Exploring a New Business Model in a Conservative Industry A Case Study of a 4PL Startup in the Logistics Industry

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
International Project Management
The logistics industry is characterized by fierce competition, which has led to price pressure among competitors that has pushed profitability down to as low as 2% for some actors. Entry barriers are low for new entrants, which has resulted in vast competition. Further, the free movement of goods within the European Union has resulted in competition with unequal terms. Haxxo is a startup that is in the process of establishing its business in the logistics industry and has experienced difficulties with developing a business model that matches their offering to both customers and partners. Based on this, the purpose of this study is to explore the business model of a 4PL startup within the logistics industry and to provide guidelines for further development of its position in the market. A case study of the recently started company Haxxo was performed. To understand the value proposition and how Haxxo is perceived by stakeholders, interviews with three groups were carried out: Haxxo employees, customers, and partners. The analysis was performed with systematic combining, where the empirical material was continuously compared with literature to find reasonable explanations for puzzling phenomena. During the analysis, it was uncovered that there is a gap between what value Haxxo think it is creating and what customers actually appreciates. Whilst Haxxo believes the offered TA-system is most appreciated by customers, customers value the personal contact, which is not officially offered in the value proposition. Moreover, the dependency situation between Haxxo and its partners is found to be of a complex nature, where both parties want to grow with each other, but at the same time become bigger competitors as they grow. Lastly, the analysis discovers that there are opposing forces to the idea of Haxxo becoming a multi-sided platform. The conclusions provide helpful insights for companies, both with a perspective on the logistics industry, but also general insights about partner dependency. We argue that Haxxo and Passo should either force a stronger distinction between themselves on its customers or consider merging into one unified point of contact. Furthermore, a framework for segmenting Haxxo’s customers is laid forth. The discussion about the framework will be helpful for other startups struggling with segmentation as well, although the specific segments are unique for Haxxo. We also discuss the complexity of small companies being dependent on their partners, how it may offer possibilities and how it may hinder their growth. Lastly, the research group’s thoughts on Haxxo becoming a multi-sided platform are presented, which conclude that neither side of such platform (customers nor forwarders) would benefit from it. This is why, until further research is carried out, a change of the business model to a multi-sided platform is not recommended.
Samhällsbyggnadsteknik , Civil Engineering
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