Horizontal collaboration in the last mile distribution: Gauging managerial response to disruption and abnormal demand

Maria Argyropoulou, Dimitris Zissis, Nikolaos Korfiatis, Eleni Zampou

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Abstract

Purpose: Last mile distribution is a crucial element of any supply chain network, and its complexity has challenged established practices and frameworks in the management literature. This is particularly evident when demand surges, as with recent lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent demand for home delivery services. Given the importance of this critical component, this study recommends horizontal collaboration as a possible solution for retailers seeking to improve the quality of their services. Design/methodology/approach: This study investigates whether horizontal collaboration should be considered as an option for faster and greener distribution of groceries ordered online. Using the United Kingdom and Greek grocery markets that differ in terms of online grocery penetration, distribution network structure and delivery times, the study discusses how the effectiveness of pooling resources can create positive spillover effects for consumers, businesses and society. Findings: Despite their differences, both markets indicate the need for horizontal collaboration in the highly topical issue of last mile delivery. Originality/value: Taking a theoretical and practical view in cases of disruption and constant pressure in last mile distribution, horizontal collaboration supports retailers to coordinate routes, increase fleet and vehicle utilisation, reduce traffic and carbon emissions while improving customer satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBenchmarking: An International Journal
Early online date16 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Coopetition
  • Online grocery market
  • Resource pooling

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