Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)
Liu, Xiaohong and Alan C. McKinnon (2019): Practical relevance of theory-driven supply chain management research, The International Journal of Logistics Management, 30 (1): 76-95.
Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which theory-driven supply chain management (SCM) research is of practical relevance. It does this on the basis of empirical research in China. Design/methodology/approach A two-pronged approach was adopted. First, 57 theory-driven SCM studies based in China published in ten leading journals between 2006 and 2015 were surveyed. Second, a questionnaire survey of Chinese managers identified their practical concerns and assessed their alignment with the content of the academic papers. Findings Some academic research on SCM does probe industry-relevant problems. From an academic perspective, this confirms that theory-driven SCM research can be of practical value. Overall, however, the survey found that much of the SCM research works do not translate into actionable knowledge for practitioners. Academic research in this field could pursue a more pragmatic path and enhance its practical utility. Two critical components of this path, “practical observation” and “practical verification,” are highlighted. Research limitations/implications As the literature review was confined to ten leading journals, relevant papers in other journals were possibly excluded. The research was confined to China and so the results are not necessarily generalizable to other countries. Practical implications Chinese academics and practitioners could collaborate in defining research agendas and directions. This would help researchers direct their theory building to issues of relevance to business. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the relevance of theory-driven SCM research from academic and practitioner perspectives in China. It shows how this research might have greater impact on business practice.
Dong, Chuanwen, Robert Boute, Alan C. McKinnon and Marc Verelst (2018): Investigating synchromodality from a supply chain perspective, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 61 (Part A): 42-57.
Abstract: Greater use of multimodal transportation can substantially improve the environmental performance of freight transportation. Despite strenuous efforts by public policy-makers to alter the freight modal split, most companies still rely heavily on road transportation, and modal shifts to rail and water have remained modest at best. In this paper we argue that this is partly the result of a failure to take a holistic supply chain view of the modal shift process. Synchromodality provides a framework within which shippers can manage their supply chains more flexibly to increase the potential for shifting mode. On the basis of a literature review, we broaden the conventional focus of multimodal transportation to give it a supply chain dimension, and propose the concept of ‘Synchromodality from a Supply Chain Perspective’ (SSCP). Using a case study we show that when the supply chain impacts are taken into account, it is possible to significantly increase the share of intermodal rail transportation within a corridor, without necessarily increasing total logistics cost or reducing the service level. In this way the environmental impact of freight activities can be significantly reduced.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2017): Starry-eyed II: the logistics journal ranking debate revisited, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 47 (6): 431-446.
Abstract: Purpose In a previous paper (McKinnon, 2013), the author questioned the principle and practice of journal ranking and discussed its effects on logistics research. Since then several important developments have occurred prompting a fresh review of the issues. The paper summarises the results of this review with the aim of stimulating further discussion on the subject. Design/methodology/approach New literature on the journal ranking debate has been reviewed. The validity of the journal ranking as a proxy measure of paper quality is explored using data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. Changes to the ranking of ten logistics/supply chain management (SCM) journals in four listings are analysed, and possible reasons for the relatively low status of the journals are examined. Findings The influence of journal rankings on the academic research process is strengthening while the debate about their legitimacy has intensified. UK REF data cast doubt on the reliability of the journal ranking as an indicator of a paper’s merit. Logistics/SCM journals continue to occupy mid-to-lower tier positions in most listings, though there has been some improvement in their standing. Research limitations/implications The paper aims to alert those managing and undertaking logistics research to the dangers of overreliance on journal rankings in the measurement of research quality and productivity. Practical implications The paper may help logistics/SCM scholars to defend the position of their discipline and resist journal-ranking-induced pressures to marginalise it and devalue its outputs. Social implications In this paper, academic recruitment, promotion and motivation are considered. Originality/value The paper sheds new light on the relationship between journal ranking and individual paper quality, on recent changes in the rating of logistics/SCM journals and on the wider debate about the use of bibliometrics in assessing research quality.
van Loon, Patricia, Lieven Deketele, Joost Dewaele, Alan C. McKinnon and Christine Rutherford (2016): A comparative analysis of carbon emissions from online retailing of fast moving consumer goods, Journal of Cleaner Production, 106: 478-486.
Abstract: Online retailing can lower the environmental impact of shopping under specific circumstances. As a result of the numerous variables involved, most of the studies that have compared the carbon footprints of online and conventional retailing only take a partial view. To make a more holistic assessment, this study develops a framework that accounts for all the relevant environmental factors relating to retail/e-commerce activities. Variables related to consumer shopping behaviour such as basket size, transport mode, trip length and trip frequency are included in the analysis. This framework is used to build a Life Cycle Analysis model. The model is applied to different online retail methods for fast-moving consumer goods in the United Kingdom. We find that, within the “last mile” link to the home, the nature of the consumer's behaviour in terms of travel, choice of e-fulfilment method and basket size are critical factors in determining the environmental sustainability of e-commerce. The nature and routing of van deliveries, the amount and type of packaging used, and the energy efficiency of shop and e-fulfilment centre operations are also identified as significant contributors to climate change potential. The results of this study indicate ways in which e-commerce can be made more environmentally sustainable, encouraging consumers to reduce complementary shopping trips and maximise the number of items per delivery. This study identifies the strengths and weaknesses of a range of e-retail channels and provides a basis for future research on the environmental sustainability of online retailing of fast-moving consumer goods.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2016): Freight Transport Deceleration: Its Possible Contribution to the Decarbonisation of Logistics, Transport Reviews, 36 (4): 418-436.
Abstract: Abstract The paper challenges the conventional view that the movement of goods through supply chains must continue to accelerate. The compression of freight transit times has been one of the most enduring logistics trends but may not be compatible with governmental climate change policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60–80% by 2050. Opportunities for cutting CO2 emissions by ‘despeeding’ are explored within a freight decarbonisation framework and split into three categories: direct, indirect and consequential. Discussion of the direct carbon savings focuses on the trucking and deep-sea container sectors, where there is clear evidence that slower operation cuts cost, energy and emissions and can be accommodated within current supply chain requirements. Indirect emission reductions could accrue from more localised sourcing and a relaxation of just-in-time (JIT) replenishment. Acceleration of logistical activities other than transport could offset increases in freight transit times, allowing the overall carbon intensity of supply chains to reduce with minimal loss of performance. Consequential deceleration results from other decarbonisation initiatives such as freight modal split and a shift to lower carbon fuels. Having reviewed evidence drawn from a broad range of sources, the paper concludes that freight deceleration is a promising decarbonisation option, but raises a number of important issues that will require new empirical research.
Liu, Xiaohong and Alan C. McKinnon (2016): Theory development in China-based supply chain management research: A literature review, The International Journal of Logistics Management, 27 (3): 972-1001.
Abstract: Purpose Although well established in North America and Europe, the study of supply chain management (SCM) is still at a relatively early stage in its development in China. The transformation and rapid growth of the Chinese economy has, nevertheless, created major supply chain challenges for the country making SCM a very fertile area of business research. In Western countries, research on SCM is now mature and underpinned by a solid body of theory. The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which research on SCM in China has also developed a theoretical basis. Design/methodology/approach The research involved a systematic review of 150 papers published in 18 journals in the fields of SCM, logistics, operations management and marketing during the period 2004-2014. A three-step process was adopted to select appropriate journals, identify relevant articles and classify them in terms of their theoretical content. Findings The study has confirmed that, because of its unique economic, political and cultural setting, supply chain development in China has presented new research challenges. Many examples were found of researchers conducting quasi-experiments to test the applicability of established theories to Chinese supply chains while others have tried to develop new ones that are more closely aligned with the Chinese economy and management practices. Researchers have exhibited a heavy reliance on existing theories, with relatively few attempting to customise them to the Chinese context or to construct new ones. Research limitations/implications Given the broad scope of SCM, it is possible that the journal and paper selection processes have accidentally screened out relevant papers. The total sample of papers is, nevertheless, large for an explorative study of this type and should, therefore, give an overall impression of the level of theory development in Chinese SCM research. Practical implications This study provides a general framework within which to assess the application and development of theories in the Chinese SCM context. It is principally concerned with three components: the SCM phenomena studied, the Chinese business environment and the theoretical contribution of the research. The paper is targeted more at an academic audience than practitioners, though provides an overview of the research so far undertaken on SCM in China that should be of wider interest. Originality/value This study is the first of its kind to review China-based SCM research systematically from the perspective of theory development. It should support the evolution of SCM theory not only in China but also more generally.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2016): The Possible Impact of 3D Printing and Drones on Last-mile Logistics: an Exploratory Study, Built Environment, 42 (4): 576-588.
