Title: An analysis of strategic groups in the third-party logistics industry

Authors: Roberta Scarsi; Riccardo Spinelli

Addresses: Department of Economics and Business Studies, University of Genoa (Italy), Via Vivaldi 5, 16126 Genova, Italy ' Department of Economics and Business Studies, University of Genoa (Italy), Via Vivaldi 5, 16126 Genova, Italy

Abstract: Third-party logistics is a very heterogeneous industry, moving towards a progressive concentration and services differentiation at the top, but still made up by companies that differ in terms of size, supplied services, and background. This structural variety offers the starting point for a grouping analysis, which aims to identify strategic groups among major players in the industry. 199 third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) worldwide are analysed applying a two-step lustering technique to a wide set of variables which refer to the main strategic drivers for 3PLs. Three strategic groups emerge from the analysis. The first one includes major global players; the second one encompasses less advanced local providers; the third one embraces a large number of firms which are experiencing a transition from simple to more complex and internationally oriented business models.

Keywords: third-party logistics; 3PL; logistics industry; logistics service providers; strategic groups; two-step cluster analysis; grouping analysis; global players; local providers; transitional providers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLSM.2017.085224

International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, 2017 Vol.27 No.4, pp.466 - 486

Received: 21 Jan 2016
Accepted: 03 Jun 2016

Published online: 21 Jun 2017 *

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