【讲座会议】Marketing Channels and Supply Chain Management
Marketing Channels and Supply Chain Management
Previewing the Concepts: Chapter Objectives
1. Explain why companies use distribution channels and discuss the functions these channels perform.
2. Discuss how channel members interact and how they organize to perform the work of the channel.
3. Identify the major channel alternatives open to a company.
4. Explain how companies select, motivate, and evaluate channel members.
5. Discuss the nature and importance of marketing logistics and integrated supply chain management.
JUST THE BASICS
This chapter covers the important topics of supply chain management. Supply chains consist of both upstream and downstream partners, including suppliers, intermediaries, and even intermediary customers. The term value delivery network expands on the limited nature of “supply chain.” It consists of the company, suppliers, distributors, and ultimately customers who “partner” with each other to improve the performance of the entire system.
The chapter focuses on marketing channels—the downstream side of the value delivery network. A company’s channel decisions directly affect every other marketing decision. And because distribution channel decisions often involve long-term commitments to other firms, management must define its channels carefully, with an eye on tomorrow’s likely selling environment as well as today’s.
Channel members add value by bridging the major time, place, and possession gaps that separate goods and services from those who would use them. Members of the marketing channel perform many key functions, such as gathering and distributing marketing information; promoting products; contacting prospective buyers; matching supply with demand; negotiating final prices; and performing the physical distribution of the goods, financing large purchases, and taking the risk of selling the product.
For channels to work properly, each channel member’s role must be specified and conflict must be managed. Conventional distribution systems typically lacked a strong leader; vertical marketing systems (VMS) have evolved to provide that channel leadership. The three major types of VMSs include corporate, contractual, and administered.
In designing marketing channels, managers must analyze customer needs, set channel objectives, identify major channel alternatives, and then evaluate those alternatives. In designing international channels, marketers will face additional complexities. Each country has its own unique distribution system that has evolved over time and changes very slowly.
Marketing logistics, also called physical distribution, involves planning, implementing and controlling the physical flow of goods, services, and other related information from points of origin to points of consumption. It involves getting the right product to the right customer in the right place at the right time. Marketing logistics addresses not only outbound distribution, but also inbound and reverse distribution. The major logistics functions include warehousing, inventory management, and transportation.
a. Caterpillar believes its dominance over seven decades in the market for heavy construction and mining equipment results from its unparalleled distribution and customer support system.
b. Caterpillar sells more than 300 products in nearly 200 countries, generating sales of more than $20 billion annually. It has 27% of the worldwide construction-equipment business, more than double that of number two Komatsu.
c. Competitors often bypass their dealers and sell directly to big customers to cut costs or make more profits for themselves, but Caterpillar wouldn’t think of going around its dealers. Caterpillar’s superb distribution system serves as a major source of competitive advantage. The system is built on a firm base of mutual trust and shared dreams.
d. Most firms cannot bring value to customers by themselves. Instead, they must work closely with other firms in a larger value delivery network.
Use Chapter Objectives 1 here.
2. Supply Chains and the Value Delivery Network
a. The supply chain consists of “upstream” and “downstream” partners, including suppliers, intermediaries, and even intermediary customers.
1. Upstream from the manufacturer or service provider is the set of firms that supply the raw materials, components, parts, infor-mation, finances, and expertise needed to create a product or service.
2. Marketers have traditionally focused on the downstream side of the supply chain, which are the marketing channels or distribution channels that look forward toward the customer.
Use Key Term Marketing Channel (or Distribution Channel) here.
b. It is the unique design of each company’s supply chain that enables it to deliver superior value to customers.
1. The term supply chain may be too limited—it takes a make-and-sell view of the business.
2. A better term would be demand chain because it suggests a sense-and-respond view of the market. Under this view, planning starts with the needs of the target customers, to which the company responds by organizing resources with the goal of building profitable customer relationships.
3. Even this might be too limiting, however. A value delivery network is made up of the company, suppliers, distributors, and ultimately customers who partner with each other to improve the performance of the entire system.
Use Key Term Value Delivery Network here.
Use Discussing the Issues 5 here.
c. This chapter focuses on marketing channels—on the downstream side of the value delivery network.
d. There are four major questions concerning marketing channels:
1. What is the nature of marketing channels and why are they important?
2. How do channel firms interact and organize to do the work of the channel?
3. What problems do companies face in designing and managing their channels?
4. What role do physical distribution and supply chain management play in attracting and satisfying customers?
3. The Nature and Importance of Marketing Channels
a. A marketing channel or distribution channel is a set of interdependent organizations involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by the consumer or business user.
b. A company’s channel decisions directly affect every other marketing decision.
c. Distribution channel decisions often involve long-term commitments to other firms. Therefore, management must design its channels carefully, with an eye on tomorrow’s likely selling environment as well as today’s.
