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基于SERVQUAL模型的常州圆通速递服务质量评估与改善.rar

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    基于 SERVQUAL 模型 常州 圆通 速递 服务质量 评估 改善
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    JOURNAL OF BUSINESS LOGISTICS, VOL. 28, NO. 2, 2007 159MEASURING CUSTOMERS' PERCEPTIONS OF LOGISTICS SERVICEQUALITY OF 3PL SERVICE PROVIDERSbyMohammed RafiqLoughborough University (UK)KandHarlina S. JaafarUniversiti Teknoiogi MARA (Malaysia)INTRODUCTIONThe importance of logistics service quality (LSQ) has long been recognized (Perrault and Russ1974) because of the role that it plays in customer satisfaction. A number of empirical studies providestrong support for the link between improvements in LSQ and improvements in customer satisfac-tion (Daugherty, Stank, and EUinger 1998; Innis and La Londe 1994; Mentzer, Flint, and Hult 2001;Stank, Goldsby, and Vickery 1999). Furthermore, LSQ has also been linked to market share throughcustomer satisfaction and loyalty (Daugherty, Stank, and EUinger 1998). However, with the majorexception of the work of Mentzer and colleagues (Bienstock, Mentzer, and Bird 1997; Mentzer,Bienstock, and Kahn 1993; Mentzer, Flint, and Kent 1999; Mentzer, Gomes, and Krapfel 1989;Mentzer, Flint, and Hult 2001) there has been relatively little systematic work on the developmentand measurement of the logistics service quality concept.A distinguishing feature of the work of Mentzer and colleagues is their examination of LSQfrom the customer's perspective rather than the predominantly operational perspective, which ex-amines how logistics firms create value for their customers. Hence, early development of the LSQconcept began with the recognition by Mentzer, Gomes, and Krapfel (1989) that a customer basedview of LSQ consisted not just of the physical distribution aspects of service, but also included othercustomer service elements which they termed “marketing customer service.“ Bienstock, Mentzer,and Bird (1997) developed the concept further by incorporating the distinction between technicaland functional quality (Gronroos 1984) in the service quality area where technical quality refers tothe service outcomes and functional quality refers to the process of service delivery. Hence, physicaldistribution service quality (PDSQ) is the technical component of logistics service quality and theprocess of delivery is the functional component. This stream of research led to the development of ameasure of PDSQ (Bienstock, Mentzer, and Bird 1997) and later an LSQ scale where PDSQ is onlyone component of LSQ (Mentzer, Flint, and Hult 2001; Mentzer, Flint, and Kent 1999). Surprisingly,160 RAEIQ AND JAAEARgiven the importance of logistics service quality and its measurement, to our knowledge, this scalehas not been tested to date beyond the original studies.This paper reports the testing and validation of the Mentzer, Flint, and Kent's (1999, henceforthMFK) LSQ instrument in the context of the third-party logistics industry in the UK. The 3PL contextwas considered a more appropriate setting for testing the instrument than the in-house logistics ser-vice aimed at internal customers on which the original instrument is based. This is because, first, theprovision of logistics services to internal customers is less common than the situation where logisticsservices are provided by an extemal supplier on a commercial basis in a competitive market and anumber of alternative suppliers are available. This means that managerial decisions are made onactual evaluations of logistical service quality rather than a lack of alternatives or what Stank et al.(2003) term “captive commitment.“ Second, outsourcing is a widespread and growing phenomenon.Third, logistics service quality is critical to the performance and long term survival of 3PL operatorsand hence the need for a reliable LSQ measure. This is particularly important in the UK context as theUK has the highest rate of outsourcing amongst Western European countries reflecting the relativelyhigh level of the industry's development (Anonymous 1999). In fact, around three-quarters of thefreight moved by road in 2003 was outsourced (Department for Transport 2004). According to onesource, the UK is now a mature market with well-matched highly competitive service providers of-fering similar services at similar prices (Anonymous 2004). The UK setting also extends the extemalvalidity of the LSQ scale beyond its US origins to a new commercial setting.In addition, the original MFK study and follow up study (Mentzer, Flint, and Huh 2001) wereboth conducted in the same organization, namely the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The cross-sectional nature of this study extends its extemal validity beyond a single organization and hence thegeneralizability of the LSQ scale.LOGISTICS SERVICE QUALITYMFK (2001) developed and validated their Logistics Service Quality (LSQ) scale using a singlelarge logistics services provider firm in the United States, namely the DLA, which provides logisticsservices to intemal customers. By following the general