nt. J. Supply Chain and Operations Resilience, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2016
Copyright © 2016 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Shaping the international logistics strategy in the
Gino Marchet, Marco Melacini,
Sara Perotti and Elena Tappia*
Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering,
Politecnico di Milano,
Via Raffaele Lambruschini 4/B, 20156, Milan, Italy
Abstract: Internationalisation has increasingly become a strategic issue for
companies. Ample evidence confirms the key role of logistics in supporting
the company internationalisation process, especially in today’s context
characterised by growing demand in speed and flexibility. Setting the logistics
strategy in line with corporate objectives for each export area over time is
crucial and represents a challenge for logistics directors worldwide. The aim of
this paper is to address this gap by providing empirical-based evidence on how
the international logistics strategy should be shaped accordingly with company
internationalisation choices. The research is based on case studies with a
sample of 14 exports areas of six companies. Results offer a new approach with
respect to previous contributions that studied specific logistics issues
separately. From a practical viewpoint, managers can benefit from a full picture
of both the variables to be set up and the potential alternatives to be selected
when designing the international logistics strategy.
Keywords: internationalisation process; international logistics strategy;
multiple case studies.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Marchet, G., Melacini, M.,
Perotti, S. and Tappia, E. (2016) ‘Shaping the international logistics strategy
in the internationalisation process’, Int. J. Supply Chain and Operations
Resilience, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.72–93.
Biographical notes: Gino Marchet is a Full Professor at Department of
Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano,
Italy since 2004. He currently lectures on logistics. He is the Director of the
‘warehouse design’ executive course at MIP, Politecnico di Milano business
school. Since 2003 he has been a Director of the Material Handling
Observatory at Politecnico di Milano, and he is currently a Director of
the Contract Logistics Observatory, whose aim is to investigate logistics
outsourcing features and trends. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory
Board of the International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics
Management and he is a reviewer for a number of international scientific
journals. He has written and contributed to numerous textbooks and academic
Shaping the international logistics strategy 73
Marco Melacini is an Associate Professor at Department of Management,
Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy. He
currently lectures on logistics. Since 2007 he has been the Director of the
Physical Distribution Course for Executives at MIP, the Politecnico di Milano
Business School. He was involved in over 20 research/technology transfer
projects, and he has been scientific responsible for the Contract Logistics
Observatory, at Politecnico di Milano since 2011. His current research interests
include: warehousing and material handling system design, global logistics
networks, supply chain risk management and supply chain sustainability. He is
an author of over 100 publications, including contributions in international
scientific journals, international books and conference proceedings.
Sara Perotti is an Assistant Professor at Department of Management,
Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milan, Italy. She gained
her MSc in Mechanical Engineering, major in Transportation with highest
honours at Politecnico di Milano. In 2010, she gained her PhD at Politecnico di
Milano, where she currently lectures and undertakes research on logistics,
warehousing and transport. Her present research fields are warehousing and
material handling system design, information and communication technology
(ICT) for freight transport, and supply chain sustainability. She is a member
of the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Physical
Distribution & Logistics Management, and she is a reviewer for a number of
international scientific journals. She is an author of numerous publications,
including contributions in international scientific journals and international
Elena Tappia is a Research Fellow at Department of Management, Economics
and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy. She held her Master of
Science in Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering cum laude at
Politecnico di Milano in 2010. In 2014, she gained her PhD cum laude at
Politecnico di Milano, where she currently lectures and undertakes research on
logistics. She is an author of a number of publications, including contributions
in international scientific journals and international conference proceedings.
Her main current research interests include automated warehousing systems,
logistics and supply chain management.
This paper is a revised and expanded version of a paper entitled ‘Setting the
international logistics strategy: empirical investigation of its evolutionary
stages’ presented at Advances in Production Management Systems (APMS)
2014 International Conference, Ajaccio, France, 20–24 September 2014.
In recent years, the international trade has grown significantly. The World Trade Report
(WTO) 2014 suggests that the percentage of export growth from the USA and European
Union to the rest of the world increased in the period 2010Q1–2014Q1 of about 18% and
25%, respectively. In particular, the export rates to the fastest growing regions such as
Middle East and Asia are quite significant (4.5% and 4.1%, respectively). Technological
advances in transport and communication systems and the reduction in trade barriers are
considered as the most significant factors that may have contributed to this remarkable
international trade expansion in the last 30 years (e.g., Straube et al., 2008).
Today every company is somehow part of one (or more) global supply chain(s).
Companies may face the international challenge by tackling several issues, such as
foreign direct investments (FDI), international sales and marketing, international sourcing
and logistics. The academic literature firstly focused on explaining the reasons behind
company internationalisation (e.g., Hennart, 1982) and then used the above-mentioned
issues related to the international challenge as the perspectives to study such process.
Previous contributions widely agree that the growth in the international trade implies that
supply chains become more international and complex (Monczka and Trent, 2006), and
that logistics represents the backbone of the internationalisation process (Peterson et al.,
2000; Straube et al., 2008). The important impact of the logistics performance on the
customer service is also recognised (e.g., Simchi-Levi et al., 2009; Straube et al., 2008).
From a practitioners’ perspective, there is a close relationship between company
internationalisation choices and logistics processes. On the one hand, logistics is a
key enabler for company internationalisation. On the other hand, internationalisation
contributes to increase logistics network complexity. Especially in today’s context
characterised by growing demand in speed and flexibility, companies are aware that
logistics strategy is a key component of their overall strategy, and has to ensure the
achievement of corporate objectives. According to the survey results provided by Straube
et al. (2008), more than 80% of respondents see logistics as one success factor for
internationalisation, and logistics processes need to be performed in close interaction with
other corporate functions. A number of factors creating further complexity do exist. First,
business objectives (e.g., in terms of commitment to growth and market penetration) and
factors that impact on logistics performance (e.g., infrastructures and logistics market)
vary over time and are country-related. Second, the logistics strategy is composed of
different variables involving both tactical (e.g., inventory management) and strategic
decisions (e.g., network design) that are critical to set up and have interdependencies
(e.g., Schmidt and Wilhelm, 2000). In summary, setting the most suitable logistics
strategy that is in line with corporate objectives for each export area over time is crucial
and represent a challenge for logistics directors worldwide.
Despite the significance and the topicality of the problem, the internationalisation
process from a logistics perspective has not been fully investigated so far in the literature.
