The impact of logistics solutions on customer satisfaction: an exploratory qualitative study of manufacturing companies

Purpose of the paper: The main purpose of this paper is to expand the debate concerning the different logistics solutions implemented in order to increase customer satisfaction.

Methodology: This research utilises a multi-case study approach conducted within 12 medium- and large-sized Italian manufacturing companies and the interviews of 16 managers. The interview questions were based on key issues derived from the extant literature.

Findings: Analysing and coding the answers of the managers led to the identification of five theoretical categories of logistics solutions to increase customer satisfaction. Categories such as Supplier with innovative logistics knowledge and skills, Green logistics solutions and Lean and agile solutions were deemed the most important with regards to impact on satisfaction, whereas Reverse logistics solutions and Sharing ICT and logistics performance measurement system were considered less important.

Research limitations: The limitations of this research are mainly linked to the use of a small sample of companies and a qualitative inductive inquiry which has led to more exploratory than validated results.

Implications: Based on the reported results, practitioners who want to implement logistics solutions in manufacturing companies can now choose solutions that will best impact customer satisfaction. For academics the challenge is to further validate the theoretical categories that emerged from this research as hypotheses.

Originality/value of the paper: This paper brings to light original and valuable findings related to the priorities of logistics solutions for customer satisfaction showing unexpected results in terms of impact ranking.

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