Abstract: 3D printing and drones may have the potential to transform the movement of freight in urban areas, particularly on the so-called 'last mile' to the home. This paper reviews available evidence on the likely scalability of these innovations in a city logistics context and assesses their possible impact on urban traffic levels. The research is essentially exploratory as the application of these innovations to urban logistics is at a very early stage. The evidence comes mainly from published sources, supplemented by discussions with a mixed group of researchers and practitioners. It suggests that both innovations would have the potential to transform city logistics if their adoption rates were high. The rapid growth of online retailing is conducive to a high level of uptake. There are, however, good reasons for believing that their application will remain limited, at least in the short to medium term. Their diffusion will be constrained by several factors including a lack of scale economies, limited value-add and regulation.
Acciaro, Michele and Alan C. McKinnon (2015): Carbon emissions from container shipping: An analysis of new empirical evidence, International Journal of Transport Economics, 42 (2): 211-228.
Abstract: In the last decade researchers have been looking at ways of reducing the carbon intensity of shipping operations that globally account for approximately 3 % of world carbon emissions. As a result of regulation and firms’ efforts to innovate, the maritime sector has introduced new technologies and practices such as slow steaming which have contributed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere. The impact of technological and operational developments on global GHG emissions is difficult to assess, however, without empirical evidence. So far such evidence has been only partially available and most of the data sources used in the literature have been compiled for different purposes or are based on single firm case studies. This paper reports the results of an analysis of a fuel consumption database compiled by the BSR Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG) with the specific purpose of benchmarking and collecting emission data and comprising 2,300 container ship voyages (reporting year 2013, data for 2012). This analysis has examined the effect of technical and operational parameters on these vessels’ fuel consumption and emissions and is the first to be performed on the dataset and in general on self-reported data across multiple companies. In 2012, carriers in the CCWG accounted for approximately 65% of total world deep-sea container traffic. The paper outlines an econometric model that regresses carbon emissions from container shipping on particular trade routes against a range of independent variables, such as vessel age, size and average speed. The paper results indicate that significant differences exist among carriers both in terms of energy efficiency and carbon intensity. The analysis also suggests that while the emission profiles of some trade routes have remained relatively stable in recent years, others have witnessed an increase in emissions mainly as a result of a concentration of container flows. By improving our understanding of the determinants of carbon emissions from container shipping, this research should help shipping lines develop carbon-reduction plans and governments to devise appropriate policies to incentivise the decarbonisation of the maritime sector.
Figueroa, Maria, Oliver Lah, Lewis M. Fulton, Alan C. McKinnon and Geetam Tiwari (2014): Energy for Transport, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 39: 295-325.
Abstract: Global transportation energy use is steeply rising, mainly as a result of increasing population and economic activity. Petroleum fuels remain the dominant energy source, reflecting advantages such as high energy density, low cost, and market availability. The movement of people and freight makes a major contribution to economic development and social well-being, but it also negatively impacts climate change, air quality, health, social cohesion, and safety. Following a review published 20 years ago in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources (then named the Annual Review of Energy and the Environment) by Lee Schipper, we examine current trends and potential futures, revising several major global transport/energy reports. There are significant opportunities to slow travel growth and improve efficiency. Alternatives to petroleum exist but have different characteristics in terms of availability, cost, distribution, infrastructure, storage, and public acceptability. The transition to low-carbon equitable and sustainable transport will take time but can be fostered by numerous short- and medium-term strategies that would benefit energy security, health, productivity, and sustainability.
van Loon, Patricia, Alan C. McKinnon, Lieven Deketele and Joost Dewaele (2014): The Growth of Online Retailing: a Review of its Carbon Impacts, Carbon Management, 5 (3).
Abstract: This paper examines the carbon impact of online retailing and compares it with that of conventional retailing. It discusses the effect of varying the scope of the calculation, the system boundaries and the underlying assumptions. While most of the carbon emissions come from the last-mile delivery, this is also the activity whose carbon intensity is most sensitive to assumptions made about consumer behavior. On the basis of an extensive literature review, the paper also explores the carbon impacts of the upstream supply chain, energy use in information and communication technology and several aspects of travel behavior. This should help researchers to make wider and more realistic assessments of the environmental impact of online retailing. On the basis of these assessments, one can test the conditions under which online shopping is likely to have a lower carbon footprint.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2013): The possible influence of the shipper on carbon emissions from deep-sea container supply chains: An empirical analysis, Maritime Economics & Logistics, 16 (1): 1-19.
Abstract: This article examines the extent to which shippers can influence the level of carbon emissions from the deep-sea container supply chain. It uses data collected in an online questionnaire survey of 34 large UK shippers, supplemented by the results of focus group discussions and interviews with a range of key stakeholders, including shipping lines, freight forwarders, logistics companies and port operators. The online sample comprised shippers responsible for inbound and/or outbound deep-sea containers flows. The amount of leverage that they can exert on ‘carbon-sensitive’ decisions depends partly on the Incoterms that they employ and their use of freight forwarders. Many large shippers still retain significant influence over the choice of carriers used for deep-sea and port feeder services, consignment routing and scheduling and the choice of port. Shippers responsible for inbound flows reported high levels of container fill, though opportunities exist for improving the weight utilisation of outbound containers, possibly by moving to a port-centric logistics model. Around 40 per cent of the shippers consulted currently measure CO2 emissions from their deep-sea container supply chains with only 6 per cent explicitly implementing carbon reduction initiatives. The research shows the importance of adopting a broader supply chain approach to decarbonisation in the maritime sector and emphasises the need for a multi-stakeholder perspective that recognises the important role of the shipper in the process.
Piecyk, Maja I. and Alan C. McKinnon (2013): Application of the Delphi method to the forecasting of long-term trends in road freight, logistics and related CO2 emissions, International Journal of Transport Economics, 15 (2): 241-266.
Abstract: This article, from a special issue on freight transport, describes the use of the Delphi method to forecast long-term trends in road freight, logistics, and related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A Delphi survey usually involves sending a first-round questionnaire to a number of respondents, collating and analyzing the data, and then recirculating the questionnaire, along with a summary of the results. The respondents are asked to confirm or modify their previous responses. The authors note that the Delphi survey method is a popular forecasting technique that is particularly useful in mid- and long-term forecasting. They use a case study of a large two-round Delphi survey undertaken in the United Kingdom (UK) to elicit projections of long-term trends in road freight and logistics variables. These projections were then used to model UK road freight-related CO2 emissions up to the year 2020. One section compares the results found in the Delphi study with five other studies on the topic: Mobility 2030; European Energy and Transport Trends to 2030 (EET); the Great Britain Freight Model (GBFM); the National Transport Model (NTM); and TREMOVE, a transport and emission model developed for the European Commission. The authors conclude that, in situations where disaggregated forecast is required to gain insight and exploration of reasons behind predicted future trends is sought, the Delphi method combined with the survey technique offers a valuable instrument to elicit reliable projections.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2013): Starry-eyed: journal rankings and the future of logistics research, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 43 (1): 6-17.
Abstract: Purpose – This is a polemical paper challenging both the principle and practice of journal ranking. In recent years academics and their institutions have become obsessive about the star‐ratings of the journals in which they publish. In the UK this is partly attributed to quinquennial reviews of university research performance though preoccupation with journal ratings has become an international phenomenon. The purpose of this paper is to examine the arguments for and against these ratings and argue that, on balance, they are having a damaging effect on the development of logistics as an academic discipline. Design/methodology/approach – The arguments advanced in the paper are partly substantiated by references to the literature on the ranking of journals and development of scientific research. A comparison is made of the rating of logistics publications in different journal ranking systems. The views expressed in the paper are also based on informal discussions with numerous academics in logistics and other fields, and long experience as a researcher, reviewer and journal editor. Findings – The ranking of journals gives university management a convenient method of assessing research performance across disciplines, though has several disadvantages. Among other things, it can skew the choice of research methodology, lengthen publication lead times, cause academics to be disloyal to the specialist journals in their field, favour theory over practical relevance and unfairly discriminate against relatively young disciplines such as logistics. Research evidence suggests that journal ratings are not a good proxy for the value and impact of an article. The paper aims to stimulate a debate on the pros and cons of journal rankings and encourage logistics academics to reflect on the impact of these rankings on their personal research plans and the wider development of the field. Research limitations/implications – The review of journal ranking systems is confined to three countries, the UK, Germany and Australia. The analysis of journal ranking was also limited to 11 publications with the word logistics or supply chain management. The results of this review and analysis, however, provide sufficient evidence to support the main arguments advanced in the paper. Practical implications – The paper asserts that the journal ranking system is encouraging a retreat into ivory towers where academics become more interested in impressing each other with their intellectual brilliance than in doing research that is of real value to the outside world. Originality/value – Many logistics academics are concerned about the situation and trends outlined in this paper, but find it very difficult to challenge the prevailing journal ranking orthodoxy. This paper may give them greater confidence to question the value of the journal ranking systems that are increasing dominating academic life.
