Paper in proceeding, 2015

Freight transport is featured by complexity since it relies on the business networks in which the firms that buy transport services are involved. To understand the conditions for vehicle maintenance, the variety of transport service settings and how these link with business networks needs to be uncovered. The aim of this paper is to explore the variety in transport service settings and how these in different ways affect the conditions for vehicle operations and in particular; maintenance activities. The paper relies empirically on highlights from an on-going case study featuring different conditions for, and approaches to, transport services from the perspectives of buyers and suppliers of transport services. The study relates to recent studies of transport service procurement (Dubois and Hulthén 2013, Lammgård et al. 2013, Rogerson et al. 2013) and theoretical suggestions of triads as units of analysis consisting of buyers and suppliers of goods and of transport services (Andersson et al. 2014). Features in transport service settings with an impact on vehicle operations are identified in three dimensions; (1) the buying firm’s share of and influence on the utilisation of vehicles and vehicle fleets, (2) the division of labour with regard to the scope of coordination of vehicle operations, and (3) the nature of the transport needs. There are two kinds of implications suggested. First, there are managerial implications for how firms in the network plan for and perform vehicle maintenance depending on the demands on the uses of the trucks. Second, there are research implications suggesting further research on transport service procurement and how buying firms may tackle the complexities of their business networks on the one hand and of the transport service networks on the other. Both direct and indirect relationships between transport service buyers and vehicle operators require further scrutiny.

business networks

transport service triads

maintenance activities


Klas Hedvall

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics

Anna Dubois

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Industrial Marketing

Frida Lind

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Industrial Marketing

Paper presented at the IMP Conference, Kolding, August 2015

Efficient Maintenance for Sustaninable Transport Solutions (EMATS)

VINNOVA (2014-06245), 2015-04-01 -- 2018-03-31.

Volvo Group, 2016-01-01 -- 2016-12-31.

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