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Home/Research/Our Research Agenda/Logistics Management

As an institute for higher education, SSM wants to contribute the leaders of tomorrow that further social and economic development in their regions. Therefore, we promote a research agenda in our doctoral program. On that agenda we have a few fields that are key aspects of social and economic development, namely: competitiveness, logistics management, high performance organizations (HPO), small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) an entrepreneurship & social and economic development.

Logistics Management

Infrastructure is claimed to be, if not the engine, the wheels of the economy (World Bank, 1994; Rodriguez, 2006). Many studies based on time series analysis, show high correlations between aggregate investments in infrastructure and economic growth. Comparative studies across countries, suggest that the same holds true for emerging economies. However, correlation is not the same as causality, and the results may very well be due to reversed causality – where higher levels of GDP lead to investments in infrastructure rather than the other way around. Empirical analysis on the growing economic disparities between rich and poor countries suggests that, indeed, a positive effect of infrastructure provision on economic growth and productivity; however, there is no indication that differences in infrastructure provisions have contributed substantially to increasing disparities (Rodriguez, 2006).

The logistics industry is important in enhancing the competitiveness of other industries (Serez & Abasiz, 2017). Serez and Abasiz, from their study on OECD-countries, conclude that railroad freight transportation has little impact on economic growth, in contrast to airline freight transportation, length of the highway and railroad networks. Telecommunications and communications variables like all contributed to the economic growth positively. Overall, they conclude that developments in the logistics industry in OECD countries were the dominant determinants of economic growth.

Kauschke et al (2010), in a scenario analysis of global trends predict that global supply chains will change dramatically, whereby trade volumes are expected to shift towards emerging economies. This implies that it is more important than ever for emerging economies to catch up with developed

1.1 Introduction

Infrastructure is claimed to be, if not the engine, the wheels of the economy (World Bank, 1994; Rodriguez, 2006). Many studies based on time series analysis, show high correlations between aggregate investments in infrastructure and economic growth. Comparative studies across countries, suggest that the same holds true for emerging economies. However, correlation is not the same as causality, and the results may very well be due to reversed causality – where higher levels of GDP lead to investments in infrastructure rather than the other way around. Empirical analysis on the growing economic disparities between rich and poor countries suggests that, indeed, a positive effect of infrastructure provision on economic growth and productivity; however, there is no indication that differences in infrastructure provisions have contributed substantially to increasing disparities (Rodriguez, 2006).

The logistics industry is important in enhancing the competitiveness of other industries (Serez & Abasiz, 2017). Serez and Abasiz, from their study on OECD-countries, conclude that railroad freight transportation has little impact on economic growth, in contrast to airline freight transportation, length of the highway and railroad networks. Telecommunications and communications variables like all contributed to the economic growth positively. Overall, they conclude that developments in the logistics industry in OECD countries were the dominant determinants of economic growth.

Kauschke et al (2010), in a scenario analysis of global trends predict that global supply chains will change dramatically, whereby trade volumes are expected to shift towards emerging economies. This implies that it is more important than ever for emerging economies to catch up with developed countries.

In this respect, it is worrisome that over the last decade, Nigeria has slipped down the ranks of the Logistic Performance Index (LPI; https://lpi.worldbank.org/). Nigeria’s fell back from rank 75 in 2014, to rank 90 in 2016, and rank 110 in 2018. The relative rank in figure 1 below, indicates that while Nigeria held a middle position in 2014, around 70% of the 160 countries included in the LPI-survey perform better than Nigeria.

Figure 1. LPI of Nigeria 2007-2018

The LPI is composed of several components: customs; infrastructure; ease of shipments; logistics quality; track & trace; and timeliness (more information can be found in the LPI-methodology (World Bank, 2014). The overall LPI is a weighted mean of the scores on these components. While Nigeria is doing relatively well on timeliness, it performs poorly on customs. See figure 2.