Evangelista, Pietro, Alan C. McKinnon and Edward Sweeney (2013): Technology adoption in small and medium-sized logistics providers, Industrial Management & Data Systems, 113 (7): 967-989.
Abstract: Purpose – The main aim of the research is to shed light on the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the logistics innovation process of small and medium‐sized third party logistics providers (3PLs). Design/methodology/approach – A triangulated research strategy was designed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The former involved the use of a questionnaire survey of small and medium‐sized Italian 3PLs with 153 usable responses received. The latter comprised a series of focus groups and the use of seven case studies. Findings – There is a relatively low level of ICT expenditure with few companies adopting formal technology investment strategies. The findings highlight the strategic importance of supply chain integration for 3PLs with companies that have embarked on an expansion of their service portfolios showing a higher level of both ICT usage and information integration. Lack of technology skills in the workforce is a major constraint on ICT adoption. Given the proliferation of logistics‐related ICT tools and applications in recent years it has been difficult for small and medium‐sized 3PLs to select appropriate applications. Research limitations/implications – The paper provides practical guidelines to researchers in the effective use of mixed‐methods research based on the concept of methodological triangulation. In particular, it shows how questionnaire surveys, focus groups and case study analysis can be used in combination to provide insights into multi‐faceted supply chain phenomena. It also identifies several potentially fruitful avenues for future research in this specific field. Practical implications – The paper's findings provide useful guidance for practitioners on the effective adoption of ICT as part of the logistics innovation process. The findings also provide support for ICT vendors in the design of ICT solutions that are aligned to the needs of small 3PLs. Originality/value – There is currently a paucity of research into the drivers and inhibitors of ICT in the innovation processes of small and medium‐sized 3PLs. This paper fills this gap by exploring the issue using a range of complementary research approaches.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Maja I. Piecyk (2012): Setting targets for reducing carbon emissions from logistics: current practice and guiding principles, Carbon Management, 3 (6): 629-639.
Abstract: This article examines the different approaches that companies can take to setting targets for the reduction of carbon emissions from their logistics operations. The research suggests that target-setting practices differ widely in this field. It is common for firms simply to apply corporate-level targets to logistics, despite the fact that carbon abatement potential and cost–effectiveness vary by function and activity. A small minority of firms have systematically analyzed the possible carbon savings from specific interventions and technologies. To improve their credibility and consistency, carbon reduction targets need to conform to certain principles. The article proposes a series of principles applicable to the decarbonization of logistics. It is based mainly on a literature review, semi-structured interviews with a sample of logistics managers and involvement in an industry-wide initiative to cut logistics-related carbon emissions.
Liimatainen, Heikki, Pekka Stenholm, Petri Tapio and Alan C. McKinnon (2012): Energy efficiency practices among road freight hauliers, Energy Policy Special Section: Past and Prospective Energy Transitions - Insights from History, 50: 833-842.
Abstract: The reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) is a highly prevalent public policy goal among European Union member countries. In the new White Paper on transport, the role of road freight transports in this is strongly emphasized. This far, however, the efficiency practices utilised in logistics firms are less studied. Drawing from policy goals and new survey data on 295 road transport firms our results show that hauliers are aware of the possible energy efficiency actions but lack the knowledge and resources to fully utilize them. Energy efficiency seems also to be unimportant for many shippers, so there are no incentives for hauliers to improve it. Examples from various countries show that clear energy efficiency improvements can be achieved with active cooperation between hauliers, shippers and policy makers. Such cooperation can be developed in Finland through the sectoral energy efficiency agreements. The novelty and the utility of these results allow scholars to answer important open questions in the national-level determinants of enhancing energy efficiency practices among road freight hauliers, and contribute to our understanding of how these can be fostered in public policies.
Xing, Yuan, David B. Grant, Alan C. McKinnon and John Fernie (2011): The interface between retailers and logistics service providers in the online market, European Journal of Marketing, 45 (3): 334-357.
Abstract: Purpose – The growth in online shopping has presented challenges for physical distribution service quality (PDSQ) provided by retailers, including both multi-channel and pure players, and logistics service providers (LSPs). Issues emerging from a consumer survey regarding electronic physical distribution service quality (e-PDSQ) informed this paper's research, which aims to consider this phenomenon. Design/methodology/approach – The research study employed qualitative interviews with retailers, logistics service providers and experts to consider the consumer survey findings and discuss the current market situation and suggestions for improvement. Findings – Interviewees confirmed that pure players offer better e-PDSQ than multi-channel retailers as well as important constructs of availability, time, condition and returns regarding this phenomenon, but also raised issues of relationships between retailers and LSPs and costs regarding service trade-offs. Research limitations/implications – The research undertaken was exploratory and will require further and wider testing in other contexts and geographical areas to assure external validity. Practical implications – The findings have strategic importance for online retailers and LSPs to achieve competitive advantage and offer superior customer service. Originality/value – This paper extends earlier, limited work on e-PDSQ and considers retailer and LSP points of view concerning previous research into consumer expectations and perceptions of e-PDSQ.
Edwards, Julia B., Alan C. McKinnon and Sharon L. Cullinane (2011): Comparative carbon auditing of conventional and online retail supply chains: a review of methodological issues, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 16 (1): 57-63.
Abstract: Purpose – This paper seeks to examine the various stages in online and conventional retail supply chains in order to assess their relative environmental impacts. With reference to boundary issues, utilisation factors and carbon allocation, it seeks to highlight some of the difficulties in establishing a robust carbon auditing methodology. Design/methodology/approach – Auditing issues are considered from the point of divergence in the respective supply chains (downstream of this point a product is destined either for conventional or online retailing channels, and will receive different treatment accordingly). Findings – The paper explores methodological issues associated with carbon auditing conventional and online retail channels. Having highlighted the problems, it suggests resolutions to these issues. Research limitations/implications – The paper is mostly conceptual in nature. Practical implications – The approach outlined in this paper, once applied, allows the identification of inefficiencies in the respective retail supply chains. Originality/value – The paper is the first to discuss carbon auditing in relation to upstream supply chain analysis for both conventional and online retail channels. Previous work has tended to focus on the last mile delivery.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2010): Green logistics: the carbon agenda, LogForum 6, 3, 1.
Abstract: This paper presents a framework for the decarbonisation of their logistical activities based on five key freight transport parameters: freight transport intensity, modal split, vehicle utilization, energy efficiency and the carbon intensity of the energy used in logistics. It examines the potential to cut GHG emissions by altering each of these parameters. Consideration is also given to the decarbonisation of warehousing operations. It is concluded that many of the GHG reduction measures will also yield financial benefit. The decarbonisation of other sectors of the economy may, however, generate greater demand for logistics services.
Liu, Xiaohong, Alan C. McKinnon, David B. Grant and Yuanhua Feng (2010): Sources of competitiveness for logistics service providers: a UK industry perspective, Logistics Research, 2 (1): 23-32.
Abstract: This paper empirically examines perceptions on the sources of competitiveness for logistics service providers (LSPs) drawing on two influential theories of strategic management, Porter’s competitive advantage theory and the resource-based view (RBV). In contrast to most previous studies of third-party logistics which have viewed the subject from the user’s perspective, this study investigates the perceptions of competitiveness primarily from the LSP’s point of view. It is based on questionnaire data which was collected from UK LSP managers. Standard statistical techniques were applied for the analysis. The empirical results reveal that capabilities are considered most important among the factors of competitiveness suggested by theory. The most critical aspect of an LSP’s capabilities was found to be the service quality capability. At a more theoretical level, the study adds new evidence on the relative explanatory power of the two theories of strategic management used: it indicates that the RBV is the more appropriate in the context given, suggesting that capabilities (i.e., endogenous factor) inside companies are more important in leading to an LSP’s competitiveness and need greater attention than the environmental factors.
Liu, Xiaohong, David B. Grant, Alan C. McKinnon and Yuanhua Feng (2010): An empirical examination of the contribution of capabilities to the competitiveness of logistics service providers: A perspective from China, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 40 (10): 847-866.