Specifically, the international logistics strategies have been examined by studying
individual aspects separately, such as logistics strategies for entering new markets
(e.g., Straube et al., 2008) and supply chain planning centralisation for multinational
companies (e.g., Jonsson et al., 2013; Melacini et al., 2011). Additionally, previous
contributions considered the company international logistics strategies from a static
perspective, without investigating its evolution over time. Moreover, the generalisability
of their results seems quite restricted, as they often focused the analysis on few
companies (e.g., Jonsson et al., 2013; Simchi-Levi et al., 2009).
Our research intends to overcome the identified gap. Specifically, the study aims at
shedding light on how companies align over time their international logistics strategy
(i.e., in terms of single variables involved) with the internationalisation choices. This
research offers a valuable contribution from both the academic and industry perspectives.
From the academic viewpoint, it helps overcome the approach adopted in extant
contributions where individual logistics issues were studied separately, without providing
a holistic perspective. From a practical viewpoint, a clear understanding of the main
alternatives and variables to be set up may support managers to make informed decisions
when designing their international logistics strategy. Specifically, modelling the
Shaping the international logistics strategy 75
relationship between international choices and logistics strategy allows managers to
understand how to align such two components and redesign their logistics strategy over
time based on their business evolution.
The remainder of the paper is organised as follows. The next section summarises the
theoretical background. Afterwards, the research framework and questions are reported,
and findings are discussed. Finally, conclusions and limitations are drawn.
2 Literature review
Coherently with the aim of this paper, the theoretical background is hereinafter discussed
according to the two different issues involved, i.e., company internationalisation process
and company international logistics strategy. The first subsection summarises the key
contributions on the company internationalisation process, whereas the second
reviews the extant literature on the main logistics variables affected by company
2.1 Company internationalisation process
According to the extant literature, the entry modes into foreign markets can be classified
into two main types, i.e., equity or non-equity (e.g., Harzing, 2002). In the first case
(equity), the company acquires an existing local company or makes a green-field
investment and has to decide whether partially or wholly own the local enterprise (e.g.,
Hennart and Park, 1993). The plant or sales subsidiary opening belongs to this case. In
the second case (non-equity), the company exports via agents and/or licensing (e.g.,
The internationalisation process – and especially those factors that impact on this
decision – has received a considerable attention by previous contributions, and different
theories have been developed to explain the reasons behind company internationalisation,
such as the internalisation theory (Buckley and Casson, 1976), the transaction cost theory
(Hennart, 1982), and the eclectic paradigm (Dunning, 1980). Such theories are seen as
‘economic’. Another, yet consolidated, stream of research has been characterised as
‘behavioural’. According to this latter (i.e., behavioural), the internationalisation process
evolution is based on a sequence of incremental decisions and a gradual market learning.
The main contribution is represented by the Uppsala model. Proposed by Johanson and
Vahlne (1977), it is a behavioural and dynamic model that focuses on the development of
the individual company, and particularly on its gradual acquisition, integration, and use
of knowledge about foreign markets and operations, and on its successively increasing
commitment to foreign markets. According to the Uppsala model and other contributions
(e.g., Johanson and Wiedersheim-Paul, 1975), four progressive stages can be selected by
a company to sell products in foreign markets over time: no regular export activities,
export via independent agents, creation of sales subsidiary, and production
establishments. All stages in the internationalisation process can be explained using the
concepts of ‘state’ and ‘change’ aspects. The ‘state’ aspects refer to the foreign market
knowledge and commitment. The ‘change’ aspects explain the transition among the
stages of the internationalisation process, and consist in commitment decisions that can
strengthen the position in the foreign market, and in the learning process from the
experience of the current business activities. The ‘change’ and ‘state’ aspects affect each
other, so that a stronger position in the market and better performance lead to a higher
level of commitment and market knowledge.
A number of empirical studies have supported the Uppsala model and have indicated
that the internationalisation process as explained by this model has a positive impact on
performance (e.g., Barkema et al., 1996; Bello and Barksdale, 1986; Luo and Peng, 1999;
Sezen, 2008). Additionally, the Uppsala model has been progressively adjusted to explain
specific internationalisation processes (e.g., Camuffo et al., 2007), and further revised
(Johanson and Vahle, 2009). The revised model maintains its original basic structure,
especially in terms of ‘state’ and ‘change’ aspects and their mutual relationship, but
considers the fact that the internationalisation process is pursued within a network of
companies (e.g., local partners).
2.2 Company international logistics strategy
As Rushton et al. (2014) note, besides the increasing importance of distribution, logistics
and supply chain, a growth in the number of associated definitions has been progressively
registered. As such, the expression ‘international logistics strategy’ may refer to different
meanings in the literature. For instance, the early literature on global supply chains in the
‘90s, introduced such expression when referring to decisions related to facility location,
network design, production/distribution centralisation, postponement strategies along the
supply chain (e.g., Cooper, 1993; Schmidt and Wilhelm, 2000). Other authors have
referred to ‘international logistics strategy’ as the logistics strategy supporting company
international sales of finished products (e.g., Creazza et al., 2010; Straube et al., 2008;
Rushton et al., 2014). This latter connotation is coherent with the aim of the present
paper, and has been hereinafter adopted.
Although the topic of company international logistics strategy has been widely
tackled in the literature, a structured and hierarchical description of its building variables
has not been in-depth developed so far. As an example, Straube et al. (2008) considered
the ‘logistics planning’ as one of the steps of the company internationalisation process
that includes the definition of service levels, intended lead times, inventory policy,
network structure, capacity calculation, allocation of facilities (e.g., warehouses), IT
integration, decisions about logistics outsourcing, and preparation of tenders. According
to Rushton et al. (2014), it is possible to identify a list of key areas representing the major
components of distribution and logistics valid for most companies, namely: transport
(e.g., mode of transport and load planning), warehousing (e.g., number and size of
distribution depots), inventory (e.g., stock level), packaging (e.g., type of unit load) and
information (e.g., forecasting). In summary, a number of contributions do exist but they
are focused on individual aspects of the logistics strategy (e.g., Jonsson et al., 2013;
Melacini et al., 2011), without offering a holistic view.
