Journal of Business Logistics
Third-party logistics (3PL) user-provider integration is attracting increasing attention from both academics and practitioners. However, it remains unclear how best to adopt governance mechanisms to safeguard 3PL user-provider integration (e.g., information sharing and process coordination). Based on transaction cost economics and social exchange theory, this study examined the individual and joint effects of contractual (e.g., detailed contracts and contract application) and relational governance (e.g., trust and relational norms) on 3PL user-provider integration for operational performance. We conducted a survey involving 247 3PL service users and analyzed the conceptual model using the method of structural equation modeling. The results showed that process coordination improved operational performance, while information sharing alone did not significantly improve operational performance but complemented the role of process coordination in improving operational performance. In addition, having detailed contracts was positively related to process coordination, while contract application was positively related to information sharing. Trust was not significantly related to information sharing or process coordination, while relational norms were positively related to both. Finally, three joint effects on 3PL user-provider integration were found. Two of them were substitutional (detailed contracts and relational norms; contract application and trust), and one was complementary (detailed contracts and trust). This study makes several theoretical contributions and provides novel guidelines for 3PL relationship development.
Industrial Management & Data Systems
The purpose of this paper is to investigate effects of two integrative mechanisms of third-party logistics (3PL) integration (i.e. information sharing and process coordination) between users and providers on relationship satisfaction, and further explores how partnership-surrounding (e.g. legal unprotectability) and partnership-specific barriers (e.g. measurement difficulty and cooperation difficulty) influence 3PL integration in the context of Chinese 3PL practices.
Using data collected from 247 3PL users in China, this study uses the structural equation modeling method to empirically examine the relationship among partnership-surrounding/specific barriers, 3PL integration and relationship satisfaction.
The results show that information sharing has no significant effect on relationship satisfaction, while process coordination has a positive effect on relationship satisfaction and partially mediates the relationship between information sharing and relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, as partnership-specific barrier, measurement difficulty and cooperation difficulty are negatively related to information sharing and process coordination. Surprisingly, as partnership-surrounding barrier, legal unprotectability is not significantly related to information sharing but is positively related to process coordination.
As a comprehensive study on 3PL user-provider relationship in China, this study extends existing 3PL literature by providing evidence about the importance of 3PL integration and different types of barriers to 3PL integration, also providing managerial implications for 3PL users, providers, law and regulation makers about how to better implement 3PL integration in China.