How Channel Members Add Value
d. The use of intermediaries results from their greater efficiency in making goods available in target markets. Through their contacts, experience, specialization, and scale of operation, intermediaries usually offer the firm more than it can achieve on its own.
e. Figure 10-1 shows how using intermediaries can provide economies.
f. The role of marketing intermediaries is to transform the assortments of products made by producers into the assortments wanted by consumers.
1. Producers make narrow assortments of products in large quantities, but consumers want broad assortments of products in small quantities.
2. Intermediaries play an important role in matching supply and demand.
Use Figure 10-1 here.
g. Channel members add value by bridging the major time, place, and possession gaps that separate goods and services from those who would use them.
h. Members of the marketing channel perform many key functions:
1. Information: gathering and distributing marketing research and intelligence.
2. Promotion: developing and spreading persuasive communications about an offer.
3. Contact: finding and communicating with prospective buyers.
4. Matching: shaping and fitting the offer to the buyer’s needs.
5. Negotiation: reach an agreement on price and other terms of the offer.
6. Physical distribution: transporting and storing goods.
7. Financing: acquiring and using funds to cover the costs of the channel work.
8. Risk taking: assuming the risks of carrying out the channel work.
i. In dividing the work of the channel, the various functions should be assigned to the channel members who can add the most value for the cost.
Let’s Discuss This
Mobile phone manufacturers largely distribute their products through service providers such as Verizon, AT&T Wireless, and T-Mobile. Why have they chosen this method of distribution?
Number of Channel Levels
j. Each layer of marketing intermediaries that performs some work in bringing the product and its ownership closer to the final buyer is a channel level.
Use Key Term Channel Level here.
k. The number of intermediary levels indicates the length of a channel. Figure 10-2A shows several distribution channels of different lengths.
1. A direct marketing channel has no intermediary levels; the company sells directly to consumers.
2. An indirect marketing channel contains one or more interme-diaries.
Use Key Terms Direct Marketing Channel, Indirect Marketing Channel here.
Use Figure 10-2 here.
l. Figure 10-2B shows some common business distribution channels.
1. A business marketer can use its own sales force to sell directly to business customers.
2. Or it can sell to various types of intermediaries, who in turn sell to these customers.
m. From the producer’s point of view, a greater number of levels means less control and greater channel complexity.
n. The institutions in the channel are connected by several types of flows.
1. The flows include physical flow of the products, the ownership flow, the payment flow, the information flow, and the promotion flow.
2. These flows can make even channels with only one or a few levels very complex.
Use Chapter Objectives 2 here.
4. Channel Behavior and Organization
a. Distribution channels are complex behavioral systems in which people and companies interact to accomplish individual, company, and channel goals.
1. Some channel systems consist only of informal interactions among loosely organized firms.
2. Others consist of formal interactions guided by strong organi-zational structures.
b. Each channel member plays a specialized role in the channel. The channel will be most effective when each member is assigned the tasks it can do best.
c. Ideally, all channel firms should work together smoothly. They should understand and accept their roles, coordinate their activities, and cooperate to attain overall channel goals.
d. Although channel members depend on one another, they often act alone in their own short-run best interests. Disagreements over goals, roles, and rewards generate channel conflict.
1. Horizontal conflict occurs among firms at the same level of the channel.
2. Vertical conflict is more common; it is conflict between different levels of the same channel.
3. Some conflict in the channel takes the form of healthy competition.
4. Severe or prolonged conflict can disrupt channel effectiveness and cause lasting harm to channel relationships.
Use Key Term Channel Conflict here.
Vertical Marketing Systems
e. Historically, conventional distribution systems have lacked leadership and power, often resulting in damaging conflict and poor performance.
Use Key Term Conventional Distribution Channel here.
f. One of the biggest channel developments over the years has been the emergence of vertical marketing systems that provide channel leadership. Figure 10-3 contrasts the two types of channel arrangements.
1. A conventional distribution channel consists of one or more independent producers, wholesalers, and retailers. Each is a separate business seeking to maximize its own profits.
2. A vertical marketing system (VMS) consists of producers, wholesalers, and retailers acting as a unified system. One channel member owns the others, has contracts with them, or wields so much power that they must all cooperate. The VMS can be dominated by either the producer, the wholesaler, or the retailer.
a. A corporate VMS integrates successive stages of produc-tion and distribution under single ownership.
b. A contractual VMS consists of independent firms at different levels of production and distribution who join together through contracts to obtain more economies or sales impact than each could achieve alone.
i. The franchise organization is the most common type. There are three types of franchises: manufacturer-sponsored retailer franchiser system; manufacturer-sponsored wholesaler franchise system; and a service-firm-sponsored retailer franchiser system.
c. An administered VMS is one where leadership is assumed not through common ownership or contractual ties but through the size and power of one or a few dominant channel members.