For the purpose of this study, we reviewed the literature in order to identify the main
logistics decisions that may be affected by the company internationalisation choices. The
logistics variables found can be summarised as follows:
• logistics network design
• inventory planning centralisation level
Shaping the international logistics strategy 77
• transport planning
• level of control on logistics flows.
The review of the contributions for each variable is reported below. The proposed order
attempts to reproduce the mechanism of a typical decision-making process for setting the
international logistics strategy in the case the distribution channel and the service level
have been already defined. First, the company selects the trade terms with the buyer.
Once the logistics problem is fully defined, the company starts to design the logistics
network in order to send the goods from the warehouse of finished products to the
destination points in the export areas. In this process, the role to be assigned to logistics
service providers (LSP) has been taken into account. After this strategic decision, the
company addresses more ‘tactical’ decisions, i.e., related to inventory and transport
International commercial terms (Incoterms) represent the key indicators for the level
of control on logistics flows. They contribute to describe the company international
logistics strategy, as they affect the trade cost in global supply chains (Blanco and
Ponce Cueto, 2015). According to Blanco and Ponce Cueto (2015), the trade term
depends on the relationship between the seller and the local actor (i.e., buyer). A strategic
advantage can be gained by a company willing to facilitate the sale of its products by
assisting the importer in the shipment (David and Stewart, 2010). The company
positioning on the market in terms of internationalisation choices, sales volume regularity
and entity is also a key aspect. Small and beginning exporters often prefer that the buyer
organises transport (Malfliet, 2011).
Among the key variables defining the international logistics strategy, the literature
(e.g., Abrahamsson et al., 2003; Straube et al., 2008; Tracey et al., 2005) consistently
refers to the type of relationship with LSP. Besides, the role and impact of LSP can be
different based on the internationalisation choice (e.g., Straube et al., 2008). When a
company operates in different markets all over the world, it is crucial to identify properly
the suitable relationship to be established with the local suppliers, especially when they
provide strategic services such as logistics activities (Li et al., 2012). This is significant
especially in the early stage of the internationalisation process when LSP can have a
direct impact (i.e., positive or negative) on the company successful entry into the new
market (Sandberg and Abrahamsson, 2011).
The logistics network design is a strategic decision involved when shaping the
company international logistics strategy, and has a significant impact on the process
performance (e.g., Pero et al., 2010; Sezen, 2008). The design of global logistics
networks refers to the number, location and capacities of warehouses, and material flow
through the network (e.g., Chopra and Meindl, 2004; Creazza et al., 2010). The logistics
network design has been addressed by numerous studies, mainly using either
mathematical models, heuristic techniques, or simulation models (Chopra and Meindl,
2013; Creazza et al., 2010; Meixell and Gargeya, 2005). In their review, Meixell and
Gargeya (2005) offer a complete overview and classification of the models proposed in
Another key issue when defining the international logistics strategy consists in the
inventory planning centralisation level (e.g., Melacini et al., 2011). Although planning is
more critical to handle in case of inter-organisational supply chains, it represents an
important challenge also in internal supply chains (Forget et al., 2008). Specifically,
demand forecasting and inventory planning are particularly demanding for companies
selling their products in different foreign markets (Pirttila and Niemi, 1996; Rudberg and
West, 2008). In this case, a high inventory planning centralisation level implies that all
decisions are made by the headquarters. Conversely, a low centralisation level implies
that the subsidiaries are quite autonomous. Between these two cases, another intermediate
approach may be identified that implies a certain level of coordination (e.g., Pirttila and
Niemi, 1996; Rudberg and West, 2008). Previous contributions (e.g., Melacini et al.,
2011) also showed a strong correlation between the levels of internationalisation and
planning process centralisation: the higher the internationalisation of production and
procurement processes, the stronger the need for centralising the planning due to the
increase in logistics complexity.
Also the transport planning is a vital part of the international logistics strategy, and it
is strictly connected with the company internationalisation choices. Transport is a key
process in the distribution as it acts as a physical link between customers and suppliers
(e.g., Mason et al., 2007). Different transport planning approaches can be defined
depending on how the order delivery to the export areas is managed. Referring to the
literature, the existing approaches are not fully described. Only individual issues have
been studied separately in some papers, such as the transport mode. For example, Zeng
(2003) and Dallari et al. (2006) considered three global transport service categories:
airfreight, less than container load (LCL) shipping, and full container load (FCL)
shipping. A more recent study by Creazza et al. (2010) evaluated different international
logistics strategies mainly in terms of logistics network configuration and transport mode.
3 Research framework and questions
The literature review shows that both company internationalisation process and related
motivations have been widely studied (e.g., Buckley and Casson, 1976; Dunning, 1980;
Hennart, 1982). The stages along which a company may increase its international
expansion can be considered well-defined, as well as the description of the dynamics in
moving along the stages. At this regard, the Uppsala model (Johanson and Vahlne, 1977)
seems to be the most consolidated contribution. From this viewpoint, the main aspects
explaining the evolution of the internationalisation process are the company commitment
and continuous learning process.
Typically, the structure of the company internationalisation process implies, first,
making strategic decisions about the enter in a new market or the change its position in a
foreign market already entered; then, a top-down process start from the top-level
decisions at the beginning to middle and lower management level decisions finalised to
meet the corporate objectives. In other words, the company internationalisation choices
affect the decisions at any other level and business functions as they should be aligned
sequentially with the strategic goals. According to Straube et al. (2008), for instance, the
process of entering into a new market consists of four sequential steps: evaluation of the
new market, strategic planning, and then logistics planning and implementation of the
logistics system. Moreover, literature review showed that the single variable of the
international logistics strategy potentially are affected by the internationalisation choices
(e.g., David and Stewart, 2010; Melacini et al., 2011; Rushton et al., 2014).
Shaping the international logistics strategy 79
However, literature review shows that there is no clear understanding of the variables
involved, their operationalisation, and how they can be set coherently with each other and
over time according to the internationalisation choices. In Straube et al. (2008), almost
70% of the respondents in the survey call for more management recognition and support
to avoid suboptimal international logistics networks. How the foreign market and the
company success evolve in the future is unpredictable. Considering also that this problem
is different in each export area, the design and management of international logistics
strategies are challenging for companies.
