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Verifying the effects of digitalisation in retail logistics: an efficiency-centred approach

: Loske, D.; Klumpp, M.


International journal of logistics (2020), Online First
ISSN: 1367-5567 (print)
ISSN: 1469-848X (online)
Fraunhofer IML ()

In the digitisation development of economy, logistics is of central importance due to the linkage of information and material flow throughout supply chains. However, verifiable effects in terms of efficiency have not been empirically shown in many cases yet. Therefore, this paper develops an efficiency analysis to evaluate the impact of changing levels of digitalisation. An efficiency-centred cross-sectional approach uses Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) for assessing the performance of 60 truck drivers, as well as Malmquist productivity index for longitudinal analysis of 50 truck drivers between 2012 and 2018. The results of the DEA model indicate that a change in the level of digitalisation entails a loss of the efficiency level in the first instance, which can be compensated and even surpassed later. Findings of the Malmquist model prove positive long term effects of several digitalisation steps on transport logistics efficiency. As the proposed methodologies only allow an a posteriori evaluation for the impact of digitalisation, we develop an a priori simulation approach, based on empirical DEA results, statistical bootstrapping and regression analyses. Both approaches allow logistics researchers and managers to achieve a better understanding regarding the success or failure of digital transformation scenarios from an efficiency perspective.