Figure 2. LPI-Scores Nigeria on LPI Components 

The LPI-scores of Nigeria, can be compared to those of other countries. In figure 3, we have selected some of the larger and top-performing countries (Netherlands; China; US), along with some African countries (Kenya; South Africa; Niger). The figure shows stable positions for the larger and high-performing countries, and declining scores for all African countries. By implication, based on the studies on the relationship between logistics and economic growth, this is a (either leading or lagging) indicator of economic disparity.

Figure 3. LPI-scores of Nigeria versus Other Countries 

1.2 Research Questions

From this macro-perspective on the status quo of logistics in Nigeria, the following research questions are of relevance.

  1. What do more detailed and specific longitudinal data for Nigeria reveal about the contribution of investments in, and quality of infrastructure (logistics; transportation)?
  2. How have government policies and institutions in Nigeria contributed to the lower LPI-scores and rankings?
  3. What are the priorities in policy-making for the next decade, in terms of the components of the LPI, for Nigeria?
  4. Can we gain a deeper understanding of the functioning of Nigeria’s logistics industry, in order to get the story behind the LPI-score for Nigeria? Which additional indicators are needed to develop an extended LPI for Nigeria, as a tool for monitoring progress and assessing the impact of policies?

Each of these research questions can be the basis of a PhD-project.

1.3 References

Canning, D. (1999). The Contribution of Infrastructure to Aggregate Output (Policy Research Working Papers No. 2246). Retrieved from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/2246.html

Kauschke, P., Gnatzy, T., Reuter, J., Darkow, I.-L., Montgomery, E., Gonzalez, M. E., … Wong, E. (2010). Emerging Markets – New hubs, new spokes, new industry leaders? Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/transportation-logistics/tl2030/emerging-markets/pdf/tl2030_vol3_final.pdf

Rodríguez, F. (2006). Have Collapses in Infrastructure Spending Led to Cross-Country Divergence in per Capita GDP? (No. 2006-013). Retrieved from http://repec.wesleyan.edu/

Sezer, S., & Abasiz, T. (2017). The Impact of Logistics Industry on Economic Growth: An Application in OECD Countries. Eurasian Journal of Social Sciences5(1), 11–23. https://doi.org/10.15604/ejss.2017.05.01.002

World Bank (2014). Appendix 5: The LPI Methodology. Retrieved from https://wb-lpi-media.s3.amazonaws.com/LPI Methodology.pdf

World Bank (1994). World Development Report 1994 Infrastructure for Development.

2.1 Introduction

Over the last decades we have witnessed the emergence of a multitude of high-performance models that allegedly can help organizations improve their performance. Many of these models have been developed by consultancy companies who tend to favor one-size-fits-all approaches; that is, it is suggested that one and the same model can be applied across industries and across borders. One such framework is the High-Performance Organization (HPO) model developed by De Waal (2012). The interesting aspect of this model is that the claim of universal applicability seems to be supported by academic research. The HPO-model identifies five factors (continuous improvement; openness & action orientation; management quality; employee quality; and long- term orientation) that jointly provide the holy grail of organizational performance.

A closer and critical look at the HPO-model reveals that the diagnostic framework of 35 items and the five factors aforementioned, has serious shortcomings (Goedegebuure, 2018). Even though the core of the model seems to apply to many types of organizations across industries and countries, it is argued that (i) the model is incomplete, and has to extended by adding situation-specific factors; and (ii) the diagnostic framework itself has methodological flaws.

The model has not yet been tested in logistical companies and has not been tested in Nigeria, amongst other African countries. The challenge is to build a methodologically sound HPO-model that incorporates the idiosyncrasies of the country and the sector under study.