This premise opens up the need for further research on how companies change their
international logistics strategy over time by modifying their logistics variables
based on the company internationalisation process. This research aims at providing
empirical-based evidence on the development and implementation of international
logistics strategies to better explain both interaction and behaviour of the key logistics
variables involved. Additionally, the research objectives include the investigation on how
the international logistics strategy may be shaped in relation with the company
internationalisation choices, exploring its building variables. At the current stage of the
research, the scope of the analysis focuses on the distribution process of finished goods
managed according to a make-to-stock (MTS) approach and it does not include the study
of the internationalisation process of small companies and multinational companies that
have production establishments in the foreign market. Indeed, for instance, the decisions
on plant location are also related to other factors different from the evolution of the
international sales process, such as the search for lower-cost manufacturing locations or
the proximity to raw material suppliers.
In order to address the above-mentioned aims, a framework was drawn starting
from the literature review (Figure 1). In particular, we defined three levels for the
internationalisation process evolution, namely:
• early stage, i.e., export via independent agents or distributors
• intermediate stage, i.e., export via sales subsidiary
• advanced stage, i.e., export via company own stores.
As far as the company international logistics strategy is concerned, the following
variables have been considered:
• level of control on logistics flows
• type of relationship with LSP
• logistics network design
• inventory planning centralisation level
• transport planning.
Within this research framework, the following research questions have been investigated:
RQ1 What are the key logistics variables affected by the company internationalisation
RQ2 What are the main company international logistics strategies based on the
interaction and behaviour of the key variables identified?
RQ3 How do company internationalisation choices affect the international logistics
Figure 1 Research framework
4 Research method
The research methodology consists of three main stages, i.e., literature review,
development of the research framework and empirical application of the designed
framework to the research sample. The theoretical analysis mainly contributed to provide
the necessary grounds for the research framework definition. The empirical investigation
consisted in a series of case studies involving companies operating in various business
sectors (as per Table 1), exporting their finished goods in different foreign countries. The
case study approach was selected as the most suitable methodology as it is recognised to
be the most appropriate means to investigate relationships among variables and address
explorative or explanatory questions regarding a set of facts (Choi and Wacker, 2011;
Eisenhardt, 1989; Ketchen et al., 2011; Yin, 2013). In our case, the research questions
focus on how companies design their international logistics strategies, also in light of
their internationalisation choices. It should be noted that each company may have
different export areas and, in general, different logistics strategies and distribution
channels for each. For these reasons the company single export area has been selected as
unit of analysis, and the embedded multiple case study approach has been adopted.
Additionally, while performing the case studies, we introduced a retrospective
perspective to capture the evolution of the international logistics strategy over time, from
the company entry in the export area to present, throughout the internationalisation stages
that companies have experienced (i.e., RQ3).
Shaping the international logistics strategy 81
To enable an adequate analysis, in line with the research scope and questions,
companies included in the sample are big national or multinational companies that have
plants concentrated in Europe and export their finished goods in countries belonging to
other continents with a MTS production system.
The selected cases vary across business sectors (e.g., health and care, sanitary
technology, and food) in order to consider a heterogeneous sample, thus allowing to
explore the research questions in different environmental and market conditions. The
selected cases also vary in terms of product value density – measured as product price to
weight ratio – that represents a key variable for logistics (e.g., Chopra, 2003; Cooper,
1993). An overview of the features of the six companies included in the sample is
provided in Table 1. A total number of 14 export areas have been taken into account.
Table 1 Summary of the characteristics of the six examined companies
Company Business sector Annual group
Product price to
Unit of analysis
(i.e., export area)
A Baby, health and
1.5 billion € Medium A1 South America
A2 Asia-Pacific area
B Porcelain stoneware 0.5 billion € Low-medium B1 North America
B2 Middle East
C Medical technology 1.1 billion € Medium C1 Asia-Pacific area
D Sanitary technology 1.8 billion € Low-medium D1 Pacific area
D2 South America
E Electrical and
0.1 billion € Medium-high E1 Middle East
E2 North America
E3 South America
F Food industry 2.5 billion € Low F1 Middle East
F2 North America
Note: (*)CIS = Commonwealth of Independent States (e.g., Russian, Kazakhstan,
Case studies were performed by means of in-depth interviews with logistics and supply
chain directors using a semi-structured questionnaire, ensuring interviewers’ control,
instant feedback and clarification of specific issues. General information about the
company and their operating context were also collected using secondary sources (i.e.,
annual reports, company website, and articles published in trade journals), with the
purpose of triangulating the interviews with further data source and reducing biases of
respondents. A case study protocol was developed prior to data collection to ensure
consistency among the procedures followed among cases. According to Yin (2013), the
document contained information such as case study questions, data collection guidelines,
data sources, and the criteria for interpreting the findings. The semi-structure
questionnaire was prepared according to the research framework. It was composed of
three main sections, i.e., general information related to the company and their export
areas, company internationalisation choices in each export area, and company
international logistics strategy.
In order to analyse the data, we first transcribed the recordings of all interviews
when information was still fresh in the mind of researchers; after that, we performed
both a within-case analysis and then a cross-case comparison. With reference to RQ1,
the significance of each variable was assessed by two independent researchers
along a three-point scale (i.e., ‘low’, ‘medium’, and ‘high’). As far as the variable
operationalisation is concerned, it was updated after each interviews, continuously
comparing the information collected through the different cases and reformulating the
variable dimensions whenever more meaningful categories were found. Pattern matching
was useful for identifying the company international logistics strategies (RQ2). Finally,
the transcribed interviews were analysed using explanation-building techniques in order
to investigate the potential impact of the company internationalisation choices on the
international logistics strategy (RQ3).
5 Discussion and findings
This section discusses the results emerged from the case study analysis according to each
research question. The discussion of the information collected during the case studies in
comparison with insights emerged from the literature review is also provided.
5.1 Variables defining the company international logistics strategy
This section compares the variables coming from the research framework with those
found in the case study analysis (RQ1). Table 2 reports the significance of each variable
achieved from the case studies. As shown in the table, almost all the identified variables
are considered as significant for the export areas examined. The only exception is the
type of relationship with LSP: although found in literature as an element defining the
international logistics strategy and being affected by the internationalisation choices, for
the majority of the export areas examined it has a low significance, whereas for only 6
cases the significance was assessed as medium.
