The impact of information
technology on the competitive
advantage of logistics ﬁrms
School of Accounting and Information Systems,
University of Southern Mississippi, Long Beach, Mississippi, USA
Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics,
Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong,
People’s Republic of China, and
School of International Trade and Economics,
University of International Business and Economics, Huixin Dong Jie,
Beijing, People’s Republic of China
Purpose – This paper seeks to examine the impact of information technology (IT) on the competitive
advantages of third-party logistics (3PL) ﬁrms in China.
Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire-based mail survey was conducted in mainland
China. Spline regressions were used to model the relationship between IT and competitive advantages.
Findings – This study found that IT could signiﬁcantly inﬂuence a ﬁrm’s competitive advantage,
and the effects are nonlinear.
Research limitations/implications – The modeled relationship between IT and competitive
advantages may not hold in different cultural environments and industrial settings. The sample size
Practical implications – A higher IT focus may improve a ﬁrm’s competitive advantage. To
achieve competitive advantages efﬁciently, it is essential to integrate IT, align IT strategy and
business strategy, obtain IT-related management skills, and achieve IT competency. 3PL managers
can expect competitive advantages from their investments in IT to begin showing up when the
deployment of IT is higher than the average relative to competitors.
Originality/value – This paper is a pioneering study that investigates the relationship between IT
and competitive advantages in 3PL ﬁrms; is a pioneering study on IT and its impact on competitive
advantages in China’s 3PL ﬁrms; and provides valuable guidance and insights for 3PL managers to
improve competitive advantages using information technology.
Keywords Information, Technology led strategy, Competitive advantage, Logistics data processing, China
Paper type Research paper
Logistics has evolved dramatically from a passive, cost-absorbing function and
supportive role to a primary role. It can help companies to achieve competitive
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Industrial Management & Data
Vol. 106 No. 9, 2006
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