim, M. (2008), “Aligning transport performance measures

Journal of Logistics: Research and Application, Vol. 11 No. 6, pp. 457-473.

Wiese, A., Kellner, J., Lietke, B., Toporowski, W. and Zielke, S. (2012), “Sustainability in retailing

– a summative content analysis”, International Journal of Retailing & Distribution

Management, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 318-335.

Yin, R. (2009), Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Sage Publishing, London.

Forslund, H. (2010), “ERP systems’ capabilities for supply chain performance management”,

Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 110 No. 3, pp. 351-367.

About the author Helena Forslund is a Professor of Logistics at Linnaeus University, Sweden. She received her PhD from Institute of Technology at Linko¨ping University, Sweden. Dr Forslund has published journal articles in, e.g. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications, International Journal of Productivity & Performance Management and Industrial Management & Data Systems. She is on the Editorial Boards of International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management and of Industrial Management & Data Systems. Her research interests are in the areas of supply chain management, performance management, process management and quality management. She is also Director for the Master’s program in Business Process and Supply Chain Management at Linnaeus University. Helena Forslund can be contacted at: helena.forslund@lnu.se

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