All companies recognise that the strategic collaboration with LSP is a key component
of a logistics approach in the context of a foreign market, but they do not consider it as
related to internationalisation choices. For example, in the case of A2, company A stated,
“we developed a strategic relationship with the provider to entry in the Asia-Pacific area,
but the evolution of the collaboration was not strictly related to the internationalisation
strategy”. For D1, company D had a similar comment: “We started a strategic
relationship with a logistics service provider to entry in the Asia region and then we have
carried on this relationship from that moment, even if our distribution model changed
Shaping the international logistics strategy 83
Table 2 Significance of each logistics variable based on the case study analysis
Case Level of control
on logistics flows
Type of relationship
A1 High High High High Low
A2 High High High High Medium
A3 High High High High Medium
B1 High High High High Low
B2 High High High High Low
C1 High High High High Medium
C2 High High High High Medium
D1 High High High High Medium
D2 High High High High Low
E1 High High Low Low Low
E2 High High Low Low Low
E3 High High Low Low Low
F1 High High Medium Medium Low
F2 High High Medium Medium Medium
Table 3 Summary of the logistics variables based on the case study analysis
Case Level of control on
centralisation level Transport planning
A1 High Two-echelon network Centralised Managed for all
A2 Low One-echelon network Decentralised Managed for each
single area separately
A3 Low One-echelon network Decentralised Managed for each
single area separately
B1 Low One-echelon network Decentralised Managed for each
single area separately
B2 Low Not significant Coordinated Not significant
C1 Low One-echelon network Coordinated Managed for each
single area separately
C2 Low Not significant Coordinated Not significant
D1 Low Not significant Coordinated Not significant
D2 Low Not significant Decentralised Not significant
E1 Low Not significant Coordinated Not significant
E2 Medium Not significant Coordinated Not significant
E3 Medium Not significant Coordinated Not significant
F1 Low Not significant Coordinated Not significant
F2 Low One-echelon network Decentralised Managed for each
single area separately
Focusing on the variables considered as significant, Table 3 provides an overview of the
operationalisation of each variable, thus summarising the case study analysis based on the
current situation at the moment of the interviews, without losing in completeness when
describing the operationalisation.
The information collected for each variable through the case studies is hereinafter
summarised and discussed.
5.1.1 Level of control on logistics flows
As above-mentioned in the methodology section, the level of control on logistics flows
was investigated through the Incoterm type adopted and operationalised by defining a
three-point scale (i.e., ‘low’, ‘medium’, and ‘high’). Although quite disregarded by the
extant literature on the logistics process on a global scale, the majority of the cases
confirms the significance of this variable (Table 3). Table 4 shows that the majority of the
cases applies a low level of control on logistics flows (i.e., use of Incoterms E and F).
According to the literature, Incoterms E and F are the most adopted by beginning
exporters. As an example, for D2, company D stated: “we just sell to our local agents at
ex-works prices”. For C1, company C asserted: “we just sell to distributors and we are
not interested in managing transport and logistics processes”. Differently from company
C, for E3, company E sells via distributors but applies a medium level of control on
logistics flow: “we prefer to have in charge the transport up to the distribution centres of
the local distributors as we are able to perform full container load shipping”). Another
example of high control on logistics flows is the case of A1, for which company A
affirmed: “we are engaged in the shipments from our Italian central warehouse till the
local warehouse that deliveries to our own stores”.
In summary, selecting the Incoterms to be used affect the company level of control on
their logistics process to the export areas.
5.1.2 Logistics network design
Table 3 confirms that the logistics network design is a significant variable. According to
the information collected through the case studies, decisions related to logistics network
design mainly imply the selection among direct shipment, one-echelon networks and two-
echelon networks. As for the B2 or E1 cases, direct shipments are performed by
companies that sell products without having local distribution centres. In the case of E1,
for instance, “the products are sold through local agents and the annual total flow to be
shipped is low (the delivery frequency is one shipment per month on average)”. On the
contrary, having a local warehouse (i.e., one-echelon network) may be necessary due to
customer service level requirements (e.g., C1 and F2 cases). In the case of C1, for
example, company C stated: “we opened a local warehouse to be closer to the customers
as they ask for very short delivery lead times”. In such cases, the products are shipped
from the European plants to distribution centres located in each export area. The reasons
behind the adoption of a two-echelon network lies in the presence of different countries
with many delivery points within the same export area. This last situation was observed
only for the A1 case, for which company A asserted that “first [A] delivered its product
only in Brazil and then it also expanded its market to the nearest countries; over time, due
to the increase in logistics flows and service level offered, [A] has progressively opened
Shaping the international logistics strategy 85
new local warehouses in the South America region, supplied be the Brazilian
5.1.3 Inventory planning centralisation level
In line with the extant literature, the planning centralisation level has been confirmed to
be a key aspect to be managed when defining the logistics strategy for the distribution on
a global scale (Table 3). The following aspects are those mainly involved in such process
with reference to each export area: sale forecasts, inventory management, and service
level to the customers.
Inventory planning can be decentralised, i.e., only some decisions made by the
subsidiaries are shared with the headquarter. For the B1 case, for instance, company B
stated: “the subsidiaries work in completely autonomy in managing inventories, even if
they have to meet the company targets in terms of maximum stock levels”. A similar
situation was observed in the case of F2, for which company F asserted that “the local
subsidiaries have to be coordinated with the headquarter with reference to the maximum
level of stock for some product categories and the warehousing performance of the
logistics service provider”. In some cases, the headquarter does not have the full visibility
on the information needed to make decisions. For the D2 case, for example, company D
asserted: “at the moment we don’t have an IT interface that enable information sharing
between headquarter and subsidiaries – these latter are therefore fully independent”. The
opposite situation happens in case of centralised planning, i.e., the subsidiaries are not
autonomous. This situation was observed only in the A1 case, for which company A
stated that “the subsidiaries are engaged only in the sale forecast due to the proximity to
the market; then, the headquarter manages inventories at the local central warehouse and
replenishments to the subsidiaries. This behaviour, together with the choice of managing
the transport process up to the local warehouse, allows the company to exploit synergies
coming from the jointly management of the logistics flows of all subsidiaries located in
different countries of the South America area”.
However, the planning is coordinated between the headquarter and the subsidiaries in
the majority of the cases, i.e., the company develops the sale forecasts together with the
independent agents but is not involved in managing the logistics process (e.g., in the C1
and C2 cases). For instance, company F revealed for F1, in these situations “there is a key
account with commercial and marketing competences, dedicated to the relationship with
the export area”.
