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Article
Embracing Sustainability: Information Technology and the Strategic Leveraging of Operations in Third Party Logistics
International Journal of Operations and Production Management (2010)
  • Patrick I. Jeffers, Georgia Southern University
Abstract
Purpose
– Resource‐based view proposes that possessing valuable, rare information technology (IT) resources that competitors cannot easily reproduce or replicate provides a competitive advantage, but mere ownership of such resources is no guarantee of competitiveness. There is a need also for a strategy paradigm that embraces the wider concerns of social and environmental sustainability as pressing issues of the twenty‐first century. “Operations‐as‐marketing” is a proven value‐chain based paradigm that calls for transforming operations from merely focusing on internal efficiency into a potent strategic marketing weapon, precisely targeted toward fulfilling customers' needs. Many leading companies have discovered latent economic benefits from adopting the tenets of corporate sustainability. By first establishing that corporate sustainability translates commercially into customer‐centric, lean productivity, the paper examines the potential mediating role of an “operations‐as‐marketing” strategy in framing IT investment decisions.

Design/Methodology/Approach
– The research uses path analysis, involving a sample of third‐party logistics (3PL) firms.

Findings
– Evidence supports the leading contention, thus outlining a customer‐centrism approach to enhancing the financial performance of 3PL firms.

Research Limitations/Implications
– The research demonstrates a proven decision‐making framework for guiding IT investments that can allow proactive nurturing of a competitive advantage. The main drawback is sample size, although established guidelines suggest adequacy and several diagnostics provided reassurance against any major statistical drawbacks.

Practical Implications
– In the face of globalization and other social and environmental issues, the model suggests three key areas of focus for IT investments in proactively enhancing firm performance. It should prove a useful extension to existing strategy literature in the face of an impending paradigm shift.

Originality/Value
– The paper makes two important contributions: it represents one of the first empirical studies to apply the “operations‐as‐marketing” paradigm to the strategic objectives of IT investment decisions, and it addresses a notable void in extant research by exploring a possible strategic link between IT and market orientation.
Keywords
  • Communication technologies,
  • Technology led strategy,
  • Lean production,
  • Value chain,
  • Economic sustainability
Disciplines
Publication Date
2010
DOI
10.1108/01443571011024629
Citation Information
Patrick I. Jeffers. "Embracing Sustainability: Information Technology and the Strategic Leveraging of Operations in Third Party Logistics" International Journal of Operations and Production Management Vol. 30 Iss. 3 (2010) p. 260 - 287 ISSN: 0144-3577
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/patrick_i_jeffers/2/