Abstract: Purpose – This paper aims to report on an investigation of logistics service provider (LSP) capabilities and how these capabilities contribute to LSP competitiveness in the context of China. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on work from economics and strategy on firm-level competitiveness, particularly the resource-based view, to develop and empirically examined 13 firm-specific capability constructs based on a survey of Chinese LSPs. Findings – Exploratory factor analysis and factor analysis regression indicated all 13 constructs are critical to a Chinese LSP's competitiveness and are interlinked in contributing to it. The findings also revealed the most critical capability is service quality; this capability was further assessed and two sub-constructs of operations and relationship management emerged. Practical implications – The results of the empirical study provide a useful way for LSP managers to identify and appraise their firm's capabilities and competitiveness. Originality/value – This study contributes by addressing a gap of empirical research concerning LSP competitiveness and capabilities.
Fernie, John, Leigh Sparks and Alan C. McKinnon (2010): Retail logistics in the UK: past, present and future, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 38 (11/12): 894-914.
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the logistical transformation of British retailing over the last three decades and discusses the likely challenges that logistics managers will face in the future. It shows how large British retailers seized control of the supply chain and have used logistics as a competitive differentiator. Examples are drawn from the grocery and fashion clothing sectors. Future challenges will include configuring logistical systems to multi-channel retailing, reducing the carbon intensity of retail supply chains and exploiting major advances in ICT.
Xing, Yuan, David B. Grant, Alan C. McKinnon and John Fernie (2010): Physical distribution service quality in online retailing, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 40 (5): 415-432.
Abstract: This paper develops a theoretical framework and empirically investigates physical distribution service (PDS) quality by Internet retailers in their transactions with consumers. An analysis of data that measure hundreds of electronic commerce transactions along with data at the firm level shows that higher shipping and handling charges are good indicators of better PDS quality. Other transaction-level conditions and firm-level attributes also affect PDS quality, as measured by availability, timeliness, and reliability. Most notably, when the net price of products transacted increases, PDS reliability and availability decline. Furthermore, Internet-retailer size is found to favor PDS availability whereas, surprisingly, newer Internet retailers exhibit a higher level of PDS availability than many of their incumbent competitors.
Rodrigues, Vasco Sanchez, Maja I. Piecyk, Andrew Potter, Alan C. McKinnon, Mohamed Naim and Julia B. Edwards (2010): Assessing the application of focus groups as a method for collecting data in logistics, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 13 (1): 75-94.
Abstract: Relatively little attention has been given to methodological issues in the logistics literature. In logistics, ‘we need to take more account of the views of practitioners in the field by supporting quantitative data with qualitative data’ [New, S.J. and Payne, P. (1995). Research frameworks in logistics: three models, seven dinners and a survey. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 25(10), 60–77]. The aim of this paper is to provide a guide on how to deploy focus groups as a supportive method to achieve industrial relevance without compromising the academic rigour of logistics research. We develop a framework that highlights the factors influencing focus groups’ effectiveness in the logistics discipline. Our analysis is based on previous focus groups research applied in logistics and on focus group cases discussed in the paper. We conclude that the focus group method for data collection can be used as a supporting method in logistics research, enabling methodological triangulation that improves the credibility of research results.
Piecyk, Maja I. and Alan C. McKinnon (2010): Forecasting the carbon footprint of road freight transport in 2020, International Journal of Production Economics, 128 (1): 31-42.
Abstract: This paper reports on research undertaken to determine the baseline trends in logistics and supply chain management and associated environmental effects up to 2020. Factors affecting freight transport demand, truck fuel consumption and related CO2 emissions are classified into six categories in relation to different levels of logistical decision-making. The projections are based on the results of seven focus group discussions and a large-scale Delphi survey. Three scenarios are constructed to assess CO2 emission levels from road freight transport in 2020. The likely changes in the key logistics variables are discussed and the complexity of the problem is highlighted.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2010): Product-level carbon auditing of supply chains: Environmental imperative or wasteful distraction?, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 40 (1/2): 42-60.
Abstract: Interest in product‐level carbon auditing and labelling has been growing in both business and government circles. This paper examines the practical problems and costs associated with highly disaggregated analyses of greenhouse gas emissions from supply chains. It then weighs these problems and costs against the potential benefits of the carbon labelling of products. The conclusion is that product-level carbon auditing of supply chains and the related carbon labelling of products will be fraught with difficulty and very costly. While simplification of the auditing process, the use of data inventories and software support may assist these processes, the practicality of applying them to all consumer products seems very doubtful. The resulting environmental benefits are also highly questionable. The main conclusion, therefore, is that product‐level carbon auditing and labelling is a “wasteful distraction” and that it would be better to devote management time and resources to other decarbonisation initiatives.
Edwards, Julia B., Alan C. McKinnon, Tom Cherrett, Fraser McLeod and Liying Song (2010): Carbon Dioxide Benefits of Using Collection-Delivery Points for Failed Home Deliveries in the United Kingdom, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2191 (1): 136-143.
Abstract: Unlike much of the previous research on this topic, which assesses the economic consequences of failed deliveries to the home, this study examines the issue of failed delivery from a carbon-auditing perspective. It considers the potential environmental savings from the use of alternative forms of collection and delivery over traditional delivery methods for failed home deliveries. With a spreadsheet carbon audit model, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for a failed delivery are calculated on the basis of a typical van home delivery round of 120 drops and 50-mi (80-km) distance. Three first-time delivery failure rates (10%, 30%, and 50%) are assessed. The additional CO2 from a second delivery attempt increases the emissions per drop by 9% to 75% (depending on the delivery failure rate). The vast majority (85% to 95%) of emissions emanating from a traditional failed delivery arise not from the repeat van delivery but from the personal travel associated with the customer's collecting a missed redelivery from the carrier's local depot. A range of collection-delivery points (CDPs) (supermarkets, post offices, railway stations) were all found to reduce the environmental impact of this personal travel. Post offices (currently operating a CDP system through the U.K. Royal Mail's Local Collect service) yielded the greatest savings, creating just 13% of the CO2 produced by a traditional collection by car from a local depot. Overall, the research suggests that the use of CDPs offers a convenient and more environmentally friendly alternative to redelivery and customer collection from a local parcel depot.
Edwards, Julia B., Alan C. McKinnon and Sharon L. Cullinane (2010): Comparative analysis of the carbon footprints of conventional and online retailing: A “last mile” perspective, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 40 (1/2): 103-123.
Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this paper is to focus on the carbon intensity of “last mile” deliveries (i.e. deliveries of goods from local depots to the home) and personal shopping trips. Design/methodology/approach Several last mile scenarios are constructed for the purchase of small, non‐food items, such as books, CDs, clothing, cameras and household items. Official government data, operational data from a large logistics service provider, face‐to‐face and telephone interviews with company managers and realistic assumptions derived from the literature form the basis of the calculations. Allowance has been made for home delivery failures, “browsing” trips to the shops and the return of unwanted goods. Findings Overall, the research suggests that, while neither home delivery nor conventional shopping has an absolute CO2 advantage, on average, the home delivery operation is likely to generate less CO2 than the typical shopping trip. Nevertheless, CO2 emissions per item for intensive/infrequent shopping trips by bus could match online shopping/home delivery. Research limitations/implications The number of items purchased per shopping trip, the choice of travel mode and the willingness to combine shopping with other activities and to group purchases into as few shopping trips or online transactions as possible are shown to be critical factors. Online retailers and home delivery companies could also apply measures (e.g. maximising drop densities and increasing the use of electric vehicles) to enhance the CO2 efficiency of their logistical operations and gain a clearer environmental advantage. Practical implications Both consumers and suppliers need to be made more aware of the environmental implications of their respective purchasing behaviour and distribution methods so that potential CO2 savings can be made. Originality/value The paper offers insights into the carbon footprints of conventional and online retailing from a “last mile” perspective.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Maja I. Piecyk (2009): Measurement of CO2 emissions from road freight transport: A review of UK experience, Energy Policy, 37 (10): 3733-3742.
Abstract: It is possible to estimate CO2 emissions from road freight transport in different ways, depending on the definition of trucking activity, the degree of reliance on survey, vehicle test-cycle and traffic count data and the geographical scope of the calculation. The emergence of differing road freight-related CO2 estimates from official sources and revisions to statistical series can frustrate the policy-making process and erode the confidence of industry stakeholders in the validity of the figures. Using UK data, this paper examines the various methods of carbon auditing road freight transport at the national level and compares the results both for a single year (2006) and over a time period. It highlights a series of statistical anomalies and approximations and tries to explain discrepancies that have arisen in the UK data sets. A concluding section considers the general lessons that can be learned from the recent UK experience in this field.
McKinnon, Alan C., Julia B. Edwards, Maja I. Piecyk and Andrew Palmer (2009): Traffic congestion, reliability and logistical performance: a multi-sectoral assessment, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 12 (5): 331-345.