From the company perspective, choices on inventory planning centralisation level
imply different opportunities of controlling the inventory level. For instance, centralising
allows companies to have visibility up to the local warehouses, thus allowing to directly
manage the overall inventory level in the network.
5.1.4 Transport planning
In line with the literature, the transport planning is a variable of the international logistics
strategy, and company decisions from this viewpoint are made according to the company
internationalisation choices (Table 3). According to Table 4, the control on transport
planning can be ‘not significant’ as the transport problem is quite simple to manage. As
for the D2 case for instance, company D stated: “the company engages only the transport
to the borders of the export country and the frequency of deliveries is low”. As a
consequence, the level of competences required for the transport planning is low as found
in some cases (e.g., E2 and E3). Instead, as in the C1 case, when a company exports via
sales subsidiaries and its logistics network consists in a local warehouse that delivers
goods to the subsidiaries, the transport planning is more complex: “[C] manages the
delivery of goods to the warehouse for each export area; sales volumes are not high and
transports are supplied by freight forwarders through less than container load shipping
services”. Finally, the transport planning can be managed jointly for all the export areas.
This situation was observed only in the A1 case. As stated by the logistics director of
company A for the A1 case: “when the number of export areas and the amount of
logistics flows increased, the company started to optimise transport activities by
managing jointly the flows for different markets, for instance by full container load
service or by sea instead of air freight”. For companies, managing the transport planning
jointly for all the export areas allows to obtain economies of scale, and therefore, to
reduce the overall costs.
In summary, from the case studies analysis it can be inferred that the following four
variables are those better describing a company international logistics strategy and are
affected by the evolution of the internationalisation process:
• level of control on logistics flows
• distribution network design
• inventory planning centralisation level
• transport planning.
Instead, the type of relationship with LSP does not seem to be related to the
internationalisation choices based on the results obtained from the companies of the
5.2 Company international logistics strategies
To identify the main international logistics strategies adopted by companies (RQ2), the
case study analysis was used to find a common pattern in the correlation among the
variables (RQ2). Results allow identifying three international logistics strategies that we
• international sale
• international outpost
• international network.
Table 4 summarises the features of each strategy by reporting the alternatives for each of
the four variables.
Shaping the international logistics strategy 87
Table 4 International logistics strategies emerged from the case studies
International logistics strategy
International sale International
Variables of the
Not significant One-echelon
Coordinated Decentralised Centralised
Transport planning Not significant Managed for
each single area
Managed for all
Level of control on
Low Medium High
The international sale logistics strategy is adopted by companies that focus on the sales
channel of distribution rather than on logistics. Indeed, such companies sell their products
in foreign market following an irregular series over time. Adopting this strategy implies
that companies do not configure their logistics strategy to directly control their flows,
neither to be as close as possible to the market. As direct shipments are typically
performed, distribution network configuration and transport planning are not perceived as
significant challenges. A coordinated distribution planning has been found in this case.
This means that the local players (e.g., independent agents) have a certain level of
autonomy when planning the distribution, and that the company just coordinates with the
local players. On the one hand, companies adopting this strategy lose the possibility to
manage and optimise their logistics process. On the other hand, they do not have the need
for country-specific investments for each foreign market (e.g., local warehouses), neither
strong capabilities for managing international freight transport.
Companies adopting the international outpost logistics strategy develop a stronger
commercial relationship with the export area. A distribution network and a logistics
process supporting such relationship is required. In this case, although companies are
more interested in controlling the logistics flows and managing the transport planning,
each relationship with the single export area is viewed independently from the others.
However, due to the high knowledge of the market and the proximity to customers, the
local actors maintain a certain level of control on the logistics and transport processes and
are engaged in the distribution planning. Therefore, activities such as sale forecasts and
inventory management are decentralised to the local actors. Companies adopting this
strategy prefer to let the local areas more autonomous and flexible. From the company
perspective, this requires to develop capabilities in each export area (e.g., competences to
perform forecasting and inventory planning).
Finally, according to the international network logistics strategy, companies develop
their logistics considering all the export areas jointly, differently from the international
outpost strategy. The level of complexity – in terms of both distribution network structure
and transport planning – is relatively high. The distribution planning is centralised as the
headquarters develops the sales forecast and owns the entire decision-making process
related to inventory management. Compared to the two previous options, such strategy
mainly implies to manage different logistics flows among the export areas and to have
stronger logistics capabilities.
The following section provides more details and examples related to the three above-
described international logistics strategies, as well as findings on RQ3.
5.3 Impact of company internationalisation choices on the international
To answer RQ3 (i.e., how the company internationalisation choices affect the
international logistics strategy), the international logistics strategies adopted over time in
each export area in the sample have been summarised considering also the corresponding
stages of the internationalisation process (Table 5). Results reveal that the company
international logistics strategy is significantly influenced by company internationalisation
choices. As shown in the table, the adoption of each strategy is concentrated in a specific
internationalisation process stage. Specifically, the international sale strategy is more
likely to be selected by companies in the early stage of their internationalisation process,
the international outpost by companies in the intermediate stage, whereas the
international network by companies in the advanced stage. Additionally, for a given
export area the evolution of the international logistics strategy incrementally evolves
together with the internationalisation process, thus confirming that the alignment between
the commercial and logistics channels is crucial for companies.
Table 5 Alignment between internationalisation choices and international logistics strategies
Internationalisation process stages
Early stage Intermediate stage Advanced stage
International network A1
International outpost E2; E3 A1; A2; A3; B1;
C1; D2; F2
International sale A2; A3; B1; B2;
C1; C2; D1; D2;
E1; F1; F2
When a company operates in the early stage of the internationalisation process, its export
volume is typically low, as well as its market knowledge. As a consequence, it operates in
a foreign market with a low level of control on logistics and transport process (i.e., the
international sale strategy is adopted). According to the case study analysis, at this stage,
the choice of exporting via independent agents (as, for instance, in the B2, C2, D2, E1
cases) or distributors (as, for instance, in the A2, D1, E3, F1 cases) allows the company
to not have own resources, and therefore sunk costs, that would have been present in case
of own subsidiaries or store networks. Additionally, the benefits related to the absence of
local warehouses and the possibility to overcome complexities (e.g., to face the local
regulations and to collaborate with local logistics providers) have been cited by
companies of the sample as other benefits from selecting the international sale strategy in
the early stage of the internationalisation process. Such aspects have been highlighted
especially for export areas such as Middle East and CIS countries (e.g., B2, C2, E1 and
F1 cases). Such strategy for entering a new market has been adopted in all cases except
for A1 case, in which the company opened a subsidiary when starting to sell its products
in the new market.
