Logistics outsourcing by Taiwanese and Dutch food processing industries

L. Hsin-I Hsiao, R.G.M. Kemp, J.G.A.J. van der Vorst, S.W.F. Omta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper aims to investigate outsourcing of different types of logistics activities in Taiwanese food industry, and benchmark with practices in The Netherlands. Design/methodology/approach – The outsourcing of four levels of logistics activities is investigated: transportation (level 1), packaging (level 2), transportation management (level 3), and distribution network management (level 4). A structured questionnaire was designed and sent to logistics managers in The Netherlands and Taiwan to evaluate the most commonly outsourced activities and identify specific outsourcing firm's characteristics. Findings – About 69 per cent of the companies, in both countries outsource level 1 activities, 16 per cent level 2, and 37 per cent level 3 activities. Only few companies (about 10 per cent) outsource the highest level of activities. In particular, The Netherlands has higher percentages for levels 1 and 3. This might be caused by the fact that most Taiwanese companies emphasise low cost whereas the Dutch companies focus on flexibility in order to deal with higher complexities. When intentions for the future are included, Taiwan is planning to outsource level 2 (40 per cent) and level 4 activities (36 per cent) much more than The Netherlands (respectively 13 and 17 per cent). When zooming in, it was found that outsourcing strategies of companies in the subsectors differ. For instance, the dairy sector outsources more frequently than the meat sector on the first three levels. This might be caused by the fact that meat companies emphasise food quality, whereas dairy companies emphasise flexibility and reliability. Research limitations/implications – This study investigated only food processors. The paper suggests further research should include other types of food organisations. Originality/value – The paper provides valuable insights in outsourcing strategies of food processing companies in Taiwan and The Netherlands for advanced logistics service providers who are looking at the market potential of Taiwan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-576
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • transaction cost economics
  • supply chain
  • 3rd-party logistics
  • service providers
  • performance
  • information
  • firm
  • impact
  • complexity
  • innovation


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