Abstract: The research reported in this paper updates and extends an earlier study, in 1998, of the effects of traffic congestion on logistical efficiency in the UK. It begins by reviewing literature published on the subject over the past decade. This highlights the complexity of the impact of congestion on logistics operations and sectoral variations in their sensitivity to transport-related unreliability. Data from the UK government's Transport KPI surveys are analysed to assess the relative importance of congestion as a source of delays. The paper also reports the results of a cross-sectoral interview survey of 37 managers in 28 companies which examined the relative impact of congestion and assessed the extent to which a range of congestion mitigation measures are currently being applied.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2009): The present and future land requirements of logistical activities, Land Use Policy, 26: S293-S301.
Abstract: The dominant logistical activities of storage, freight transport and materials handling require substantial amounts of land. It is estimated, for example, that in 2006 warehousing occupied around 23,500 ha in England and Wales. This paper examines the changing demand for land from the logistics sector. It begins by classifying logistics-related land uses and reviewing available statistics from government sources and property consultants, most of which apply to warehousing. Recent trends in warehouse development are discussed, particularly the centralisation of floorspace in a smaller number of larger distribution centres. Previous attempts to forecast the future land requirements of logistics have assumed a close correlation between warehouse floorspace and economic growth. This paper argues that this relationship is likely to be distorted by several factors over the next few decades. A model is presented which shows the interaction between a range of factors likely to influence future logistics land requirements. These include the off-shoring of manufacturing, the rebalancing of logistical cost trade-offs in an era of higher oil prices and lower inventory costs, modal shift to rail and water, the growth of online retailing, advances in warehouse technology, the reconfiguration of the waste supply chain and the adaptation of logistical systems to the effects of climate change. The main section of the paper examines the possible effects of each of these factors on the amount of land that will be needed to support logistical activities, and its spatial distribution.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2009): Benchmarking Road Freight Transport: review of a government-sponsored programme, Benchmarking: An International Journal, 16 (5): 640-656.
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of the first ten years of the UK Government's “transport key performance indicator (KPI)” programme which benchmarks the efficiency of road freight operations. Design/methodology/approach – Documentation on nine benchmarking surveys is reviewed and combined with direct experience of programme's implementation to assess the general approach, the synchronised auditing procedure used, the choice of KPIs and resulting benefits to stakeholders. Findings – The programme illustrates how a benchmarking programme can become an instrument of government policy heightening awareness of best practice in freight transport and potential efficiency gains. It has been shown, across various industry supply chains, that similar distribution operations can have markedly different energy intensity. The programme has, nevertheless, been deficient in several respects. Too little attention has been given to the inter-relationship with other logistical activities, the causes of observed differences in efficiency and subsequent changes in company behaviour. Research limitations/implications – Most of the benchmarking exercises have lacked follow-up surveys to enquire about the costs and benefits of company participation. Such surveys should become an integral part of future transport KPI projects. Practical implications – The UK Government has pioneered this form of transport benchmarking. Other governments and organisations can learn from its experience, particularly in dealing with the practical problems of recruiting companies, balancing government and industry requirements and ensuring consistency. Originality/value – The government-sponsored programme of freight transport benchmarking reviewed in this paper is unique. This is the first attempt to summarise its achievements and findings since its launch in 1997.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2007): Increasing fuel prices and market distortion in a domestic road haulage market: the case of the UK, European Transport/Trasporti Europei, April (35): 5-26.
Abstract: Differences in diesel fuel prices can significantly distort competition both between and within domestic road haulage markets. This is well illustrated by the case of the UK, where diesel fuel prices are by far the highest in the EU. The paper examines the effects of high and rising fuel prices on cabotage penetration in the UK road freight market and reviews a series of measures that have been proposed to ‘level the playing field’ between British and foreign hauliers. Within domestic haulage markets, carriers also vary in the extent to which they can recover fuel price increases from shippers. The paper reviews recent empirical evidence on this subject collected in the UK and outlines several methods of compensating hauliers for fuel price rises.
McKinnon, Alan C., Danila Mendes and Marwan Nababteh (2007): In-store logistics: an analysis of on-shelf availability and stockout responses for three product groups, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 10 (3): 251-268.
Abstract: Efforts to maintain high service levels upstream of the shop are often compromised by poor in-store replenishment, which causes the system to fail at the final point of sale, where availability has its greatest impact on consumer behaviour and sales. This paper reports the results of a study of the on-shelf availability (OSA) of three categories of product: dairy products, frozen foods and health and beauty (H&B) items. Data from a quarterly, industry-sponsored survey of OSA were analysed to assess availability trends and patterns. Interviews were conducted with consumers at shop checkouts to determine how they reacted when products were out-of-stock. This revealed marked differences in behavioural responses to stockouts in the three product groups. Interviews were also held with supermarket managers to explore the reasons for stockouts occurring and to seek their views on a range of corrective measures. As H&B items exhibited the highest average stockout rate, a further investigation was conducted on particular replenishment problems of this category of product. This included an analysis of stockouts in two sub-categories of H&B product at stock-keeping unit (SKU) level. Various methods of increasing OSA are proposed, including staff training, overhauling the shelf-replenishment process, improving inventory accuracy, the redesign of packaging and more effective use of planograms.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2007): Decoupling of road freight transport and economic growth trends in the UK: An exploratory analysis, Transport Reviews, 27 (1): 37-64.
Abstract: Between 1997 and 2004, gross domestic product increased in real terms in the UK by one‐fifth, while the volume of road freight movement remained stable. This suggests that the long‐awaited decoupling of economic and freight transport growth has begun, possibly leading to a new era of sustainable logistics. This paper reviews previous research on the decoupling issue and recent trends in gross domestic product/freight tonne‐km elasticities in Europe and the USA. It then examines 12 possible causes of the observed decoupling in the UK using published statistics from a wide range of British and European sources. This analysis indicates that around two‐thirds of the decoupling is due to three factors whose impact can be quantified: the increased penetration of the British road haulage market by foreign operators, a decline in road transport’s share of the freight market, and real increases in road freight rates. Several other factors, most notably the relative growth of the service sector, the diminishing rate of centralization, and the off‐shoring of manufacturing, appear to be having a significant effect, though this finding cannot be measured on the basis of available statistics. The paper concludes that, while the decoupling is in the right direction from a public policy standpoint, the net environmental benefits are likely to be quite modest.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2006): Government plans for lorry road-user charging in the UK: a critique and an alternative, Transport Policy, 13 (3): 204-216.
Abstract: The British government was planning to introduce a system of road-user charging for lorries in 2008. In July 2005, it decided to abandon these plans and incorporate the development of a charging scheme for trucks into a future road pricing system for all categories of traffic. This paper examines the objectives of the proposed lorry road-user charging scheme in the UK and argues that the government's plans for LRUC would have been inappropriate. An alternative method of road-user charging for lorries is proposed which would meet the main objectives of LRUC at much lower cost, disruption and risk and act as an interim measure until it is possible, technically and politically, to introduce general road pricing in the UK.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2006): Life without trucks: the impact of a temporary disruption of road freight transport on a national economy, Journal of Business Logistics, 27 (2): 227-250.
Abstract: Twice over the past 30 years Britain has suffered severe paralysis of its road freight system. This paper explores the likely consequences of a complete cessation of trucking services over the period of a week. By analysing inventory levels, lead times, dependence on road transport and opportunities for substitution in critical sectors, it forecasts a rapid rate of economic collapse.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2006): A review of European truck tolling schemes and assessment of their possible impact on logistics systems, International Journal of Logistics, 9 (3): 191-205.
Abstract: Truck tolling schemes have been introduced in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Britain was planning to launch a lorry road user charging (LRUC) system in 2008, though this has been indefinitely delayed. This paper reviews the various schemes and reveals wide differences in their objectives, coverage, technology, procedures and toll levels. The proposed British system would have been the most complex, allowing tolls to be varied by vehicle type, class of road, geographical area and time of day. The paper also assesses the possible effects of lorry road-user charging on a range of logistical variables, including system design, freight modal choice, truck utilisation, vehicle routing and the scheduling of deliveries. It shows how its logistical effects will depend on the nature of the tolling scheme and level of charges.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Yongli Ge (2006): The potential for reducing empty running by trucks: a retrospective analysis, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 36 (5): 391-410.
