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Internal Drivers of External Flexibility: A Detailed Analysis

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Doctoral thesis

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This research examines internal logistics flexibility ILF, i.e., how a supplier is able to meet changing customer demand through its logistics activities. The dissertation follows a three paper format. The first two papers are conceptual pieces, while the third is a case study. The first paper extends previous research on logistics flexibility by identifying from a customer perspective, what a supplier has to do in order to be considered logistically flexible. Research showed that suppliers need physical, human, and organizational capital resources to set a foundation for internal logistics flexibility. Internal logistics flexibility has both a customer orientation and organizational structure component which allow a supplier to understand customer demand and dedicate resources to meet that demand. The second paper develops an assessment tool which managers can use to identify current levels of internal logistics flexibility and areas that need improvement. The internal logistics flexibility assessment tool ILFAT is grounded in the strategystructure-performance framework. The third paper focuses on a food service provider, SYSCO, whose customer orientation strategy puts them in tune with the needs of their customers and has used that insight to build logistics operations focused on fulfilling those needs. A suppliers customer orientation is critically important in meeting customer demand.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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