Energy efficiency in logistics through service modularity: the case of household waste
Journal article, 2021

Purpose: Service modularity promotes efficiency at the provider end of the supply chain and customisation at the customer end. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how logistics service modularity contributes to sustainable development through the means of energy efficiency. This is analysed in the context of logistics services for household waste collection. Design/methodology/approach: A single case study methodology with embedded units is adopted where semi-structured interviews were conducted with a waste service provider (WSP) and buyers (municipalities) in Sweden, focussing on five types of logistics services for waste collection: collection of food and residual waste at apartments and one-family houses, as well as collection of gardening waste. Service modules are identified and analysed by blueprinting the service. Findings: The findings show different service modules – standardised or customised – and their contribution to sustainable development operationalised through energy efficiency. Principles for an energy-centric service design are proposed. Research limitations/implications: The research is limited to Swedish household waste collection setting. Promising efficiency through standardisation, logistics service modularity has a potential to improve energy efficiency as well. This neglected link between sustainability and service modularity offers fruitful research avenues. Practical implications: This research is of practical relevance to waste logistics service providers and the municipality by suggesting principles for energy-centric service design. The service blueprint enables using logistics service modularity for improving energy efficiency in different logistics service settings. Originality/value: This research incorporates an environmentally sustainable development perspective into logistics service modularity and contributes to the literature by exploring how energy efficiency is improved by modular design of logistics services. Furthermore, the study is one of the first to use service blueprinting to analyse logistics service modularity, providing a methodological contribution to that field in general and logistics in particular.

Waste logistics

Logistics service modularity

Energy efficiency

Service logic

Sustainable development

Service blueprint


Jessica Wehner

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Ceren Altuntas Vural

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Arni Halldorsson

Hanken School of Economics

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management

0960-0035 (ISSN)

Vol. 51 1 76-94

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Environmental Management

Information Systemes, Social aspects

Areas of Advance





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