Taxonomy of information technology strategy and its impact on the performance of third-party logistics (3PL) in China

F. Lai
X. Zhao
Q. Wang

Abstract

This paper develops a taxonomy of information technology strategies used by third-party logistics (3PL) firms in China based on a cluster analysis of survey data from 105 of these 3PL firms. The information technology strategies have been classified into three major groups: supportive, technological, and aligned. The paper also investigates the effect of information technology strategies on information technology advantage, competitive advantage, and financial performance. The results of the study indicate that efforts to improve information technology systems can only be effective if the information technology improvements are properly aligned with a company's overall strategy. It is found that companies that attempt to improve their information technology systems without the proper alignment of information technology with the company's overall strategy can achieve information technology advantages relative to their competitors, but not competitive advantages or improved financial performance. This study is the first attempt to develop an information technology strategy taxonomy for 3PL companies in China. It provides valuable guidance and insights for managers in the development of information technology strategies in 3PL companies.