The impact of digital logistics start-ups on incumbent firms: a business model perspective

Jasmin Mikl, David Martin Herold, Marek Ćwiklicki, Sebastian Kummer

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose – Digital freight forwarder (DFF) start-ups and their associated business models have gained increasing attention within both academia and industry. However, there is a lack of empirical research investigating the differences between DFFs and traditional freight forwarders (TFF) and the impact of digital start-ups on incumbents’ companies. In response, this study aims to examine the key business model characteristics that determine DFFs and TFFs and propose a framework illustrating the extent to which digital logistics start-ups influence incumbent logistics companies.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on the primary data gathered from eight interviews with experts from start-ups’ and incumbents’ logistics companies, as well as secondary data, the authors identify the main factors of DFFs start-ups that have an impact on TFFs and analyze the similarities and differences in regard to the business model components’ value proposition, value creation, value delivery and value capture.
Findings – The results show that differences between DFFs and TFFs appear in all four business models’ components: value proposition, value creation, value delivery and value capture. In particular, the authors identify three main factors that need to be considered when assessing the impact of DFFs on TFFs: (1) the company size, (2) the market cultivation strategy and (3) the transport mode.
Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to specifically examine the key business model differences between DFFs and TFFs and to propose a conceptual framework for understanding the impact of digital logistics start-ups on incumbent companies.
Keywords Digital freight forwarders, Logistics, Business models, Start-ups
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502017 Logistics
  • 502014 Innovation research

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