Logistics Innovation Process Revisited: Insights from a Hospital Case Study

Britta Gammelgaard, Shong-Iee Ivan Su, Su-Lan Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to learn more about logistics innovation processes and their implications for the focal organization as well as the supply chain, especially suppliers.
Design/methodology/approach – The empirical basis of the study is a longitudinal action research project that was triggered by the practical needs of new ways of handling material flows of a hospital. This approach made it possible to revisit theory on logistics innovation process.
Findings – Apart from the tangible benefits reported to the case hospital, five findings can be extracted from this study: the logistics innovation process model may include not just customers but also suppliers; logistics innovation in buyer-supplier relations may serve as an alternative to outsourcing; logistics innovation processes are dynamic and may improve supplier partnerships; logistics innovations in the supply chain are as dependent on internal stakeholders as on external relationships; and logistics innovation process may start out as a dialectic, conflict ridden process and end up in a well-ordered goal-oriented teleological process.
Research limitations/implications – In general, the study contributes to the knowledge base of innovation process in logistics that is still sparse although literature on innovation in many other disciplines is well-developed. As this research is only one study highlighting a special context of a hospital, further studies on the dynamic logistics innovation processes and their implications for the relevant parties as well as the supply chain are needed. This study does not claim statistical generalizability of the findings but provides insight into complex organizational processes that, for example, surveys cannot.
Practical implications – The findings of the study have provided valuable insights into the process of a logistics innovation in an oriental healthcare supply chain context. The study is, however, still limited in disclosing end-to-end supply chain benefits including concrete performance improvements at the suppliers. Examining logistics innovation processes should result not only in the implementation of innovative processes, but also in improved supplier relations leading to improved financial results in the supply chain.
Originality/value – The paper adds to the knowledge of the dynamic processes of logistics innovation both downstream and upstream in a supply chain. It elaborates on an existing model by methodological triangulation in order to learn more about the qualities of actual processes and their implications for theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)577-600
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Logistics Innovation
  • Logistics Processes
  • Healthcare Supply Chain
  • Action Research
  • Hospitals
  • Taiwan

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