The tutorial about distribution decisions deals mainly with establishing an effective and efficient system that will make the products accessible to the market. It teaches the different channels of distribution including the process of ordering, handling and shipping, storage, display, promotion, selling, and information feedback. The channels include resellers, specialty service firms who are important although a little costly. There are two kinds of channel arrangements: independent (no binding relationship), and dependent (has binding relationship).
Also, there are three kinds of distribution systems: direct distribution systems, indirect distribution systems, and multi-channel hybrid systems. The tutorial also warns of the issues in establishing channel relationships such as delivery, profit margins, other incentives, packaging, training, and promotional help. The tutorial on retailing examines retailers as a type of resellers of a product to consumers who only want to buy in small quantities. Their main concerns are customer satisfaction, ability to acquire the right products, product presentations, traffic building, layout, location, and keeping pace with technology.
Retailers are categorized in many ways; included in the tutorial are: target markets served (mass, specialty, exclusive market), product offerings (general, multiple lines specialty, single line specialty merchandiser), pricing strategy (discount, competitive, full price pricing), promotional focus (advertising, direct mail, personal selling), distribution method (store-based which can be stand-alone, strip-shopping center, shopping area, and regional shopping mall; and non-store sellers which can be online sellers, direct marketers, and vending), service level (self, assorted, full service), and ownership structures (individually owned, corporate chain, corporate structure, contractually licensed). There are also a variety of retail formats which are mom-and pop, mass discounters, warehouse stores, category killers, department stores, boutique, catalog retailers, e-tailers, franchise, convenience store, and vending. In wholesaling, the sellers sell in bulk to their consumers.
Their main concern involves disinter-mediation, facility location, transportation costs, adapting to new technologies, and offering non-product assistance. They are categorized according to products carried (general and specialty merchandise), promotional activities (extensive and limited promotion), distribution (stationary location with customer and not customer accessible; and non-stationary location with mobile and no facilities), service level (full, limited, and no service), and product ownership (do take and do not take title). Wholesale formats consist of general and specialty merchandise, contractual, industrial distributors, cash-and-carry, truck, rack jobber, drop shipper, broker, and agent.
In managing product movement, three tasks are important which have a cost-service tradeoff: ordering and inventory management, product storage, and transportation. Ordering and inventory have to be managed by considering order entry and processing, demand forecasting, customer knowledge, channel relationship, physical product handling, storage and transportation. The tutorial is effective in a sense that it takes the learner through a step by step process in understanding the definitions of terms, what the different topics are about, and gives the learner an idea on how to apply the process in real marketing situations. The tutorial is also effective because it is simple and easy to understand. It also breaks down complicated topics and lays them out in an easy-to-understand manner.
The only problem with the tutorial is that it lacked examples of real life situations to which the approaches were used, especially since examples often makes everything clearer and makes the whole presentation have more real life applications and not just theoretical things that can be skipped In the issues in information and IS, information exchange and communication is very valuable between the company and their distributors. Any decision by marketing should be communicated internally in production. The IT manager is to integrate the communication among production, marketing and distributors to streamline everything. A sophisticated tracking of orders and products is also necessary among them.
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