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HomeResearchLast-Mile Supply Network Distribution in Omnichannel Retailing

Last-Mile Supply Network Distribution in Omnichannel Retailing

Reference: Lim, S.F.W.T., Rabinovich, E., Rogers, D.S. and Laseter, T.M. 2016. Last-mile supply network distribution in omnichannel retailing: A configuration-based typology. Foundations and Trends® in Technology, Information and Operations Management,10(1): 1-87.


This monograph develops a configuration-based typology describing last-mile supply network (LMSN) distribution configurations in omnichannel retailing. The goal was to integrate relevant terms that have been used disjointedly, with fragmented bodies of theory describing various forms ofLMSN. A review of the academic and practice literature was conducted and complemented with secondary observations identifying the key configuration dimensions. Established guidelines for typology and theory building (e.g., Doty and Glick, 1994) were employed in order to develop the typology.The proposed typology comprises four ideal types: SimpleLMSN, Hyperlocal LMSN, One-Stop LMSN, and ProteanLMSN. The four types are described along the dimensions of: (1) network structure, (2) network flow, (3) relationship governance, and (4) service architecture. Referred to here as the SHOP typology in LMSN, each type is associated with one or more core logistics capabilities elaborated on in a capability profile.The typology identifies useful LMSN evolutionary pat-terns and enables scholars to develop models and theories based on the four configurations relating their findings to a specific configuration or across them, rather than expanding efforts on separate and unconnected studies. Notwithstanding, it incorporates elements of the omnichannel context which updates the previous “chain-centric” typology developed by Boyer et al.(2005). It also serves as a stepping-stone toward improved insights on what drives, facilitates, and inhibits “fit” potential of LMSN distribution configuration.The research output enhances managers’ understanding of the various forms of LMSN and assists in the identification of possible routes to establish configuration footprints across different LMSNs to support retailers’ omnichannel retailing strategies.

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