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The Role of Logistics' Information and Communication Technologies in Promoting Competitive Advantages of the Firm

Garrido Azevedo, Susana and Ferreira, João and Leitão, João (2007): The Role of Logistics' Information and Communication Technologies in Promoting Competitive Advantages of the Firm.

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Abstract

With the rapid growth of technologies, our economic society and life are changing significantly in the 21th century. The way to capture their competitive advantage has become the most important issue for enterprises in the rapidly changing and uncertain business environments. Many researches have pointed out that the adoption of technology is the most important tool for enterprises to keep their competitive advantage. The survival of an enterprise in the age of knowledge-based economy depends on how to improve their technological capability. In this sense, firms should develop adequate methodologies, in order to adopt, in a successful way, new technologies in the logistics field, and also to integrate logistics into the corporate strategy for becoming even more competitive. Growing number of firms are under pressure from their partners to change their traditional management style, both operationally and organizationally, replacing them with integrated systems that help increase the speed and fluidity of physical and information flows. In order to reach this kind of integration they are investing on new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In this paper we consider that the ICT are the devices or infrastructures to make more efficient the communications of business information among organizations (Dawe, 1994). Being so, the present paper aims: (i) to highlight the importance of ICT on logistics; and (ii) to understand the impact of ICT on the firms’ competitiveness. In this paper a conceptual model for the adoption of Logistics’ ICT is presented, by taking into consideration four determinant factors: individual, organizational, technological or innovation, and environmental. The interaction established between the referred determinant factors may be identified through the computation of the predominant factor, by using a selected set of adequate indicators and a simple geometry methodology. These procedures may provide the identification of the sources of firms’ competitive advantages that adopt Logistics’ ICT. The Logistics’ ICT analysed in this paper are grouped into four types, such as, the identification, the data communications and the data acquisition technologies. With regard to the identification technologies, firms may appeal to barcoding, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). The barcoding (Chapman et al., 2003; Ellram et al., 1999), and RFID (Kumar et al., 2006; Twist, 2005; Choy et al., 2007), are identification technologies that facilitate logistics information collection and exchange. Nowadays, as regards the data acquisition technologies, the firms usually deal with a large amount of goods and data which means that data collection and exchange are critical for logistics information management and control. Good quality in data acquisition can help firms deliver customers' goods more accurately and efficiently. To attain this goal firms could appeal to some data acquisition technologies in logistics field, such as the optical scanning, the electronic pen notepads, (Lin, 2006), the voice recognition and the robotics (Dawe, 1994).

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