Abstract The theme focused in this article is the analysis of the associations among the level of logistics service (received and offered), the logistics organizational structure and business performance of large Brazilian manufacturing companies. It also analysesthe influence of the product type in such associations. It takes into consideration a sample of 138 companies. Performance data were obtained from Valor Econômico 1000 Magazine, and the other data were gathered by survey. Statistical tests were utilized, including factor analysis and Pearson´s correlation. In broad terms, there is no evidence that the level of logistics service and also thecharacteristics of logistics organizational structures are significantly associated to business performance. Product type is a limited moderator in those associations. Keywords: Logistics service; Logistics organizational structure; Business performance; product type. 1. Introduction Only a short while ago, logistics was perceived as one more means of guaranteeing efficiency and rationalisation in usingthe resources available. There was not, consequently, greater strategic and structural matters to be considered (STOCK, GREIS, KASARDA, 1999). In this way, it did not constitute a sustainable competitive advantage, for it was easily imitable by the competitors. At the same time, companies tried to develop and maintain essential competences (PRAHALAD, HAMEL, 1990) with the purpose of generating andmaintaining sustainable competitive advantage based on the resources. In this aspect, characteristics of logistics organizational structure (HALL, 1991; CHOW, HEAVER, HENRIKSSON, 1995; STOCK, GREIS, KASARDA, 1999, 2000) and the logistics service offered to the customer (CHRISTOPHER, 1992; LAMBERT, STOCK, 1993; HESKETT, 1994; LALONDE, COOPER, NOORDEWIER, 1988) became a crucial element capable ofcreating worth (RUTNER, LANGLEY JR, 2000; LANGLEY JR, HOLCOMB, 1992), maintain or generate sustainable competitive advantage (DAUGHERTY, STANK, ELLINGER, 1998). It is also linked to customer loyalty and able to contribute to the profitability and generate operational profit for the company (BALLOU, 2001; BOWERSOX, CLOSS, 2001) reflecting, consequently, business performance. We point out, in theparticular case of logistics, that the type of manufactured product can exercise direct influence in the manner in which it is delivered to the final customers, thus, affecting their satisfaction and the logistics service level that is offered or received (BALLOU, 2001). 2. Level of Logistics Services (LLS)
XII ICIEOM - Fortaleza, CE, Brasil, October 9 - 11, 2006The logistics service to the customer is the consistent offer of utility in time and place (CHRISTOPHER, 1992). It represents the product in the logistics system and is a component of the market mix (LAMBERT, STOCK, 1993). The relation of logistics service with speed and reliability was established by Heskett (1994); and its main objective of supplying significant benefits of aggregated value tothe chain of supplies, in a cost efficient manner, is argued by LaLonde, Cooper and Noordewier (1988). It can be considered as a form of value generation by means of logistics activities (RUTNER, LANGLEY JR., 2000; LANGLEY JR., HOLCOMB, 1992) or as a way of maintaining or generating sustainable competitive advantages (LAMBERT, HARRIGTON, 1989; DAUGHERTY, STANK, ELLINGER, 1998). The logisticsservices can be best understood through its specific attributes. Studies, such as Harding (1998), Lambert and Harrigton (1989), Mentzer, Flint and Kent (1999), Fleury and Lavalle (2000), Figueiredo et al (2000a, 2000b), La Londe, Cooper e Noordwier (1988), Bowersox e Cooper (1992), have used combined attributes to indicate the level and importance of logistics service. In evaluating the service of...