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Innovation networks in logistics - management and competitive advantages

: Wirtz, Harald


International journal of innovation science 3 (2011), No.4, pp.177-191
ISSN: 1757-2223
Journal Article
Fraunhofer INT ()
innovation networks; network management; transaction cost theory; resource oriented approach; DHL

Networks have become an important organization form for creating and disseminating innovations in many sectors. Innovation networks can help to cope with the demands of increasing competition and rapidly changing markets. This view has established also in the logistics sector. The objective of this treatise is to help readers understand the management of innovation networks based on a case study that examines how the DHL Group, one of the world's largest providers of logistics services, organizes its innovative activities with its network partners. The special focus is the network management and competitive advantages for DHL resulting form the network. The network of DHL Solutions & Innovations (DSI), a business unit in which the DHL Group bundles and coordinates its innovation activities, is described and analyzed. DSI utilizes a large international network of heterogeneous partners, which is largely being controlled through focal means and which is configured dynamically. Functions selection, allocation, regulation and evaluation are stringently organized within this innovation network and are highly formalized. The advantages of the chosen organizational format for the network are explained on the basis of the resource oriented approaches and the transaction cost theory.