methodology used by Bienstock, Mentzer,and Bird (1997) to develop the PDSQ scale, MFK expanded the concept of service quality into alogistics context by incorporating functional quality aspects of logistics services. LSQ is conceptual-ized as a second order model with nine interrelated constructs from the perspective of the customer.The nine constructs are information quality, ordering procedures, order release quantities, timeliness,order accuracy, order quality, order condition, order discrepancy handling, and personnel contactquality (see Mentzer, Flint, and Kent 1999 for details). The MFK study employed a rigorous sci-entific approach to generating scale items, item purification, and validation using hold-out samplesfrom a large initial dataset. This resulted in a robust 25 item scale.However, the MFK study has a number of limitations. First, two constructs of their LSQ scale(namely information quality and ordering procedures) were tapped with only two items in the origi-nal instrument. Normally, a minimum of three items per scale are required for identification unlessthe scale is correlated with another construct. Using only two items for a construct further raises theissue as to whether the two items adequately capture the constmct. It is also not technically possibleto measure the inter-item reliability of a construct with only two items. Second, the original LSQJOURNAL OF BUSINESS LOGISTICS VOL. 28, NO. 2, 2007 161scale employs a 5-point Likert scale which MFK suggest may have limited the range of responsesand therefore recommended the use of a 7-point Likert scale in future research. Third, the devel-opment of the MFK scale is based on one focal organization with an in-house logistics functionproviding logistics services to intemal customers. This is a very specific context and less commonthan where logistics services are provided by an external supplier. It is possible that criteria used toassess intemal suppliers may differ from those applied to extemal suppliers. While the MFK scalewas developed using eight different segments of users, it is unlikely to have captured the diversity oflogistics needs and practices across a spectmm of industrial sectors and different types of organiza-tions. Also, DLA customers were purchasing inbound-only logistics services. Hence, the LSQ scale'sapplicability to outbound-only logistics and both inbound and outbound logistics is untested.The current study attempts to address the limitations of the original MFK study by conducting across-sectional survey of customers' perceptions of services provided by third-party logistics serviceproviders in the UK. Furthermore, the UK context helps to assess the robustness ofthe LSQ scale inan intemational context and hence its generaUzability beyond the original US context.METHODAn exploratory study was conducted consisting of seven interviews with logistics managers of3PL customer firms and two with logistics managers of a leading 3PL company. The findings fromthe exploratory fieldwork suggested several changes. First, in order to improve the reliability of theLSQ scale, the two constmcts (information quality and ordering procedures) that were tapped withonly two items in the original instmment needed to be expanded. In particular, items in the informa-tion quality construct were found not to be generally applicable because for some managers of 3PLcustomer firms, there was no catalog information involved. This renders the two items in the infor-mation quality sub-scale redundant as item one (IQl) refers to the availability of catalog informationand item two (IQ2) refers to the adequacy of catalog information (see Appendix). The results fromthe exploratory study reflected that logistics practice heavily involves inter-organizational informa-tion systems such as the Intemet and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in exchanging informationdue to the complexity of logistics operations and interorganizational relationships. Thus, the qualityof information should be evaluated in a more rigorous manner than just evaluating the adequacyand availability of catalog information. The information quality measure, developed by Mohr andSpekman (1994), was found to be more comprehensive and appropriate for this study and was there-fore adopted (see Appendix).The second two-item constmct was ordering procedures. In MITC's study, ordering proceduresrefer only to the efficiency and effectiveness of the order placement procedures. In a cross-sectionalcontext, the situation is more complex and ordering procedures items used by MFK do not fullyrefiect the ordering procedures in some industries. Hence, four new items (measuring simplicity, fiex-ibility of the ordering procedures, time, and effort taken) that are deemed to be important (Dabholkar1994) were added to the original two items measuring effectiveness and ease of ordering procedures.Thus, a wider concept of ordering procedures was used in this study (see Appendix).Besides the modification of these two-item scales, the results from the exploratory and pilotstudy suggested that an