2.2 Research Questions

  1. 2.1.  Which are the factors (dimensions) of high performance in the logistics sector in Nigeria? What can we learn from existing HPO-frameworks, and which elements are missing, to inform logistics companies in Nigeria about improved performance?
  2. 2.2.  Can we develop and apply an extended HPO-model to specific logistic companies in Nigeria? Do interventions using any extended model, lead to improved performance?
  3. 2.3.  How can organizational performance of logistics companies be defined? Apart from the obvious hard indicators of performance (say, short- or medium-term profits and growth), the performance of modern companies is not only to the benefit of shareholders; there is a wider set of stakeholders (government; customers; employees; and society at large) that stands to benefit from the performance of companies in this sector. Obvious examples of nonfinancial performance are the level of innovation leading to ecofriendly processes, contribution to road safety, and the improved performance of other sectors that are dependent on logistics.
  4. 2.4.  Is it possible to use existing or extended HPO-models to detect best-practice companies in the logistics sector in Nigeria?
  5. 2.5.  Is it possible to develop one or more revised HPO-models for (several types of) logistics companies in Nigeria? To what extent can we make use of a standard set of factors and items in a diagnostic framework (and to what extent do we need to add organization- specific items)?

2.3 References

  • Blecker, T. & Kersten, W. & Meyer, M. (eds) (2010). High-Performance Logistics: Methods and Technologies, Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2010
  • De Waal, A.A. (2012). What Makes a High-Performance Organization: Five Factors of Competitive Advantage that Apply Worldwide. Global Professional Publications
  • De Waal, A.A., Goedegebuure, R.V. & Mulimbika, T. (2014). Creating high performance governmental in Zambia and Economic Research. African Journal of Business, no. 2&3
  • De Waal, A.A., Habil, D.S.F. & and Goedegebuure, R.V. (2016). Suitability of the high-performance organization framework to Egyptian ICT companies, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 632-648
  • De Waal, A.A. & Goedegebuure, R.V. (2017). Investigating the causal link between a management improvement technique and organizational performance: The case of the HPO framework, Vol. 40 Issue: 4, pp.429-450
  • Goedegebuure, R.V. (2018). Dealing with Response Bias in Multiple-Item Scales; The Case of the High-Performance Organizations (HPO) Questionnaire. StatMind Working Paper Series 2018:02
  • Goedegebuure, R.V. (2018). Sampling items from lengthy scales using Item Response Theory (IRT); The case of the High-Performance Organizations (HPO) Scale. StatMind Working Paper Series 2018:01
  • Martins, R.S., Siegler, J. & Vilela, B. (2018). Competencies of high-performance logistics professionals in emerging economies. International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, November

3.1 Introduction

A fundamental research topic in logistics can be drawn from the past and present awareness, meaning and challenges of trade logistics, with the aim of Nigerian logistics meeting future demands and contributing to Nigerian economic and social development. There are gaps between urban and rural communities in all aspects of economic and social life, for instance in the access to financial institutions and digital services. In this respect we can also refer to social inclusion seen as the provision of rights to all individuals and groups in society, such as employment, adequate housing, health care, power education, training, information (including access to internet). Nigeria has relatively low scores on both the Logistic Performance Index (LPI) and the Human Development Index (HDI). A social definition of logistics could read as the whole of actions, means, information and labor – and coherent coordination thereof. A society needs to efficiently organize and practice the timely, reliable and safe transport, provision, storage, issuing and distribution of goods, services, people and information in the way and at the level society wants it.

3.2 Research Questions

  1. What islogistics in Nigeria? Describe and quantify the most important trade flows, to and from Nigeria, and how these are organized in all aspects: historical, economic, political, demographic, social, and digital contexts.
  2. Who are the key players: the transporters, the haulers, the distributors, the couriers, the warehouses, the fulfilment players, the e-commerce platforms, and other stakeholders?
  3. What is the nature of goods, the size of volumes, values, value added and contribution to economy and society e, employment, and the state of the infrastructure?
  4. What are the visions and ongoing policies, regarding courier, logistics, transportation and infrastructure in Nigeria?
  5. Can we set up a high-quality data base on some or all of the above aspects, as a necessary tool for academic and professional researchers, and policymakers?
  6. What are conclusions and recommendations about gaps, challenges, directions, financial, digital and social inclusion aiming at and contributing to the Nigerian economic and social development?

