Exploring retailers' sensitivity to local sustainability policies

H.J. Quak, M.B.M. de Koster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Local governments in Western Europe increasingly use city time-access regulations to improve social sustainability. These regulations significantly influence the distribution process of retail chain organizations. This paper studies the impact of governmental time-window pressure on retailers' logistical concepts and the consequential financial and environmental distribution performance. We determine which dimensions in the retailer's logistical concept determine its cost and emission sensitivity to increasing time-window pressure. Our research is based on a multiple case study of fourteen Dutch retail cases in different sectors and with different store formulas. The retailers provided all organizational, flow and cost data of their secondary distribution (between distribution center and stores). We use these data to calculate the impacts of different time-window pressure scenarios, including the current situation, using vehicle routing software. It appears that cost and emissions increases are moderate, when few cities are affected. However, as more cities are affected, costs and emissions increase considerably, particularly if time-window lengths become shorter. Time-windows harmonized between cities lead to fewer negative effects. We find various dimensions that contribute to reducing a retailer's sensitivity to time-window pressure. We formulate conclusions hypothesizing the links between time-window pressure, its effects, and the dimensions that determine these effects. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1122
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Case study
  • City logistics/distribution
  • Governmental regulation
  • Retail
  • Sustainability
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Retail stores
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Societies and institutions
  • Vehicle routing
  • Time-window pressure
  • Sustainable development


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