Use Key Terms Vertical Marketing System (VMS), Corporate VMS, Contractual VMS, Franchise Organization, and Administered VMS here.
Use Figure 10-3 here.
Use Discussing the Issues 1 here.
Horizontal Marketing Systems
g. A horizontal marketing system is one in which two or more companies at one level join together to follow a new marketing opportunity. By working together, companies can combine their financial, production, or marketing resources to accomplish more than any one company could alone.
h. Companies might join forces with competitors or noncompetitors. They might work with each other on a temporary or permanent basis, or they may create a separate company.
Use Key Term Horizontal Marketing System here.
Applying the Concept
Why are there bank branches in many grocery stores today? Discuss why this application of a horizontal marketing system makes sense for both the grocery store and the bank.
Multichannel Distribution Systems
i. More and more companies have adopted multichannel distribution systems, which are also called hybrid marketing channels.
j. This occurs when a single firm sets up two or more marketing channels to reach one or more customer segments.
k. Figure 10-4 shows a hybrid channel. These days almost every large company and many small ones distribute through multiple channels.
l. With each new channel, the company expands its sales and market cover-age and gains opportunities to tailor its products and services to the specific needs of diverse customer segments.
m. Multichannel systems are harder to control and they generate conflict as more channels compete for customers and sales.
Use Key Term Multichannel Distribution System here.
Use Figure 10-4 here.
Changing Channel Organizations
n. One major trend is toward disintermediation—more and more, product and service producers are bypassing intermediaries and going directly to final buyers, or to radically new types of channel intermediaries.
o. This presents problems and opportunities.
1. To avoid being swept aside, traditional intermediaries must find new ways to add value in the supply chain.
2. To remain competitive, product and service producers must develop new channel opportunities, such as Internet and other direct channels. Developing these channels brings them into direct competition with their established channels, resulting in conflict.
Use Key Term Disintermediation here.
Use Marketing at Work 10-1 here.
Use Speed Bump: Linking the Concepts here.
Use Discussing the Issues 3 here.
Applying the Concept
Discuss some likely trends in the distribution of automobiles in the 21st century. Will there be a shift away from exclusive distribution? What might the distribution channel(s) look like?
5. Channel Design Decisions
a. In designing marketing channels, manufacturers struggle between what is ideal and what is practical.
1. A new firm with limited capital usually starts by selling in a limited market area.
2. In this way, channel systems often evolve to meet market opportunities and conditions.
b. Channel analysis and design should be purposeful—decision making should include analyzing consumer needs, setting channel objectives, identifying major channel alternatives, and evaluating those alternatives.
Analyzing Customer Needs
c. Marketing channels are part of the overall customer value delivery network. Thus, designing the marketing channel starts with finding out what target consumers want from the channel.
d. The company must balance consumer needs not only against the feasibility and costs of meeting these needs, but also against customer price preferences.
Setting Channel Objectives
e. Companies should state their marketing channel objectives in terms of targeted levels of customer service. In each segment, the company wants to minimize the total channel cost of meeting customer service requirements.
f. The company’s channel objectives are influenced by the nature of the company, its products, its marketing intermediaries, its competitors, and the environment.
g. Environmental factors such as economic conditions and legal constraints may affect channel objectives and design.
Identifying Major Alternatives
h. The company should next identify its major channel alternatives in terms of types of intermediaries, the number of intermediaries, and the respon-sibilities of each channel member.
1. A firm should identify the types of channel members available to carry out its channel work.
a. Company sales force
b. Manufacturer’s agency
c. Industrial distributors
2. Companies must also determine the number of channel members to use at each level.
a. Intensive distribution is a strategy in which they stock their products in as many outlets as possible.
b. In exclusive distribution, the producer gives only a limited number of dealers the exclusive right to distribute its product in their territories.
c. In between intensive and exclusive distribution is selective distribution—the use of more than one, but fewer than all, of the intermediaries who are willing to carry a company’s products.
Use Key Terms Intensive Distribution, Exclusive Distribution, and Selective Distribution here.
Use Discussing the Issues 2 here.
3. The producer and intermediaries need to agree on the terms and responsibilities of each channel member.
a. They should agree on price policies, conditions of sale, territorial rights, and specific services to be performed by each party.
b. Mutual services and duties need to be spelled out carefully.
Evaluating the Major Alternatives
i. Each alternative should be evaluated against economic, control, and adaptive criteria.
1. Using economic criteria, a company compares the likely sales, costs, and profitability of different channel alternatives.
2. The company must also consider control issues. Using interme-diaries usually means giving them some control over the marketing of the product, and some intermediaries take more control than others.
