Title: The mediating role of outsourcing in the relationship between speed, flexibility and performance: a Saudi Arabian study

Authors: Mario Ferrer; Ricardo Santa

Addresses: College of Business, Al Faisal University, Al Zahrawi Street, Al Maather, P.O. Box 50927, Al Takhassusi Rd., Riyadh 11533, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ' College of Business, ICESI University, Cl. 18 #122-135, Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia

Abstract: Supply chain operatives that want to grow and develop competitive advantage must be able to adapt their operations to the dynamic market variables and effectively meet their customers' demand. Supply chain competitive advantage can be attained by excelling at quality, responsiveness, innovativeness and skilled workforce. The preliminary findings from the tested hypothesised theoretical model suggest that despite being affected by a skills shortage, Saudi Arabian supply chain operatives tend to keep their logistics operations in-house, to achieve speed and flexibility, rather than outsourcing specialised 3PL firms for more efficient execution. The lack of outsourcing practices seems to go against international trends, where an increasing amount of partnerships are being formed between companies with limited supply chain skills and 3PL firms with the experience to manage these new challenges. The heavy reliance of Saudi supply chain operatives on do-it-yourself strategies is negatively impacting on service levels, competitive advantage, profitability and performance.

Keywords: supply chain; performance; third-party logistics; 3PL; outsourcing; speed; flexibility; Saudi Arabia.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2017.087306

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2017 Vol.22 No.3, pp.395 - 412

Received: 08 Feb 2016
Accepted: 29 Aug 2016

Published online: 12 Oct 2017 *

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