3.3 References

Abubakar I.R. (2018). Socioeconomic Challenges and Opportunities of Urbanization in Nigeria. In: Benna, U. & Benna, I. (2018). Urbanization and Its Impact on Socio-Economic Growth in Developing Regions.

Benna, U. & Benna, I. (2018). Urbanization and Its Impact on Socio-Economic Growth in Developing Regions.

UKAid (2017). Efina Key Findings Nigeria 2016.

Available from:

http://www.efina.org.ng/assets/A2F/2016/Key-Findings-A2F-2016.pdf

Last accessed December 2, 2018.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (2018).  Human Development Index HDI score.

Available from:

http://hdr.undp.org/sites/all/themes/hdr_theme/country-notes/NGA.pdf

Last accessed December 2, 2018.

World Bank (2018). Country Score Card Nigeria LPI 2018,

Available from:

https://lpi.worldbank.org/international/scorecard/radar/254/C/NGA/2018#chartarea

Last accessed December 2, 2018.

4.1 Introduction

E-commerce means a shifting from physical shop retail to online shopping. The economic and social consequences are enormous. For instance, the increase in parcel logistics increases demand for fulfilment, transport, distribution, warehousing, reverse logistics, and paying solutions. Increased access to Internet, further penetration of smart phones, and the number of banked people boost online shopping.

In Nigeria, in 2016, almost 39% of the population is banked (Efina, 2016). Internet usage grew to 103 million users in May 2018 (Nigerian Communications Commission, 2018). At the business side, opportunities for SMEs expand when they gain access to e-commerce platforms. There are constraints:

  • Struggles with international banking transactions: some African countries pose restrictions on the amount of money that can be transferred across borders, while some only accept payments from foreign credit card holders through expensive intermediaries, due to the lackof international links within local African banking systems.
  • Exclusion from international platforms for e-commerce: negative perceptions about doing business in Africa translate into African SMEs being blocked from listing their products on international platforms.
  • Poor infrastructure: local and regional physical infrastructure are poor in many parts of Africa, with underdeveloped roads, ports and air transportation and unreliable electricity.
  • Inexperience with import duties and sales taxes.
  • Compliance with banking regulations and related private-sector rules are yet another challenge for many on the African continent, as are trust and perceived security issues.
  • Socio-political barriers: governments and local African institutions are not doing enough to create local services and structures in support of small businesses. Companies are challenged by the cultural requirements of doing business across borders, such as foreign language skills and customer service differences within varied markets.
  • Overregulation: building on the previous point, governments need to work harder to help the small and medium businesses, rather than hinder them with overregulation. In many parts of Africa, requirements from government make it difficult for the businesses to thrive.
  • Internet connectivity in Africa continues to lag behind to other regions, although the gap is closing rapidly thanks to mobile Internet.

Source: Pedroncelli (2017) 

4.2 Research Questions

  1. Which (economic, financial, social, political, infrastructural and cultural) conditions must be met in Nigeria to make on line shopping accessible to all Nigerians? Can wedraw the Nigerian e-commerce map for 2025?
  2. How can Nigerian SMEs take advantage from e-commerce and thereby contribute to economic and social growth?
  3. How can existing retail and distribution networks (shops and outlets; post offices; banks; fuel stations; and so on) be used in e-commerce delivery and product returns?

4.3 References

Akanbi T.A. (2016). An Investigative Study of Challenges Facing Nigerian Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Adoption of E-Commerce Technology. International Journal of Advances in Management and Economics, Volume 05, January/February

Abasilim , U. D.,  Gberevbie, D.E. and Ifaloye, O.R. (2017). Attaining Better Public Service Delivery Through E-Governance Adoption in Nigeria. In: CUCEN 2017, Covenant University, Ota.