E2 and E3 cases present an international logistics strategy that seems to be misaligned
with the stage of the internationalisation process. The logistics strategy adopted is the
Shaping the international logistics strategy 89
international outpost as the company is engaged in the transport up to the distribution
centres of the local distributors, and the level of control on transport planning and
logistics flows is medium.
The main reason for this choice is related to the fact that the company operates on
these exports areas from a number of years, and sales volumes have increased over time.
As a result, the company is at a transition stage, since it aims at moving to the
intermediate stage of the internationalisation process, and has already adopted a logistics
strategy with some features of the international outpost.
Based on the empirical evidence, companies move from the early stage to the
intermediate stage of the internationalisation process in order to control the distribution
channel – thus having the possibility to directly manage the marketing of its products –
and stay as close as possible to their final customers – so that potential market
opportunities and threats can be rapidly understood. Looking at the sample, all
companies − except for company E as above discussed − developed their logistics
strategy from the international sale to the international outpost when they started to
export via sales subsidiary (i.e., the intermediate stage of their internationalisation
process). They report increase in sales and market experience as enabling factors to
develop the second stage of the internationalisation process and the international logistics
strategy. The transition to this second stage can also occur through the company
acquisition of the local distributor (as in the A3 case). At this stage, companies let
subsidiaries work autonomously in developing the sale forecasts, defining order
quantities (i.e., decentralised planning), and also in managing transport and logistics
process (i.e., adoption of Incoterms E or F). The local logistics network is composed of
one distribution centre (i.e., one-echelon network) that receives FCLs.
In the examined sample, no companies have already fully implemented the
international network strategy. Only company A (A1 case) is evaluating the adoption of
such approach in South America where the advanced stage of the internationalisation
process has been reached – i.e., the company is selling its products via own stores.
Company A intends to build a two-echelon logistics network composed of a central
distribution centre for the entire export area and other regional depots in each country
belonging to the area. Through this project, company A intends to support the
development of its business in this area with a more efficient close-to-the-market logistics
network. Based on the information collected during the case studies, this approach seems
to imply a more centralised planning and control on the transport process (i.e., adoption
of Incoterms C and D). This seems to support the findings of the theoretical analysis,
according to which the higher the company internationalisation, the stronger the need for
centralising the planning due to the increase of logistics complexity.
It should be noted that a company has not necessarily to go through all the stages. For
instance, a company can directly go to the intermediate stage by adopting the
international outpost as logistics strategy, without exporting via independent agents or
distributors before this settlement (as in the A1 case).
With reference to the factors driving the transition among the stages of the model, the
case studies analysis supports the fact that a deep knowledge as well as sales volume
increase over time are the key drivers that allow companies to develop their distribution
channel in terms of both commercial and distribution channels. However, other driving
factors have been found that can also explain the above-discussed situation for A1. In
case A1, the main enabling aspects for the international network logistics strategy are the
homogeneity among the countries in terms of product types and logistics features, the
stress on the logistics process (e.g., high requirements on service levels and geographical
dispersion of the delivery points), and the adoption of information technology (IT)
Moreover, the risk that the company intends to hold also explains the transition along
the stages. For instance, the adoption of the international network strategy implies a
higher risk compared to the international outpost strategy, for instance due to investment
that cannot be exploited in another areas.
This paper explores the effect of the company internationalisation choices on its
international logistics strategy by means of a multiple case study methodology.
According to the research background and case study analysis, the key building variables
of the company international logistics strategy that are related to the company
internationalisation choices have been detected, thus answering RQ1. Specifically, the
following variables have been identified: level of control on logistics flows, logistics
network design, inventory planning centralisation level, and transport planning.
Based on the interaction and behaviour of the key variables, three international
logistics strategies have been identified (as per RQ2), namely: international sale,
international outpost and international network.
Results suggest that companies may progressively adopt these three international
logistics strategies in sequence, following the evolution of their internationalisation
process (RQ3). Specifically, the international sale strategy is more likely to be chosen by
companies in the early stage, the international outpost by those in the intermediate stage,
whereas the international network by those in the advanced stage.
This research offers both academic and practical implications. From the academic
perspective, this study contributes to:
• overcome the approach adopted in extant contributions where individual logistics
issues were studied separately
• understand the evolutionary process of the company international logistics strategy
• deepen the effects of the company internationalisation choices on its international
Hence, the present paper can be viewed as starting point for the development of a
normative model supporting companies in aligning their international logistics strategy
with their plans in terms of internationalisation. From a practical viewpoint, a clear
understanding of the main alternatives and variables to be set up may support managers
to make informed decisions when designing their international logistics strategy.
Specifically, modelling the relationship between international choices and logistics
strategy allows managers to understand how to align such two components, and redesign
their logistics strategy over time based on their business evolution.
Shaping the international logistics strategy 91
Although this study offers interesting insights on the decision making process related
to the company international logistics strategy, the conclusions drawn require further
effort to be adequately generalised. Specifically, additional effort is recommended with
the aim of further exploring the factors driving the evolution of the logistics strategy such
as the country-, company- and product-specific elements (e.g., local market regulations,
financial aspects and product innovation rate).
Abrahamsson, M., Aldin, N. and Stahre, F. (2003) ‘Logistics platforms for improved strategic
flexibility’, International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications: A Leading Journal
of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp.85–106.
Barkema, H.G., Bell, H.J. and Pennings, J.M. (1996) ‘Foreign entry, cultural barriers, and
learning’, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.151–166.
Bello, D.C. and Barksdale, H.C. (1986) ‘Exporting at industrial trade shows’, Industrial Marketing
Management, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.197–206.
Blanco, E.E. and Ponce Cueto, E.M. (2015) Modeling the Cost of International Trade in Global
Supply Chains, MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, Cambridge, MA.
Buckley, P.J. and Casson, M. (1976) The Future of the Multinational Enterprise, Holmes & Meier,
Camuffo, A., Furlan, A., Romano, P. and Vinelli, A. (2007) ‘Routes towards supplier and
production network internationalization’, International Journal of Operations & Production
Management, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp.371–387.