3. The company must also apply adaptive criteria. Channels often involve long-term commitments, yet the company wants to keep the channel flexible so that it can adapt to environmental changes.
Designing International Distribution Channels
j. International marketers face many additional complexities in designing their channels.
k. Each country has its own unique distribution system that has evolved over time and changes very closely.
Use Chapter Objectives 3 here.
6. Channel Management Decisions
a. Once the company has reviewed its channel alternatives and decided on the best channel design, it must implement and managed the chosen channel.
b. Channel management calls for selecting, managing, and motivating individual channel members and evaluating their performance over time.
Selecting Channel Members
c. Producers vary in their ability to attract qualified marketing interme-diaries.
d. When selecting intermediaries, the company should determine what characteristics distinguish the better ones. It will want to evaluate each channel member’s years in business, other lines carried, growth and profit record, cooperativeness, and reputation.
Managing and Motivating Channel Members
e. Once selected, channel members must be continuously managed and motivated to do their best.
1. The company must sell not only through the intermediaries but to and with them.
2. They practice strong partner relationship management (PRM) to forge long-term partnerships with channel members.
f. In managing its channels, a company must convince distributors that they can succeed better by working together as a part of a cohesive value delivery system.
Use Marketing at Work 10-2 here.
Evaluating Channel Members
g. The producer must regularly check channel member performance against standards such as sales quotas, average inventory levels, customer delivery time, treatment of damaged and lost goods, cooperation in company promotion and training programs, and services to the customer.
h. The company should recognize and reward intermediaries who are performing well and adding good value for consumers. Those who are performing poorly should be assisted or replaced.
Use Speed Bump: Linking the Concepts here.
Use Chapter Objectives 4 here.
Use Application Questions 1 here.
7. Public Policy and Distribution Decisions
a. For the most part, companies are legally free to develop whatever channel arrangements suit them.
b. Laws affecting channels seek to prevent the exclusionary tactics of some companies that might keep another company from using a desired channel.
c. Exclusive distribution is when the seller allows only certain outlets to carry its products. When the seller requires that these dealers not handle competitors’ products, its strategy is called exclusive dealing.
1. Both parties can benefit from exclusive arrangements.
2. But exclusive arrangements also exclude other producers from selling to these dealers.
a. This brings exclusive dealing contracts under the scope of the Clayton Act of 1914.
b. They are legal as long as they do not substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly, and as long as both parties enter into the agreement voluntarily.
3. Exclusive dealing often includes exclusive territorial agreements.
d. Producers of a strong brand sometimes sell it to dealers only if the dealers will take some or all of the rest of the line. This is called full-line forcing.
1. These tying arrangements may not be illegal, but if they lessen competition substantially, they do come under the Clayton Act.
e. Producers are free to select their dealers, but their right to terminate dealers is somewhat restricted.
1. Sellers can drop dealers “for cause.”
2. They cannot drop dealers if, for example, the dealers refuse to cooperate in a doubtful legal arrangement.
Use Focus on Ethics here.
8. Marketing Logistics and Supply Chain Management
a. Companies must decide on the best way to store, handle, and move their products and services so that they are available to customers in the right assortments, at the right time, and in the right place.
b. Physical distribution and logistics effectiveness has a major impact on both customer satisfaction and company costs.
Use Key Term Marketing Logistics (or Physical Distribution) here.
Nature and Importance of Marketing Logistics
c. Marketing logistics, also called physical distribution, involves planning, implementing, and controlling the physical flow of goods, services, and related information from points of origin to points of consumption to meet customer requirements at a profit. It involves getting the right product to the right customer in the right place at the right time.
d. Marketing logistics addresses not only outbound distribution (moving products from the factory to resellers and ultimately to customers) but also inbound distribution (moving products and materials from suppliers to the factory) and reverse distribution (moving broken, unwanted, or excess products returned by customers or resellers).
e. It involves entire supply chain management—managing upstream and downstream value-added flows of materials, final goods, and related information among suppliers, the company, resellers, and final consumers. See Figure 10-5.
Use Key Term Supply Chain Management here.
Use Figure 10-5 here.
f. The logistics manager’s task is to coordinate activities of suppliers, purchasing agents, marketers, channel members, and customers.
g. Companies can gain a powerful competitive advantage by pursuing improved logistics to give customers better service or lower prices.
1. Improved logistics can yield tremendous cost savings to both the company and its customers. As much as 20% of an average prod-uct’s price is accounted for by shipping and transportation alone.
2. The explosion in product variety has created a need for improved logistics management.
3. Improvements in information technology have created oppor-tunities for major gains in distribution efficiency.
Goals of the Logistics System
h. No logistics system can both maximize customer service and minimize distribution costs.
