The development of outbound logistics services in the automotive industry: A logistics service provider's view

Mervi Rajahonka*, Anu Bask

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The automotive industry has been studied extensively, but few studies focus on outbound logistics in automotive supply chains, or on the logistics service provider-s (LSP-s) point of view. Furthermore, there is hardly any research on service model innovation in LSPs. The purpose of this paper is to narrow these research gaps. Design/methodology/approach - The analysis is based on a single-case study - an LSP that specializes in services for the automotive industry. The paper examines the company-s service models and their development over time. Findings - The findings show how the case company has moved towards multifaceted service models through a number of radical and incremental innovations. Moreover, it has used the same methods in developing all its new service models, and has applied modularity principles in service innovation to achieve better process efficiency and service effectiveness. Research limitations/implications - The rather narrow focus of this study - automotive logistics in a specific area - decreases the generalizability of the findings beyond this context. However, the single-case approach offers in-depth insights, and the analytical frameworks developed herein for service models is applicable in other contexts. Practical implications - The analysis may help LSPs and service companies in their service design and development. The use of modularity principles makes it easier to offer mass-customized services and to develop efficient processes. Originality/value - This study narrows a research gap in examining outbound logistics services in the automotive supply chain and focussing on the LSP-s perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-737
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Automotive industry
  • Logistics service provider
  • Modularity
  • Outbound logistics
  • Service innovation
  • Service model


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