Available from:

http://eprints.covenantuniversity.edu.ng/id/eprint/10342

Last Accessed: December 2, 2018

Agwu, E.M. (2015). Empirical Study of Barriers to Electronic Commerce Adoption by Small and Medium Scale Businesses in Nigeria, Digital Economy, 6(2), April-June, 1-19,

KabandaI, S. & Brown, I. (2017). A structuration analysis of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) adoption of E-Commerce: The case of Tanzania. Telematics and InformaticsVolume 34, Issue 4, July 2017, 118-132

Khan, H.U. & Uwemi, S. (2018). Possible impact of e-commerce strategies on the utilisation of e-commerce in Nigeria.  International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, Volume 15, Issue 2

Liang Lu, L. & Reardon, T (2018). An Economic Model of the Evolution of Food Retail and Supply Chains from Traditional Shops to Supermarkets to E-Commerce, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Volume 100, Issue 5, 1 October 2018,  1320–1335

Olaleye, S.A., Oyelere, S.S., Sanusi, I.T. and Agbo, F.J. (2015). Experience of ubiquitous computing technology driven mobile commerce in Africa: impact of usability, privacy, trust and reputation concern. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, 12 (3), 4-20

Pedroncelli (2017). 10 Obstacles That Impede Africa’s International E-Commerce Growth

Available from

https://moguldom.com/139961/10-obstacles-that-impede-africas-international-e-commerce-growth/

Last accessed: December 2, 2018

5.1 Introduction

Logistics – in terms of storage, transport and distribution – requires good infrastructure. It needs physical infrastructure in the form of roads, railways, airports, harbors, vans, trucks, trains, ships, plains, warehouses, power and fuel. Physical infrastructure is provided by federal, state and/or local governments and private sector initiatives and investments. Sometimes international aid plays a part.

Logistics also requires a legal infrastructure of rules and laws to regulate national and international trade and customs, and international trade agreements. For instance, in letter and parcel distribution and logistics  around the world national postal organizations have a national  monopoly and a distribution obligation for letters and parcels varying from 500 grams to several kilograms (see https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Glossary:Reserved_area).

In Nigeria the newly presented postal bill (about to pass) has a reserved area for NIPOST in the distribution of letters/parcels up to 1 kilo. This means that couriers and other logistic service providers cannot move in this reserved area. The reality however is different, with couriers delivering more profitable business mail and parcels especially in the transport wise cheaper and more accessible urban areas. There is no real effective regulator enforcing postal bill yet (cf. https://nass.gov.ng/document/download/9911).

5.2 Research Questions:

  1. What kind of logistic infrastructure is needed in Nigeria?
  • For trade of goods?
  • For transport of people?
  1. What are the infrastructural constraints in the public sector and in the private sector?
  2. What kind of national regulation is needed, and is the needed regulation in place?
  3. What are the constraints to international trade and to e-commerce? And which conditions have to be met to lower the thresholds for international trade and e-commerce?

5.3 References

African Development Bank (2015). Rail Infrastructure in Africa Financing Policy Options, Transport, Urban Development & ICT Department AfDB 2015

Available from: https://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Events/ATFforum/Rail_Infrastructure_in_Africa_-_Financing_Policy_Options_-_AfDB.pdf

Last Accessed: December 2, 2018

Anson, J., De Borba, F. & Piotrowski, L. (2018). Postal economic outlook 2018 Key transformations affecting the sector. Universal Postal Union

Available from: http://www.upu.int/uploads/tx_sbdownloader/postalEconomicOutlook2018En.pdf

Last Accessed: December 2, 2018

Knight Frank Africa (2016). Logistics Africa – Sub-Saharan Africa’s emerging logistics property sector.

Available from: https://content.knightfrank.com/research/1114/documents/en/2016-4022.pdf

Last Accessed: December 2, 2018

Ngepah N. & Udeagha, M.C. (2018). African Regional Trade Agreements and Intra-African Trade, Journal of Economic Integration, Vol.33 No.1, March, 1176-1199

Tafirenyika, M. (2014). Intra-Africa trade: Going beyond political commitments. Africa Renewal, August, Vol. 28 No. 2

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