1. Maximum customer service implies rapid delivery, large inven-tories, flexible assortments, liberal return policies, and other ser-vices—all of which raise distribution costs.
2. Minimum distribution costs imply slower delivery, smaller inventories, and larger shipping lots, which represent a lower level of overall customer service.
i. The goal of marketing logistics should be to provide a targeted level of customer service at the least cost.
1. A company must first research the importance of various distri-bution services to customers and then set desired service levels for each segment.
2. The objective is to maximize profits, not sales.
Major Logistics Functions
j. The major logistics functions include warehousing, inventory manage-ment, transportation, and logistics information management.
k. A company must decide on how many and what types of warehouses it needs and where they will be located.
1. A storage warehouse stores goods for moderate to long periods.
2. Distribution centers are designed to move goods rather than to store them. They are large and highly automated warehouses designed to receive goods from various plants and suppliers, take orders, fill those orders efficiently, and deliver goods to customers as quickly as possible.
3. New, single-storied automated warehouses have advanced, computer-controlled materials-handling systems requiring few employees. Computers and scanners read orders and direct lift trucks, electric hoists, or robots to gather goods, move them to loading docks, and issue invoices.
Use Key Term Distribution Center here.
l. Inventory management also affects customer satisfaction. Here, managers must maintain the delicate balance between carrying too little inventory and carrying too much.
1. Just-in-time logistics systems carry only small inventories of parts or merchandise, often for only a few days of operation. New stock arrives exactly when needed, rather than being stored in inventory until being used.
m. The choice of transportation carriers affects the pricing of products, delivery performance, and condition of the goods when they arrive.
1. Trucks have increased their share of transportation steadily and now account for 39% of total cargo ton-miles (more than 69% of actual tonnage). They account for the largest portion of trans-portation within cities as opposed to between cities.
2. Railroads account for 38% of total cargo ton-miles moved. They are one of the most cost-effective modes for shipping large amounts of bulk products.
3. Water carriers, which account for about 10% of cargo ton-miles, transport large amounts of goods by ships and barges on U.S. coastal and inland waterways. Although the cost of water transportation is very low for shipping bulky, low-value, nonperishable products, water transportation is the slowest mode and may be affected by the weather.
4. Pipelines are a specialized means of shipping petroleum, natural gas, and chemicals from sources to markets.
5. Although air carriers transport less than 1% of the nation’s goods, they are an important transportation mode. Airfreight rates are much higher than rail or truck rates, but airfreight is ideal when speed is needed or distant markets have to be reached.
6. The Internet carries digital products from producer to customer via satellite, cable modem, or telephone wire.
7. Intermodal transportation is combining two or more modes of transportation.
a. Piggyback describes the use of rail and trucks.
b. Fishyback is combining water and trucks.
c. Trainship combines water and rail.
d. Airtruck combines air and trucks.
Use Key Term Intermodal Transportation here.
Use Application Questions 2, 3 here.
Use Under the Hood/Focus on Technology here.
Applying the Concept
How are automobiles shipped to the United States from Japan? How are they distributed within the United States?
Integrated Logistics Management
n. Integrated logistics management recognizes that providing better customer service and trimming distribution costs require teamwork, both inside the company and among all the marketing channel organizations.
Use Key Term Integrated Logistics Management here.
Use Marketing at Work 10-3 here.
o. The goal of integrated supply chain management is to harmonize all of the company’s logistics decisions.
1. Some companies have created permanent logistics committees made up of managers responsible for different physical distribution activities.
2. Companies can also create management positions that link the logistics activities of functional areas.
3. Companies can employ sophisticated, systemwide supply chain management software.
p. The members of a distribution channel are linked closely in delivering customer satisfaction and value as well as building customer relationships.
1. Smart companies coordinate their logistics strategies and forge strong partnerships with suppliers and customers to improve customer service and reduce channel costs.
2. Many companies have created cross-functional, cross-company teams.
3. Other companies partner through shared projects.
q. Integrated logistics companies, called third-party logistics (3PL) providers, perform any or all of the functions required to get their clients’ product to market.
1. Companies use third-party logistics providers for many reasons.
a. Getting the product to market is the focus of the logistics provider, so these providers can often do it more efficiently and at lower cost.
b. Outsourcing logistics frees a company to focus more intensely on its core business.
c. Integrated logistics companies understand increasingly complex logistics environments. This can be helpful to companies attempting to expand their global market coverage.
Use Key Term Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider here.
Use Chapter Objectives 5 here.
Use Discussing the Issues 4 here.
Discussing the Issues
1. Discuss the differences between a conventional distribution channel, a corporate VMS, a contractual VMS, and an administered VMS. Give an example of each one.