Abstract: Purpose – The aim is to examine the recent trend in empty running by trucks in the UK and assesses the potential for a further reduction in empty running in the food supply chain using a new technique. Design/methodology/approach – Data from the UK Government's main road freight survey and other studies are used to investigate the causes of the decline in empty running. Previous attempts to quantify opportunities for backloading are reviewed. The 2002 KPI Survey in the UK food supply chain created a large multi-fleet database of over 20,000 trips, which permitted retrospective analysis of backloading opportunities. A method was devised to screen these opportunities against four selection criteria and assess the overall potential for cutting empty truck-kms. Findings – Suitable backloads were found for only 2.4 per cent of the empty journey legs, representing 2 per cent of empty truck-kms. The analysis highlights the operational constraints on backloading in a sector characterised by short average trip length, tight scheduling and variable use of refrigeration. Research limitations/implications – The analysis provides a more accurate and realistic assessment of backloading potential than previous studies, though is still deficient in several respects. The main shortcomings relate to the sampling method and structure of the Transport KPI Survey. The analytical framework requires further development to refine backload search areas, incorporate commercial data and permit sensitivity analysis. Originality/value – The paper shows how retrospective analysis of road deliveries made over a short period (48 hour) can identify opportunities for backloading at a sectoral level. It combines government statistics and original survey data to provide both a macro- and micro-level perspective on the empty running problem.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2005): The economic and environmental benefits of increasing maximum truck weight: the British experience, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 10 (1): 77-95.
Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of the increase in maximum truck weight in the UK in 2001 on traffic levels, road haulage costs and emissions. It compares the actual effects of this measure with forecasts made a year before the weight limit was raised. This forecast took account of three key factors: the migration of loads to heavier vehicles, a traffic generation effect and the diversion of freight from the rail network. The net reduction in truck-kms by 2003 was at the upper end of the forecast range, though this is likely to under-estimate the long term reduction that will be achieved when the road freight sector has fully adjusted to the new weight limit. The paper includes an historical review of the lorry weight issue in the UK, a comparison with official studies of the issue in the United States and a short discussion of the case for a further increase in maximum truck weight in Britain.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Yongli Ge (2004): Use of a synchronised vehicle audit to determine opportunities for improving transport efficiency in a supply chain, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 7 (3): 219-238.
Abstract: The benchmarking of freight transport efficiency is a key element in the UK government's sustainable distribution strategy. In recent years, the government has sponsored several road transport benchmarking exercises. This paper summarises the results of the second major key performance indicator (KPI) survey of road transport in the food supply chain carried out in 2002. This survey took the form of a synchronised audit of the efficiency of 53 vehicle fleets over a 48-hour period. Five sets of KPIs were monitored relating to vehicle fill, empty running, fuel efficiency, vehicle time utilisation and deviations from schedule. A composite index of energy intensity was calculated to assess the combined effect of vehicle utilisation and fuel efficiency on operating costs and CO2 emissions. Analysis of the KPI data revealed wide variation both within and between industry sub-sectors. Some of this variation was attributable to differences in the nature of the distribution operation. There was also evidence that some companies could achieve significant improvements in transport efficiency by emulating current best practice within their particular sub-sector. The paper concludes with a review of the limitations of this research and recommendations for future surveys of this type.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Deepak Tallam (2003): Unattended delivery to the home: an assessment of the security implications, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 31 (1): 30-41.
Abstract: As the volume of retail sales distributed to the home rises, the proportion of deliveries made when there is no one at home (i.e. “unattended”) is also likely to increase. Traditionally unattended delivery involved leaving orders on the doorstep or with a neighbour. In recent years new systems of secured delivery have been developed, many of them employing reception boxes. This paper classifies the main types of unattended delivery and assesses their relative security. It identifies security problems common to most forms of unattended delivery and examines ways of overcoming them. It also advocates more rigorous analysis of the trade‐offs between delivery cost, customer convenience and security, particularly by the new generation of “e‐fulfilment’ companies.
Fernie, John and Alan C. McKinnon (2003): The grocery supply chain in the UK: improving efficiency in the logistics network, The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 13 (2): 161-174.
Abstract: The UK grocery supply chain has experienced considerable change in the last 30 years and is now considered to be one of the most efficient in the world. It is, nevertheless, acknowledged that further improvements in supply-chain efficiency can be achieved. Using the results of a pioneering survey of transport operations in the food sector, this paper assesses the potential for further cost savings. The results of a second survey of senior managers indicates that efforts to improve vehicle utilization in this sector will be subject to the conflicting pressures of quick response replenishment and traffic congestion.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1999): The effect of traffic congestion on the efficiency of logistical operations, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, 2 (2): 111-128.
Abstract: The level of traffic congestion on the UK road network is steadily increasing and impairing the efficiency of logistical activities. Previous studies have focused on the direct costs of congestion to road users. This paper presents the results of a study of the indirect effects of traffic congestion on the internal operations of seven distribution centres in the fast-moving-consumer-goods sector. In-depth interviews were held with several managers in each of these distribution centres to assess the relative importance of congestion-related delays and to examine how firms have adapted their logistical operations to the congestion problem. The research suggests that it will be very difficult to quantify at a macro level the indirect costs of traffic congestion to industry.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Jim Campbell (1999): Measuring the Potential for Efficiency Improvements in the Food Supply Chain, Supply Chain Practice, 1 (4): 50-59.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1998): The abolition of quantitative controls on road freight transport: the end of an era?, Transport Logistics, 1 (3): 211-223.
Abstract: Over the past decade, the deregulation of the road haulage operations at both national and international levels has gathered momentum, particularly within the European Union. This paper assesses the effects of this removal of quantitative controls and examines the justification for the remaining constraints on own-account operations and for the 'financial standing' requirement that new operators must meet. It also examines the case for re-imposing quantitative licensing in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of road freight transport.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Allan Woodburn (1996): Logistical restructuring and road freight traffic growth, Transportation, 23 (2): 141-161.
Abstract: The forecasting of road freight traffic has relied heavily on the close correlation between GDP and road tonne-kilometers. It has not been rooted in an understanding of the causes of freight traffic growth. The research reported in this paper has investigated this process of traffic growth in two ways: first, by analysing official data on the production, consumption and movement of food and drink products, and second, by conducting a survey of the changing freight transport requirements of 88 large British-based manufacturers. The analysis of secondary data shows how, in the food and drink sector, the relationship between the real value of output and road vehicle-kms hinges on four key parameters: value density, handling factor, average length of haul and consignment size. An attempt is made to explain variations in these parameters. The survey of manufacturers suggests that the growth of lorry traffic is the net result of a complex interaction between factors operating at four levels of logistical management: strategic planning of logistical systems, choice of suppliers and distributors, scheduling of product flow and the management of transport resources. Changes in the frequency and scheduling of freight deliveries in response to tightening customer service requirements and just-in-time management appear to have become a more prevalent cause of freight traffic growth than the physical restructuring of logistical systems. Manufacturers anticipate that their road freight demand will broadly increase in line with sales and be largely unaffected by road transport cost increases at the levels currently proposed. The paper concludes by examining their likely reactions to a much sharper increase in the cost of road freight movement.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1996): The empty running and return loading of road goods vehicles, Transport Logistics, 1 (1): 1-19.
Abstract: The proportion of lorry-kilometres run empty in the UK declined by 11% between 1982 and 1993, yielding significant economic and environmental benefits. This paper examines possible reasons for this trend and identifies five contributory factors: the lengthening of lorry journeys, increasing number of drops per trip, expansion of load-matching services, growth in the reverse flow of packaging material/handling equipment and greater effort by shippers to obtain return loads. Original survey data are used to classify and rank the different types of return loading in which manufacturers and retailers engage. Company responses suggest that backloading is likely to increase significantly, though still be subject to numerous constraints. The paper examines these constraints in detail and suggests ways in which they might be relaxed. The development of supply chain management, advances in vehicle routeing software and increasing road transport costs are likely to promote more balanced vehicle loading.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Allan Woodburn (1994): The consolidation of retail deliveries: its effect on CO2 emissions, Transport Policy, 1 (2): 125-136.
Abstract: Over the past 20 years large British retailers have transformed the system of shop delivery by centralizing inventory at distribution centres and delivering supplies in large consolidated loads. This rationalization of the pattern of delivery receives little mention in retailers' environmental policy statements, despite the fact that it is likely to have reduced emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. This paper assesses the likely effects of the system on CO2 levels and suggests that any reductions upstream of the shop are likely to have been more than offset by the greater use of cars on shopping trips.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1994): Channel Tunnel freight services between Scotland and continental Europe: an examination of the opportunities and constraints, Applied Geography, 14 (1): 68-86.
