From Branded Bulldozers to Global Distribution Partners

No company is an island.

HISTORICALLY, POWER IN distribution channels has rested upstream with brand marketers such as Philip Morris and Sara Lee, manufacturers such as Ford Motor Company and Caterpillar, or franchisers such as McDonald’s and PepsiCo. In contrast to these multinational suppliers, most retailers, dealers, and franchisees were local and fragmented. There was within each country a large owner-operated sector in distribution, which in retailing is romantically referred to as “mom and pop.” Retailing, and more generally distribution, therefore acquired an image of being a simple, unsophisticated business, undeserving of attention from superior trained minds, be they academics ...

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