In an administered VMS, leadership is assumed not through common ownership or contractual ties but through the size and power of one or a few dominant channel members. A corporate VMS integrates successive stages of production and distribution under single ownership. A contractual VMS consists of independent firms at different levels of production and distribution who join together through contracts to obtain more economies than each could achieve alone.
2. Discuss the conditions under which a manufacturer would want its distribution intensity to be exclusive, selective, and intensive. Which distribution level makes sense for the following products: Mountain-Dew soft drinks, Rolex watches, and Ford automobiles? Explain your answer.
Producers of convenience products and common raw materials typically seek intensive distribution—a strategy in which they stock their products in as many outlets as possible. These goods must be available where and when consumers want them. By contrast, some producers purposely limit the number of intermediaries handling their products. The extreme form of this practice is exclusive distribution, in which the producer gives only a limited number of dealers the exclusive right to distribute its products in their territories. By granting exclusive distribution, a firm gains stronger distributor selling support and more control over dealer prices, promotion, credit, and services. Exclusive distribution also enhances a product’s image and allows for higher markups. Selective distribution uses more than one, but fewer than all, of the intermediaries who are willing to carry a company’s products. Selective distribution gives producers good market coverage with more control and less cost than does intensive distribution.
3. Although some channel members are removed through disintermediation, the functions performed by the channel must still take place. Using the travel industry as an example, explain how airlines and hotels will perform key distribution functions (e.g., information, promotion, contact, matching, and negotiation) that travel agents historically have performed.
Responses to this question will vary by student. To provide an illustration of channels evolving, students can discuss how the Internet has allowed consumers to bypass the travel agent and go directly to the airline or hotel chain.
4. With which major functions would someone managing the logistics area of a company be concerned? Give an example of decisions this manager would make for each major function.
The major logistics functions include warehousing, inventory management, transportation, and logistics information management. In terms of warehousing, a company must decide on how many and what types of warehouses it needs and where they will be located. With regard to managing inventory, firms must balance the costs of carrying larger inventories against resulting sales and profits. The choice of transportation carriers affects the pricing of products, delivery performance, and condition of the goods when they arrive—all of which will affect customer satisfaction. In terms of transportation, the company can choose among five main transportation modes: truck, rail, water, pipeline, and air, along with an alternative mode for digital products: the Internet.
5. Discuss the rationale behind the text’s argument that demand chain may be a better term than supply chain. Do you agree or disagree? How does the concept of a value delivery network fit with these two concepts?
The term supply chain may be too limited—it takes a make-and-sell view of the business. It suggests that raw materials, productive inputs, and factory capacity should serve as the starting point for market planning. A better term would be demand chain because it suggests a sense-and-respond view of the market. Under this view, planning starts with the needs of target customers, to which the company responds by organizing resources with the goal of building profitable customer relationships. Students will have different opinions as to their agreement or disagreement with this statement. A value delivery network is made up of the company, suppliers, distributors, and ultimately customers who partner with each other to improve the performance of the entire system. So supply or demand chains represent part of the value delivery network.
1. Your company has just developed a new line of organic foods. Discuss the factors you should consider in selecting channel members. What methods will you use to motivate the channel members to work their best for you? Finally, how will you evaluate channel member performance?
When selecting intermediaries, the company should determine what characteristics distinguish the better ones. It will want to evaluate each channel member’s years in business, other lines carried, growth and profit record, cooperativeness, and reputation. Motivating channel members is often done by showing how they can be more profitable by working as part of an integrated delivery system. The producer must regularly check channel member performance against standards such as sales quotas, average inventory levels, customer delivery time, treatment of damaged and lost goods, cooperation in company promotion and training programs, and services to the customer. The company should recognize and reward intermediaries who are performing well and adding good value for consumers. Those who are performing poorly should be assisted or, as a last resort, replaced. A company may periodically “requalify” its intermediaries and prune the weaker ones.
2. Advances in technology and the increasingly widespread use of the Internet have led many firms to create Internet-based channels of distribution that bypass intermediaries and go right to the consumer. Provide an example of a specific company that has used this approach. What does the company gain from using a direct-to-consumer Internet strategy? What disadvantages are there for the manufacturer and consumers under this strategy?
Students will come up with their own examples for this question. Dell Computers is a classic example of an Internet-based channel that goes direct to consumers. However, even Dell has been getting its foot in the door with retailers. Their recent activity has led them to set up areas inside Sears stores to sell Dell computers.
3. One of the challenges for companies opting for an Internet distribution channel is providing timely customer service. One solution to this is to have “live” customer service representatives available to answer questions. Look at the “live chat” online customer service available at Landsend.com (www.landsend.com)—click on the “Customer Service” tab at the top of the page, and then the “Lands’ End Live” icon. What is your reaction to this type of customer service? Do you think it differentiates Lands’ End from online retailers without this feature? Where do you think online customer service will be in 5 years?
