The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Logistics Management

Article excerpt

This paper explores the impacts of enterprises' applying ICT on their logistics management, by conducting surveys on ICT manufacturers and transport logistics companies; 101 Taiwanese firms, 23% from manufacturing and 77% from transport logistics. Results show that applying ICTs has already had an impact and provided significant benefits to this specific industry sector. ICTs have been widely applied in the operations of customer services, transportation management, order processing, warehousing management, and ERP. Customer service management may be the most worthwhile area to apply ICT in the future. Statistical analyses were conducted between manufacturing and logistics industries, and among different sizes of companies. However, there were no significant differences between these industries and companies in most of the questions. Most of the managers agree with the value of ICT for their business, no matter what positions they are in the whole business process. Some ICT application were significantly related to the success of operations. This finding can be an important reference for both public and business sectors, and ICT suppliers.

1. Introduction

The application and development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have already had significant effects on many industries, especially in the field of logistics. Because of it, the style of business operation, up-/downstream partnership and customer relationship are changing. The application of computers, internet, and information communication systems can be seen in almost every activity in the logistics industry, such as transportation, warehousing, order processing, material management, and procurement. It is suggested that passing information to all businesses in the supply chains via ICT will improve performances (Disney et al. 2004). ICT has been promoted as a means to enhance logistics competitiveness. It is one of the few factors which has been proved to have the capability of increasing logistics competence and decreasing its costs simultaneously (Closs et al., 1997; Stock et al., 2001). Today, besides enterprises, governments around the world and the global organizations such as OECD, are all devoting their efforts to searching for chances of new development or application of information and communications techniques.

The application of ICT in logistics management is relatively recent, it lets real-time/online information communication and data exchange through the entire operation chains become realistic speaking of time and cost. Most of the people agree that ICT is valuable to logistics management, however, the ways of applications and impacts are not clear. It is also interesting to note that ICT has been available for local manufacturers and transport logistics firms for a number of years. However, there are many questions that concern members in the industry and ICT suppliers that can be explored, such as: What are the popular applied ICT? What kinds of benefits and impacts have been induced? Are there any different experience of applying ICT among different industries and different scales of enterprises? How much difference is there between expectations and results for ICT applicants? The objective of this study is to thoroughly understand and answer the above questions. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. section 2 previews previous work. Section 3 proposes the research hypotheses. The basic research model and main research methodologies used in this paper, including sampling and questionnaire design are discussed in section 4. The major findings from the survey analysis are presented in section 5. Finally, the paper concludes with a summary.

2. Literature Review

2.1 The Application of ICT

Information and communication technologies may be defined as "electronic means of capturing, processing, storing, and disseminating information". All these technologies provide new mechanisms for handling existing resources and information (Duncombe et al. …