The role of 3PLs Internet technology in supporting extended enterprise: an exploratory survey

Pietro Evangelista, IRAT
Emilio Esposito, University of Naples
Edward Sweeney, Dublin Institute of Technology
Erica Staller, Arizona State University

Published: in Optimisation and Logistics in Transportation and Communication Networks, Proceedings of the XXXIX Annual Conference of Italian Operational Research Society, Ischia, Italy, September 2008


It is well accepted that ICT and Internet technology have the potential to facilitate firms’ innovation processes as it offers new and more effective
support to conduct business operations. This is particularly true in the context of Extended Enterprise (EE) concept where new technologies are critical in ensuring the effective integration of physical and information flows among participating companies (Dresner et al., 1999).
The role of third party logistics providers (3PLs) in logistics outsourcing has evolved along the last few years (McKinnon, 1999). Such companies are transforming their business configuration from simple transport service providers to supply chain integrators. Internet technology (e.g. website) may play an important role in this process as it
allows managing information exchange with customer and other supply chain partners more effectively (Evangelista, 2007). Despite this,
there is research which indicates that logistics service companies have 2 Capitolo secondo
not placed enough importance on the use of websites (Ellinger, et al., 2003; Lynagh, et al. 2001). This paper presents the result of an empirical investigation conducted on the website content of a sample of 153 small Italian logistics service companies. The main aim of the survey is to provide a fresh picture about company website. In particular, it is aimed at assessing the
role of 3PLs website in supporting new firms organisational configurations (e.g. EE). The analysis is carried out using a 3PLs taxonomy that
distinguishes companies on the basis of the breath of service provided combined with a well recognised model of Internet adoption in the logistics service sector (. The results of the survey allow managerial
implications for small 3PLs companies to be drawn and future research directions in this field to be identified.