A META-ANALYSIS OF LOGISTICS CUSTOMER SERVICE
RUDOLF LEUSCHNER Rutgers University FRANÇOIS CHARVET Northeastern University DALE S. ROGERS Rutgers University
Logistics customer service has received considerable attention over the past several decades. Evidence exists that superior logistics customer service leads to better overall ﬁrm performance. Yet mixed ﬁndings were observed, and this relationship has been tested across multiple operationalizations and diverse industry settings, which may contribute to these mixed ﬁndings. There is thus a need for a systematic analysis that examines all of the prior evidence in an aggregate inquiry of logistics customer service. Meta-analysis, which is a relatively under-utilized methodology in supply chain management research, is applied to provide a quantitative examination of 37 sample studies and an assessment of overall population effects. The main contribution of this research is that we statistically aggregate and summarize existing research on logistics customer service. In addition, moderators that affect the relationship between logistics customer service and ﬁrm performance are examined. The results provide evidence that logistics customer service has a signiﬁcant positive relationship with ﬁrm performance; however, signiﬁcant heterogeneity was detected. This points to areas in need of additional research in order to obtain generalizable evidence. Keywords: transportation, distribution, and logistics; performance measurement; business-to-business marketing; meta-analysis; archival research; 3PL
Logistics customer service has received considerable attention in the literature for several decades (La Londe and Zinszer, 1976). Companies use their logistics network to deliver products to their customers, and therefore, it can signiﬁcantly impact ﬁrm performance. As such, logistics customer service is the output of a ﬁrm’s logistics system. It is a measurement of the “Seven Rs” and as a consequence creates customer satisfaction (Bienstock, Mentzer & Bird, 1997; Mentzer, Flint & Hult, 2001; Mentzer, Gomez & Krapfel, 1989). They describe a company’s ability to deliver the right product in the right amount at the right place at the right time for the right customer in the right condition at the right price (Coyle, Bardi &
Langley, 2002; Stock & Lambert, 2001). The implication is that a signiﬁcant part of the value of a product is created by logistics customer service, a concept that is also supported by the Service-Dominant Logic of Marketing (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). A traditional view of logistics is focused on the creation of time and place utilities (Perreault & Russ, 1976). The service that is provided to the customer through logistics has been deﬁned as a component of or a substitute for logistics value (Langley & Holcomb, 1992). Firms can use logistics customer service as a differentiating element to compete more effectively in the marketplace (Yazdanparast, Manuj & Swartz, 2010). The importance attached to logistics customer service is reﬂected in the prominent role played by this
Journal of Supply Chain Management
stream of research within the supply chain management ﬁeld (e.g., Georgi, Darkow & Kotzab, 2010). While most of the literature found on this topic is in logistics (e.g., Daugherty, Stank & Ellinger, 1998; Mentzer et al., 1989; Novack, Rinehart & Langley, 1994), researchers in other ﬁelds have studied this subject as well. Logistics customer service has been directly linked to the marketing mix, where it is conceptualized as a large part of the place component (e.g., Innis & Londe, 1994; Sterling & Lambert, 1987). Operations management scholars consider delivery performance as one of the key capabilities that can determine a ﬁrm’s success (e.g., Swink, Narasimhan & Wang, 2007; Ward, McCreery, Ritzman & Sharma, 1998). The importance of this topic has been stated before. Establishing the link between logistics customer...
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