unmodified application of the original scale would lead to some complica-tions in the responses and analysis of the results due to the fact that the original service quality162 RAFIQ AND JAAFARmeasures were developed specifically for the DLA organization and were also confined to inboundlogistics. It was expected that the sheer variety of procedures of logistics operations among the dif-ferent industries and the specific type of services used by customers would also contribute to someproblems. Also, as proposed by MFK, the number of scale responses was increased from 5-point Lik-ert “agree/disagree“ sc£ile to a 7-point scale to allow wider discrimination of the responses. A largernumber of scale points leads to larger variances, resulting in increased reliability. Due to the expectedproblems of filling in the questionnaire, the scales of “don't know“ and “not applicable“ used byMFK were not incorporated into the questionnaire. It is argued that excluding these options disclosesthe largest amount of information (Malhotra 1998). In addition, there were some minor changes inwording to refiect the changed context. For example, “DLA“ was replaced with “3PL provider“ and“vendors“ changed to “suppliers“ to reflect UK usage.The modifications mentioned above were incorporated into the original LSQ instrument andexperts (four academics, a logistics consultant, and a 3PL customer with 12 years' experience inhis current position) reviewed the research instrument to ensure content validity. The instrumentwas then pretested using a random sample of 50 firms. The instrument was mailed to the 50 se-lected firms and six usable questionnaires .were obtained resulting in only minor modifications to thefinal instrument.Survey ProceduresThe survey instrument was mailed to 1,258 logistics related-managers from across industrialsectors selected randomly from the Institute of Logistics and Transport (ILT) Members' Directory2000. Logistics managers were targeted in this survey (rather than purchasing managers as in theMFK study) because it was reasoned that they would be the best people to assess logistics servicesprovided by their 3PL providers. The survey employed Dillman's (2000) total design method toadminister the instrument. The respondents were contacted via three waves of questionnaire mail-ings together with a pre-notification letter and postcard reminder. A total of 336 (26.7%) managersresponded. However, by excluding the undeliverable and unusable responses and non-3PL custom-ers from the original sample, the usable responses came to 183 3PL customers giving an effectiveresponse rate of 16.6%. The response rate is in the middle of the range (4.0% to 32.7%) of surveyresponse rates reported for large samples in the Journal of Business Logistics for the period 1997 to2001 (Griffis, Goldsby, and Cooper 2003). It is substantially higher than other large scale outsourc-ing studies such as Boyson et al. (1999) and Knemeyer, Corsi, and Murphy (2003) with effective re-sponse rates of 4.2% and 8%, respectively. It is also significantly higher than the only large scale UKoutsourcing study, that we are aware, by Sinkovics and Roath (2004) which had a response rate of9%. The survey was conducted from November 2003 through February 2004. The responding firmswere asked to report their views on the services they received from their main 3PL providers. Themajority of the respondents were logistics-related managers (68.8%). Most respondents (70%) hadmore than six years of working experience in the current position as well as more than six years expe-rience working with 3PL providers (62.1 %). This reflects positively on the reliability of the informa-tion obtained, given that the respondents had a high level of familiarity with the subject matter. Justover one-half (56.3%) of the responding companies were manufacturers, followed by wholesalers/distributors (27.7%), retailers (9.8%) and others (6.2%). The largest number of respondents (27.3%)came from food, beverages, and the tobacco sector. Although the original aim of the study was to in-clude a balanced number of respondents using inbound-only, outbound-only services and those usingJOURNAL OF BUSINESS LOGISTICS, VOL. 28, NO. 2, 2007 163both inbound and outbound services, there were relatively few respondents from the inbound-onlygroup. Of the responding firms 51.3% employed 3PL providers for outbound-only services, 44.3%employed 3PL providers for both inbound and outbound services and just 4.3% employed 3PL pro-viders for inbound-only logistics services.To test for nonresponse bias, as recommended by Armstrong and Overton (1977), early respon-dents were compared with late respondents on the variables in the study. The results showed thatthere were only two items with p < 0.05 level of significance. Therefore, with the exception of thetwo items in the order release quantities construct, there were no significant differences between theearly and late respondents, suggesting that the nonresponse bias was not a problem.RESULTS AND ANALYSISIn vi
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