Abstract: Recent research has revealed strong demand among Scottish manufacturers for improved international freight transport links. The development of new Channel Tunnel services will help to meet this demand. International road haulage, which currently handles the majority of Scottish unitized freight, will nevertheless derive relatively little benefit from the tunnel shuttle service. The new through-rail services will provide a much greater opportunity for Scottish exporters. Although not necessarily depressing freight rates, they should be able to offer shorter and more reliable transit times and thus strengthen the competitive position of the high-value, time-sensitive products which account for the majority of Scotland's exports to Europe. The use of small-wheeled rolling stock on these services is likely to be sub-optimal, though, for Scotland, the enlargement of the rail loading gauge only as far as a London or Midlands railhead would prove more problematic. The paper assesses the likely utilization of the through-rail services and confirms, on the basis of new market research, that official forecasts are of the right order of magnitude. Doubt is expressed, however, about the ability of the Eurofreight terminal planned for North Lanarkshire to act as a nucleus for industrial and distribution development. The new Channel Tunnel freight services are likely to have a positive effect on the Scottish economy, though their influence on the volume and pattern of the region's trade with Europe is likely to be modest.
McKinnon, Alan C. and Allan Woodburn (1993): A logistical perspective on the growth of lorry traffic, Traffic Engineering & Control, 34 (10).
McKinnon, Alan C., Iain Stirling and Justin Kirkhope (1993): Improving the fuel efficiency of road freight operations, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 23 (9): 3-11.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1992): Manufacturing in a Peripheral Location: An assessment of the logistical penalties, The International Journal of Logistics Management, 3 (2): 31-48.
Abstract: In terms of logistics, manufacturers located in peripheral areas are generally considered to be at a disadvantage. Surveys of Scottish manufacturers suggest that any logistical disadvantage is likely to stem more from inadequacies in the quality of transport services than from higher movement costs. The paper attempts to explain why manufacturers in peripheral areas do not incur a significant transport cost penalty and examines the various ways in which their international transport links can be deficient. Little evidence can be found to show that these manufacturers compensate for the greater length of their supply and distribution links by carrying larger inventories.
Graham, Ian, Fiona O'Doherty, Alan C. McKinnon and Lynne Baxter (1992): Hypergame analysis of the stability of relationships between computerbased logistics systems, International Journal of Production Economics, 26 (1-3): 303-310.
Abstract: Current inventory management literature stresses the importance of cooperation between organisations in achieving and maintaining efficient supply relationships. This is in contrast to the conflict which has underpinned orthodox competitive supply. Management writers, notably Carlisle and Parker (1989), argue that companies should move towards a reduced supplier base, longer-term contracts and cooperation on operational issues. Their justification for this assertion is based on descriptions of successful cooperative supply relationships. This paper describes research being undertaken to use hypergame theory to analyse supply relationships and modify the control systems in use to make efficient cooperative supply stable and self-policing. The paper will discuss these issues and describe their application with reference to a study of the supply relationship between a large engineering company and their vendor of forgings.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1991): Regional Variations in Manufacturing Inventory Levels, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 21 (6): 4-14.
Abstract: The extent to which the ratio of inventory to value added for manufacturing industry varies between regions in the UK is examined. An analysis of regionally disaggregated inventory data obtained from the British Census of Production reveals wide regional variations in this ratio, with the three most peripheral regions being significantly overstocked relative to the national average. Stock levels in one of these regions, Scotland, are examined in detail in an effort to identify possible causes of the overstocking. Industrial structure and length of supply line appear not to be important factors. As much of the excess inventory is in the work‐in‐progress category, the overstocking is largely intrinsic to the production operation.
Fernie, John and Alan C. McKinnon (1991): The impact of changes in retail distribution on a peripheral region: the case of Scotland, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 19 (7): 25-32.
Abstract: This research examines recent changes in retail distribution and the implications of such changes on the logistical support to stores in Scotland. As increasing volumes of stock are channelled through warehouses controlled by retailers, stock is being centralised in large regional distribution centres (RDCs) serving wide geographical markets. Scotland is geographically marginal to the mainstream operations of most British retailers; the research therefore focused upon the current pattern of retail distribution facilities in Scotland and the future demand for sites by retailers and third party contractors acting on their behalf. Data were collected by personal interview and postal questionnaire from a total of 63 multiple retailers and 23 distribution companies. Most retail multiples supply their Scottish outlets from RDCs in England, either by a direct trunk haul or via intervening transhipment or demountable points. There has been a tendency for both manufacturers and retailers to withdraw stockholding from Scotland and serve the Scottish market from warehouses in England. Many of these companies, however, continue to require a break‐bulk operation north of the border. While the main phase of RDC development appears to be over, particularly in the grocery trade, it is likely that significant new investment in distribution facilities in Scotland will occur in the near future. Seventeen of the retailers in the survey expected to undertake some form of distribution development by 1995, eight of them anticipated setting up an RDC. In aggregate terms this translates into warehouse demand for around 80,000 square metres and approximately 20‐25 hectares of land. Although this and past investment has created thousands of jobs, job losses have also occurred through various displacement effects, most notably the rationalisation of retailers′ supply systems, the decimation of manufacturers′ depot networks and the closure of contractors′ common user depots.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1990): Electronic data interchange in the retail supply chain: the distribution contractor's role, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 18 (2): 39-42.
Abstract: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) can bring many benefits. It allows orders, invoices and other commercial information to be relayed directly between different firms' computer networks. Distribution contractors must, like the suppliers, become integrated into these EDI networks.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1989): The Growth of Road Freight in the UK, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 19 (4): 3-13.
Abstract: The volume of road freight movement in the UK has more than doubled over the past 25 years and its present growth is considerably exceeding official forecasts made in 1984. An attempt is made to explain why this growth has occurred, taking account of the close relationship between tonne‐kilometres and economic growth and outlining several spatial processes likely to have contributed to freight traffic growth. The spatial concentration of economic activity is identified as the dominant influence. The growth process appears to have undergone a major change during the 1980s, with the increase in average length of haul easing and the earlier downward trend in freight tonnage being sharply reversed. The implications of these recent trends for future freight traffic growth are discussed and an assessment made of the likely impact of the Channel Tunnel and deregulation of international haulage on the volume of road freight movement in the 1990s.
Marshall, J. Neill, Peter Wood, Peter Daniels and Alan C. McKinnon (1987): Producer Services and Uneven Development, Area, 19 (1): 35-41.
Abstract: The paper conmarises the occlusions of an IBG limited-life working party examining the role of producer services in uneven development. It argues for a reassessment of the concentration on manufacturing in studies of industrial location. Government statistics and academic research require a better appreciation of the heterogeneity and complex market relationships within the producer service sector. A 'market-based' classification which recognises the interdependence of producer services and other activities and a framework for understanding their location are proposed. Directions for future research are outlined.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1986): The Physical Distribution Strategies of Multiple Retailers, Retail and Distribution Management, 14 (5): 49-63.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1986): Multiple Retailers' Distribution Strategies: Effects on Patterns of Land Use and Traffic Flow, The Planner, 72 (7): 16-20.
Abstract: The most conspicuous changes in distribution over the previous 30 years occurred at the retail level. Changes in the supporting logistical systems were just as pronounced though received much less attention. One of the most important logistical developments over this period was the growth in multiple retailers’ involvement in distribution upstream of the shop. This was manifest in the emergence of a new generation of large distribution centres, many of them clustered around strategic motorway intersections. Little consideration had been given to the wider implications of this form of property development for land use planning and the management of traffic flows. It is with these issues that this paper is primarily concerned.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1986): Distributing imported goods to British customers, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 14 (5): 86-91.
Abstract: Interest in international physical distribution traditionally focused on the outbound movement of exports. Prior to the publication of this paper little consideration was given to the way in which foreign manufacturers distributed their products in the UK market. In a country with a relatively high level of import penetration like the UK, imported goods account for a large proportion of total freight movement and warehouse inventory. This article examined the nature and extent of foreign manufacturers’ involvement in logistical operations in the UK. It was based on a questionnaire survey of 55 foreign manufacturers selling imported goods to UK consumers.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1985): The Distribution Systems of Supermarket Chains by Alan C. McKinnon, The Service Industries Journal, 5 (2): 226-238.
Abstract: This article considers the benefits supermarket chains may achieve from setting up their own distribution systems and attempts to explain differences in distribution strategies. These differences appear to be closely related to differences in the way chains have grown, management investment preferences and turnover composition, taken in conjunction with total sales, branch size and geographical extent of the business.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1984): Demonstrating the use of spatial optimising techniques by means of a freight distribution game, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 8 (2): 151-157.
Abstract: Spatial optimising techniques find wide practical application in the field of distribution planning. This paper describes an operational game which shows how three of these techniques can be used in the design of a simple distribution system.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1983): The development of warehousing in England, Geoforum, 14 (4): 389-399.
