In recent years, the market globalization process has deeply altered the international competitive scene, leading, inevitably, to a revision of companies’ strategies and organization structures. It is now widely accepted that Information and Communication Technology (ict) and supply chain logistics management, have an important role in increasing the competitive potential of each company and in the development of entire economic sectors. The importance of these factors for the business strategies of firms, has generated increasing research attention towards the study of their economic and social impact, concerning both the spread of modern information and communication technologies and logistics. This paper mainly proposes, through a direct survey conducted on a group of firms (production and commercial companies), working in the Sicilian fruit and vegetable sector - a strategic sector in the economic and social field for most of the region - to provide empirical evidence regarding the degree of diffusion of ict and its use, as well as on business relationships with the regional distribution logistics system, as they are two of the determinants that can influence companies’ competitive potential. Through Multiple Correspondence Analysis (mca) it was possible to filter down the information from the available data and to identify two factors that describe and summarize how the surveyed firms behave. In particular, the analysis highlighted the close connection between the diffusion and use of ict and logistics distribution organization and the firms’ physical and economic size. Specifically, the large-size companies, in this case represented by producer organizations and associations, have a medium-high degree of computerization and an efficient logistics organization, which allows them to interface with competitors both in the national and international market. Agricultural cooperatives and individual companies, on the other hand, though having well-developed infrastructure hardware and software, limit their use to basic functions, but above all have greater needs in terms of logistics structures, which are scantly distributed in the region, and this negatively influences the efficiency of fruit and vegetable produce distribution. In this context, the competitive potential of the fruit and vegetable sector, as regards the issues under investigation, is connected, on the one hand, to companies’ recognition of the potential offered by ict and efficient logistics and, on the other, to government intervention aimed at overcoming the region’s infrastructure limits which are at the heart of inefficiencies in the distribution system.
Keywords: Fruit and vegetables industry, Information & Communication Technology, logistics
Jel Code: Q12, Q13, M15, R41