Caves, R. (1982) Multinational Enterprise and Economic Analysis, Cambridge University Press,
Choi, T.Y. and Wacker, J.G. (2011) ‘Theory building in the OM-SCM field: pointing to the future
by looking at the past’, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp.8–11.
Chopra, S. (2003) ‘Designing the distribution network in a supply chain’, Transportation Research
Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp.123–140.
Chopra, S. and Meindl, P. (2004) Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning and Operations,
Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.
Chopra, S. and Meindl, P. (2013) Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning and Operations,
Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Cooper, J.C. (1993) ‘Logistics strategies for global businesses’, International Journal of Physical
Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp.12–23.
Creazza, A., Dallari, F. and Melacini, M. (2010) ‘Evaluating logistics network configurations for a
global supply chain’, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2,
Dallari, F., Marchet, G. and Melacini, M. (2006) ‘Transportation strategies in the global supply
chain’, Proceedings of the 4th International Logistics and Supply Chain Congress, Izmir,
David, P.A. and Stewart, R.D. (2010) International Logistics: the Management of International
Trade Operations, Cengage Learning, Mason.
Dunning, J.H. (1980) ‘Toward an eclectic theory of international production: some empirical tests’,
Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.9–31.
Eisenhardt, K.M. (1989) ‘Building theories from case study research’, Academy of Management
Review, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.532–550.
Forget, P., D’Amours, S. and Frayret, J.M. (2008) ‘Multi-behavior agent model for planning in
supply chains: an application to the lumber industry’, Robotics and Computer-Integrated
Manufacturing, Vol. 24, No. 5, pp.664–679.
Harzing, A.W. (2002) ‘Acquisitions versus greenfield investments: international strategy and
management of entry modes’, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp.211–227.
Hennart, J-F. (1982) A Theory of Multinational Enterprise, University of Michigan Press,
Hennart, J-F. and Park, Y-R. (1993) ‘Greenfield vs. acquisition: the strategy of Japanese investors
in the United States’, Management Science, Vol. 39, No. 9, pp.1054–1070.
Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J.E. (1977) ‘The internationalisation process of the company – a model
of knowledge development and increasing foreign market commitments’, Journal of
International Business Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp.305–322.
Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J.E. (2009) ‘The Uppsala internationalization process model revisited:
From liability of foreignness to liability of outsidership’, Journal of International Business
Studies, Vol. 40, No. 9, pp.1411–1431.
Johanson, J. and Wiedersheim-Paul, F. (1975) ‘The internationalization of the company: four
Swedish cases’, Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp.305–322.
Jonsson, P., Rudberg, M. and Holmberg, S. (2013) ‘Centralised supply chain planning at IKEA’,
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp.337–350.
Ketchen, D.J., Tomas, G. and Hult, M. (2011) ‘Building theory about supply chain management –
some tools from the organizational sciences’, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 47,
No. 2, pp.2–18.
Li, J., Li, Y. and Shapiro, D. (2012) ‘Knowledge seeking and outward FDI of emerging market
firms: the moderating effect of inward FDI’, Global Strategy Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4,
Luo, Y. and Peng, M. (1999) ‘Learning to compete in a transition economy: experience,
environment and performance’, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2,
Malfliet, J. (2011) Incoterms 2010 and the Mode of Transport: How to Choose the Right Term,
Universiteit Ghent, Ghent.
Mason, R., Lalwani, C. and Boughton, R. (2007) ‘Combining vertical and horizontal collaboration
for transport optimisation’, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 12,
No. 3, pp.187–199.
Meixell, M.J. and Gargeya, V.B. (2005) ‘Global supply chain design: a literature review and
critique’, Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Vol. 41,
No. 6, pp.531–550.
Melacini, M., Creazza, A. and Perotti, S. (2011) ‘Analysis of supply chain planning centralisation
for multinational companies’, International Journal of Logistics Systems Management, Vol. 9,
No. 4, pp.478–500.
Monczka, M. and Trent, J. (2006) ‘Achieving excellence in global sourcing’, Sloan Management
Review, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp.24–32.
Pero, M., Rossi, T., Noé, C. and Sianesi, A. (2010) ‘An exploratory study of the relation between
supply chain topological features and supply chain performance’, International Journal of
Production Economics, Vol. 123, No. 2, pp.266–278.
Peterson, K.J., Frayer, D.J. and Scannel, T.V. (2000) ‘An empirical investigation of global sourcing
strategy effectiveness’, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp.29–38.
Pirttila, T. and Niemi, P. (1996) ‘Generic organizational choices for logistics in decentralized
organizations: implications for inventory management’, International Journal of Production
Economics, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp.195–202.
Rudberg, M. and West, B.M. (2008) ‘Global operations strategy: coordinating manufacturing
networks’, Omega, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp.91–106.
Shaping the international logistics strategy 93
Rushton, A., Croucher, P. and Baker, P. (2014) The Handbook of Logistics and Distribution
Management: Understanding the Supply Chain, Kogan Page Publishers, London.
Sandberg, E. and Abrahamsson, M. (2011) ‘Logistics capabilities for sustainable competitive
advantage’, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, Vol. 14, No. 1,
Schmidt, G. and Wilhelm, W.E. (2000) ‘Strategic, tactical and operational decisions in multi-
national logistics networks: a review and discussion of modelling issues’, International
Journal of Production Research, Vol. 38, No. 7, pp.1501–1523.
Sezen, B. (2008) ‘Relative effect of design, integration and information sharing on supply chain
performance’, Supply Chain Manage. Int. J., Vol. 13, No. 3, pp.233–240.
Simchi-Levi, D., Kaminski, P. and Simchi-Levi, E. (2009) Designing and Managing the Supply
Chain: Concepts, Strategies and Case Studies, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Straube, F., Ma, S. and Bohn, M. (2008) Internationalisation of Logistics Systems – How Chinese
and German Companies Enter New Markets, Springer, Heidelberg.
Tracey, M., Lim, J-S. and Vonderembse, M. (2005) ‘The Impact of supply chain management
capabilities on business performance’, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal,
Vol. 10, No. 3, pp.179–191.
Yin, R.K. (2013) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
Zeng, Z. (2003) ‘Global sourcing: process and design for efficient management’, Supply Chain
Management: An International Journal, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.367–379.