Abstract: Over the past decade there has been a growing recognition by the business community, central government and local planners of the economic importance of warehousing. This importance can be measured in terms of the value of stock held in warehouses, their very rapid growth relative to other types of commercial property and the employment they create. This article reviews changes in business and planning attitudes to warehousing, accounts for the recent growth of warehouse floorspace in England and examines the spatial distribution of this growth.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1982): Distribution by rail in the United Kingdom, Geography, 67 (1): 51-54.
Journal Articles (Professional)
McKinnon, Alan and Moritz Petersen (2021): Decarbonising European logistics: a progress report., Logistics & Transport Focus, 23: 38-40.
McKinnon, Alan C., Christoph Flöthmann and Kai Hoberg (2016): Skills shortages in logistics: a global overview, CILT Logistics & Transport Focus, November: 34-36.
McKinnon, Alan and Moritz Petersen (2021): Measuring Industry`s Temperature: An Environmental Progress Report on European Logistics. Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains at Kühne Logistics University: Endbericht Forschungsprojekt.
Abstract: This report summarises the results of a survey of over 90 senior executives to determine the extent to which their businesses are working to improve the environmental sustainability of their logistics operations, mainly by cutting carbon emissions. The report includes short case studies in which eight companies outline sustainable logistics initiatives they have undertaken: Procter & Gamble, Stora Enso, Kuehne+Nagel, Tata Steel, Saint-Gobain Isover and Transporeon, Vlantana, Bertschi, and LKW Walter. The report concludes with a series of recommendations for the various stakeholders in the European logistics industry.
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McKinnon, Alan C. (2018): Decarbonizing logistics: Distributing goods in a low-carbon world, Kogan Page: London, 9780749483807.
Abstract: Logistics accounts for around 9-10% of global CO2 emissions and will be one of the hardest economic sectors to decarbonize. This is partly because the demand for freight transport is expected to rise sharply over the next few decades, but also because it relies very heavily on fossil fuel. Decarbonizing Logistics outlines the nature and extent of the challenge we face in trying to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from logistical activities. It makes a detailed assessment of the available options, including restructuring supply chains, shifting freight to lower carbon transport modes and transforming energy use in the logistics sector. The options are examined from technological and managerial standpoints for all the main freight transport modes. Based on an up-to-date review of almost 600 publications and containing new analytical frameworks and research results, Decarbonizing Logistics is the first to provide a global, multi-disciplinary perspective on the subject. It is written by one of the foremost specialists in the field who has spent many years researching the links between logistics and climate change and been an adviser to governments, international organizations and companies on the topic.
McKinnon, Alan C., Christoph Flöthmann, Kai Hoberg and Christina Busch (2017): Logistics Competences, Skills, and Training: A global overview, World Bank: Washington D.C., 1464811407.
Abstract: Despite the spread of automation and new supply chain management paradigms, logistics remains dependent on a rather specific set of skills and competences, whether for managerial, administrative or blue collar jobs, such as trucking or warehousing. This implies that the logistical performance of businesses, industries and nation states is strongly influenced by the quantity and quality of the workforce. Insufficient resources of a competent and properly trained workforce in logistics adversely affect the quality of service, reduce productivity in sectors dependent on logistics and ultimately reduce trade competitiveness. While other interventions that affect logistics performance, such as international infrastructures, trade corridors, regulations and services have already been reviewed extensively, this report is the first to cover the contributions of human resources and how to develop skills and improve competences, especially in developing countries. The study proposes a framework for the skills needed according to the logistics activity (e.g. transportation or warehousing) or the type and level of responsibilities. Based on several sources, including recent surveys carried out by the World Bank and the Kuehne Logistics University, the report uncovers where the skills constraints are according to the type of job or countries. Findings include that logistics is an industry struggling to hire skilled workers, although with differences between rich countries (where trucker shortages are more acute) vs. developing economies (were managerial shortages are more widespread). Typically blue-collar logistics jobs have lower status and lower pay than blue-collar jobs in other industries, and are thus less attractive for skilled workers. In developing countries with a potentially available workforce, lack of vocational preparation for careers in logistics means that less skilled workers are not easily re-skilled. Logistics tasks at the upper end of the occupational hierarchy and those with high IT content often require an upskilling of employees to keep pace with new technology. Yet the problem is not confined to recruitment. The surveys points to limited resources, money and staff time allocated to training, especially in developing countries. Realizing the promise of quality jobs from the growth of logistics worldwide requires a coordinated effort by logistics companies, professional associations, training providers and policymakers. Through a combination of facilitation, regulation, advice, financial instruments and land use planning, governments can exert significant influence. © World Bank
McKinnon, Alan C., Michael Browne and Anthony Whiteing (eds.) (2015): Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics, Kogan Page, 074946626X.
Abstract: As concern for the environment rises, companies must take more account of the external costs of logistics associated mainly with climate change, air pollution, noise, vibration and accidents. Green Logistics analyses the environmental consequences of logistics and how to deal with them. Written by a leading team of logistics academics, the book examines ways of reducing these externalities and achieving a more sustainable balance between economic, environmental and social objectives. It examines key areas in this important subject including: carbon auditing of supply chains; transferring freight to greener transport modes; reducing the environmental impact of warehousing; improving fuel efficiency in freight transport; reverse logistics for the management of waste. The new edition is completely updated throughout with new methodologies and case studies to illustrate the impact of green logistics in practice.
McKinnon, Alan C., Michael Browne and Anthony Whiteing (eds.) (2012): Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics, Kogan Page, 074946626X.
Abstract: As concern for the environment rises, companies must take more account of the external costs of logistics associated mainly with climate change, air pollution, noise, vibration and accidents. Green Logistics analyses the environmental consequences of logistics and how to deal with them. Written by a leading team of logistics academics, the book examines ways of reducing these externalities and achieving a more sustainable balance between economic, environmental and social objectives. It examines key areas in this important subject including: carbon auditing of supply chains; transferring freight to greener transport modes; reducing the environmental impact of warehousing; improving fuel efficiency in freight transport; reverse logistics for the management of waste. The new edition is completely updated throughout with new methodologies and case studies to illustrate the impact of green logistics in practice.
Evangelista, Pietro, Alan C. McKinnon, Edward Sweeney and Emilio Esposito (eds.) (2012): Supply chain innovation for competing in highly dynamic markets: Challenges and solutions, Business Science Reference: Hershey, 1609605853.
McKinnon, Alan C. (ed.) (2010): Green logistics: Improving the environmental sustainability of logistics, Kogan Page: London, 0749456787.
McKinnon, Alan C., Kenneth Button and Peter Nijkamp (eds.) (2002): Transport logistics, Elgar: Cheltenham, 9781840645514.
McKinnon, Alan C. (1989): Physical distribution systems, Routledge: London, 9780415030281.
McKinnon, Alan C. (ed.) (1989): Institute of Logistics and Distribution Yearbook 1989, Kogan Page: London, 9781850918042; 185091804X.
McKinnon, Alan C., Kai Hoberg, Moritz Petersen and Christina Busch (2017): Assessing and Improving Countries’ Logistics Skills and Training, in: Jahn, Carlos, Wolfgang Kersten and Christian M. Ringle (ed.): Digitalization in Maritime and Sustainable Logistics - Proceedings of Hamburg International Conference of Logistics, epubli: Hamburg, 97-117.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2003): Influenceing Company Logistics Management, in: European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ed.): Managing the fundamental drivers of transport demand: Proceedings of the international seminar, OECD: Paris, 60-74.
McKinnon, Alan C. (2019): Freight Transport and Logistics, in: Stanley, John and David A. Hensher (ed.): A Research Agenda for Transport Policy, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd: Cheltenham, UK, 99-107.
Liu, Xiaohong, Alan C. McKinnon and Ning Wei (2018: online): An Analysis of Energy-Related CO2 Emissions from China’s Logistics Industry, in: Liu, Xiaohong (ed.): Environmental Sustainability in Asian Logistics and Supply Chains, Springer: Singapore, 3-19.
Abstract: China’s logistics industry has developed rapidly in recent years. As the level of logistical activity has grown so has the sector’s carbon footprint. The measurement and control of these logistics-related CO2 emissions is of vital importance to the nation’s energy and climate change strategies. This paper reports the results of an analysis of these emissions over the period 2000‐2015 using two decomposition techniques, i.e. Environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) and the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI). In absolute terms, the amount of CO2 emissions from China’s logistics industry rose sharply and exhibited a cubic relationship with GDP rather than the more typical EKC curve. On the other hand, the ratio of CO2 emissions to energy consumption for China’s logistics industry was found to be declining. From the perspective of energy usage, two factors, energy intensity and energy structure, are identified as being the main contributors to the decrease in CO2 emission intensity, with energy intensity dominating. On the basis of these research results, the paper discusses ways of further reducing the CO2 emission intensity of China’s logistics industry.