3PL Factories or Lernstatts? Value-creation Models for 3PL Service Providers

Günter Prockl, Alexander Pflaum, Herbert Kotzab

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and systematically discuss generic forms of contract logistics services and their distinct underlying approaches for fulfilling their respective value propositions. A general frame of reference is developed that addresses the value proposition, as well as the value creation architecture that leads to generic business model configurations for contract logistics services. The framework is built upon the basic notions of service theory, competence research and the resource based view.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper combines service theory with work of organizational theory and develops an analytical framework based on conceptual considerations. First empirical results are additionally used to support and illustrate the key outcomes.

Findings – Combining the dimensions of integration power and intangible knowledge creation, the authors are able to specify generic types of contract logistics services. Thereby the authors deducted for every type the distinct requirements for service fulfilment and present this in a specific frame of reference.

Research limitations/implications – The illustrated empirical results are still limited due to a limited sample size for the interviews. Additional empirical work on the whole third party logistics (3PL) market is suggested.

Practical implications – The paper provides generic types of 3PL services and a characterization of properties and architectures of respective business models. Combined with first empirical results, the paper's results offer insights for practitioners to rethink their value propositions and potentially redesign their service architectures.

Originality/value – The paper delivers a set of distinct business models for 3PL services reflecting the customer's, as well as the service provider's point of view. It addresses specific aspects of the generation/production of required services that are so far mostly neglected.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)544-561
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2012


  • Business model
  • Service factory
  • Logistics service providers
  • Logistics management
  • Lernstatt
  • Distribution management
  • Contract logistics