The role of information connectivity in making flexible logistics programs successful

  • Closs D
  • Swink M
  • Nair A
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Abstract

Purpose - Aims to conceptualize flexible logistics programs and information connectivity as two important aspects of logistics flexibility and to examine the role of information connectivity in making flexible logistics programs successful. Design/methodology/approach - A hierarchical regression model is used to test the research hypotheses. Findings - The results suggest that flexible logistics programs are strongly related to all performance dimensions, and that information connectivity fully mediates the relationship between flexible logistics programs and asset productivity and partially mediates the relationship between flexible logistics programs and delivery competence. Research limitations/implications - Future theoretical research can develop a detailed conceptualization of logistics flexibility. In this paper, the constructs are developed utilizing an exploratory factor analysis approach. Future research utilizing confirmatory factor analysis approach will allow a better validation of the performance constructs. The paper also considers that studies that link flexible logistics program, information connectivity and performance in a structural equations modeling framework will further enrich one's understanding. In this framework, flexible logistics programs can be considered as a latent variable comprising several individual resource level flexibility measures. Practical implications - This research highlights the need for organizational structure, role dependencies and a proactive preparedness in terms of managerial policies. The concept of special programs for accommodating changing customer requirements exemplifies the importance for a firm to be aware of shifting demand characteristics and the ability to tailor service delivery accordingly. Originality/value - An examination of the research questions sheds some light on logistics flexibility as a critical component of logistics capability. With this study logistics flexibility is characterized in terms of flexible logistics programs and information connectivity and hypotheses are tested that link these aspects with performance. It is believed that this enhances and enriches the existing logistics literature and presents avenues for further investigation. Meanwhile, testing the link presents managerial insights for prudent decision making. An investigation of the role of information connectivity provides directions for firms to align their information system strategies with their flexibility-oriented planning decisions. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Flexible manufacturing systems
  • Performance management
  • Supply chain management

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Authors

  • David J. Closs

  • Morgan Swink

  • Anand Nair

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