Postponement and logistics flexibility in retailing: The moderating role of logistics integration and demand uncertainty

Hamid Jafari, Mohammad H. Eslami, Antony Paulraj

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic capabilities such as flexibility are considered influential in achieving superior performance, especially under uncertain circumstances. Among others, postponement is a well-established concept in operations and supply chain management (OSCM) and has been regarded as a key concept in managing supply and demand while increasing flexibility. This study investigates the effect of postponement on logistics flexibility, and that of the latter on retail firm performance. In addition, the moderating roles of logistics integration and demand uncertainty on these relationships are investigated. The study utilizes a quantitative survey and draws on a sample of 261 retailers in Sweden. Logistics flexibility proves to have a mediating role in the postponement–performance relationship. Furthermore, we provide support for the direct effect that postponement can have on logistics flexibility, and the subsequent effect of logistics flexibility on retail firm performance. We contribute by simultaneously studying postponement and logistics flexibility in the retailing context. We find conditional support for the moderating roles of logistics integration and demand uncertainty. The results show that for medium levels of uncertainty, the positive relationship between postponement and logistics flexibility, as well as logistics flexibility and firm performance, are intensified. From a practical standpoint, the findings underline that in the presence of high or low demand uncertainty, applying postponement may not always be beneficial in achieving logistics flexibility, and subsequently better performance. Moreover, if retailers prioritize logistics integration, they should not always expect superior performance gains from the flexibility benefits of postponement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108319
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Demand uncertainty
  • Logistics flexibility
  • Logistics integration
  • Postponement
  • Retailing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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