Student responses to this service will vary. Because this service is offered in a “text only” format currently, it may be interesting to have students consider how this might change in 5 years if a voice component is added.
Under the Hood/Focus on Technology
In the late 1990s, e-grocers promised to change the way we shop for milk, chicken, and paper towels. Imagine no more trips to the grocery store. With a few clicks of your mouse your shopping list would be sent to the grocery store and a few days later the groceries would appear at your door. Unfortunately, most e-grocers went bankrupt. But now Internet-based grocery stores are back and growing. Indeed, more groceries are sold online today than ever before, with annual sales in the online grocery industry expected to reach $1.6 billion in 2003. According to the Food Marketing Institute, a quarter of all grocery retailers now offer some form of Web-based shopping. This market segment is certainly attractive as online customers spend an average of $125 per customer, compared with only $25 per customer in traditional supermarkets.
Visit Netgrocer.com (www.netgrocer.com/) and look around its Web site. Then respond to the following questions.
1. Would you use this service? Why or why not? Describe the market segment you feel is most likely to use an e-grocer to shop for groceries.
Student responses will vary. A likely market segment for this type of service is those individuals who have limited time to shop and are not price sensitive (perhaps dual-income couples).
2. How big a threat is this channel to traditional grocery stores? Explain your response. Why would a traditional grocery store consider adding a Web-based component to their bricks-and-mortar offering?
Students will have different opinions. Instructors should try and focus attention on which customers are likely to be served by each channel. The size of the online market should also be brought up in the discussion of threats to traditional grocery stores.
3. What are likely to be the biggest challenges to success that online grocers will have to overcome? What can they do to minimize these obstacles?
Challenges may include overcoming consumer tradition of going to the store, limited Internet access among shoppers, delivery of goods when customers are not home, managing inventory levels, and delivery issues.
Focus on Ethics
The music industry is one of the many industries that have started taking advantage of the speed and convenience of the Internet to add another distribution channel to their repertoire (e.g., www.apple.com/music/store). Unfortunately for the industry, this same channel lets consumers share music with each other for free. Music CD sales have dropped almost 15 percent in the past two years, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. What some consumers call “sharing,” industry executives call online piracy or bootlegging, and they blame the illegal downloads for the decline in CD sales. It is reported that music-sharing Web sites have accounted for 2.6 billion files a month in illegal downloads, with much of the activity emanating from college campuses. The music industry estimates that it loses $300 million per year to illegal song copying and distribution. In the extreme, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has said that he is in favor of exploring technology that would remotely destroy computers used for illegal music downloads.
1. What is your position on this issue? Should users be able to freely share music over the Internet that they have legally purchased from retailers?
Many of the students may have used online music-sharing programs in the past, and thus have great insight and strong opinions relative to this question. Opinions will vary.
2. If you worked for a music recording company, what would you suggest that the recording industry do to address this issue?
Student response will vary. Instructors can bring up ideas related to educating music buyers about the harm to the record industry, technology development to stop the sharing capabilities of buyers, the lowering of CD prices as a weapon to stop piracy, and so forth.
3. Divide into two groups and have a debate in class over this issue. One group should take the side of the music industry, while the other group should take the side of consumers digitally sharing music.
As a twist, instructors might have the students switch sides at some point during the debate and argue for the other side of the issue.
Barriers to Effective Learning
1. Average students are going to have a difficult time with this chapter. They will not have previously considered the complicated nature of getting products to consumers before, and the concepts of “supply chain” and “value delivery network” will most likely be foreign. Figure 10-1 is excellent in showing how complex delivery networks could become without intermediaries, and an early focus should be placed on this figure. Also, an example of how difficult it would be for Hershey’s, for example, to deliver one candy bar to one consumer exactly when that consumer wanted it will very quickly drive home the need for channels of distribution.
2. Vertical marketing systems can be difficult to understand. It might actually be easier to begin discussion of the contractual VMS with the illustration of franchises. Most students understand that McDonald’s is a franchise organization, and so the concept will be understood quickly and easily. A corporate VMS then becomes easy to understand, because those consumer outlets are all owned by the company whose logo is on the door. Administered VMSs can be illustrated by the example of Wal-Mart, whose marketplace power has been making news throughout 2003.
3. Students will recognize horizontal VMSs if they have been in a grocery store recently. The addition of bank branches, and in some grocery stores, Starbucks outlets, easily explains this concept.
4. Multichannel distribution systems can be illustrated through the example of many PC manufacturers. HP, for instance, sells through many retail outlets, but they also have their own sales force for businesses. IBM will sell to consumers via its website, to large companies through its own sales force, and to small businesses through many certified resellers.
5. The entire textbook has clearly been focused on beginning every planning task with understanding customer needs, so it should come as no surprise that the first channel design decision starts at the same place. The same holds true for setting channel objectives.
6. The examples in the text of intensive, exclusive, and selective distribution are highly illustrative and should be reviewed. Additional examples can be provided in discussion with the students.
7. In marketing logistics, the concepts of inbound and reverse logistics should be fully explained. Most students, at this point in the chapter, will have no problems with outbound logistics. But they will likely not have thought about having products shipped in to the company; because the chapter focuses on getting products to market, students will assume that all companies make the decisions about how to ship their products to their customers, without the customers (in this case, other companies) having much say about it. The truth is, however, that effectively managing inbound logistics can save large companies millions of dollars a year, and so it is a very important concept. Reverse distribution can be easily understood by discussing the problems of returns and products sent in for maintenance or repair. An interesting discussion could also ensue regarding the problem of discarded computers and monitors and even cell phones; while many of these are still going in the trash, more and more companies are taking them back in order to recycle them. This is also a reverse distribution issue.
1. Compare the distribution systems of a service firm and a product firm. What are the differences? What are the similarities?
2. Discuss the implications for travel agencies and for consumers of the airlines selling and distributing tickets via the Internet.
3. Why do some manufacturers choose not to own their dealers, but instead establish contractual relationships with them?
Classroom Exercise/Homework Assignment
Aveda (www.aveda.com) and The Body Shop (www.bodyshop.com) are two cosmetics and personal care companies that care about the environment. They both use all-natural ingredients in their products, and they tend to target the same type of consumer. Yet they distribute their products in different ways. Visit their websites to review their corporate philosophies and the way their products enter the market.
1. Compare and contrast the two distribution methods.
Aveda, which started as an independent company but is now owned by Estee Lauder, distributes largely through salons. Their salon outlets are required to have at least one employee trained in the Aveda products and methods. They also have some company-owned stores, and regional distributors may also have retail outlets. Their distributor network includes 11 domestic distributors and 15 more around the world. The distributors hire account executives and cosmetology professionals to sell the products and act as educators.
The Body Shop, in contrast, owns all its retail outlets. These outlets are largely found in malls, making the products somewhat more accessible to consumers. They operate in 50 countries with more than 1,900 outlets.
2. Of the two distribution philosophies, which one reaches the broadest audience? Are both companies effectively reaching their target markets?
Most students will be familiar with The Body Shop, but not many will have heard of Aveda. That is directly related to the two distribution strategies that the companies use: By utilizing retail outlets in malls, The Body Shop has become a familiar face in our retail-driven society. Their employees can both explain their products and how to use them, although they may not have the ability to develop long-term relationships with the customers.
Aveda, on the other hand, has chosen to focus on the cosmetology sector for getting the word out. They want to ensure that the hairdressers and makeup professionals who use and sell their products are not only skilled practitioners, but also understand the products thoroughly so they can not only explain them to the ultimate customers, but also teach those customers how to use the products effectively. Because most women have long-term relationships with their hairdressers, Aveda can in turn develop long-term relationships with their customers, without having to own the retail outlets.
So, although both companies seem to be focused on the same consumer, they are each distributing their products in the manner that they think is best for the type of user they want.
Classroom Management Strategies
Once again we have a chapter with a lot of very important material, but planned carefully, this chapter can easily be covered in one class period.
1. The first two sections of this chapter, Supply Chains and the Value Delivery Network and The Nature and Importance of Marketing Channels, can be covered in 5 minutes each. Both sections are important for establishing a vocabulary and baseline for the remainder of the chapter and, as such, are relatively short and to the point. Utilizing Figures 10-1 and 10-2 will be extremely helpful.
2. The next section, Channel Behavior and Organization, should be covered in 15 minutes. The concept of vertical marketing systems will most likely take the majority of that time, because it can be a difficult concept to comprehend. Utilizing lots of examples will help here, as will asking students for their knowledge of both vertical and horizontal marketing systems.
3. Channel Design Decisions should also take 15 minutes to discuss. In this section, an equal amount of time should be spent on virtually all the subheadings, although Identifying Major Alternatives may take several minutes longer than the remain-ing sections.
4. The next two major sections, Channel Management Decisions and Public Policy and Distribution Decisions, can be covered in 5 minutes each. Again, these sections are short, with the information presented in a concise manner.
5. Finally, Marketing Logistics and Supply Chain Management can be covered in 10 minutes. Half of this time should be spent on the subsection Major Logistics Functions. If the students are required to take an Operations Management course, they will cover these topics in more detail, but if not, this could be the only time they are exposed to these concepts while in college.