Eli Broad College of Business

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About the course

While most firms have given a great deal of thought to logistical design and management, very few focus their attention on market distribution. In fact, there is considerable evidence that this critical arena of business strategy is simply treated as a given in most firms and not subject to the same rigorous analysis as other aspects of strategy. Firms have even changed, added, or modified market distribution structures with little consideration of the impact on overall business performance and the logistical consequences of such changes. Distribution Fulfillment covers the critical topics to help you learn how to develop, implement and manage a market distribution strategy for your logistical operations.

Throughout the eight weeks of this course, You’ll identify the interrelationships between "marketing channel structure" and "logistics distribution structure" Historically, they’ve been known as two independent areas of decision-making, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that these two topics are indeed closely related to one another.

What You’ll Learn

Distribution Roles & Channel Structure and Function

  • How to identify the role of distribution in your marketing strategy
  • Ways to develop positioning, promotional efforts and pricing strategy
  • Typical channel structures, flows and functions
  • Process for effective channel design

Supply Side Analysis & Distribution Channel Participants

  • Value of merchant wholesalers for manufacturers and customers
  • Best practices for retail structures and non-store retail formats
  • How to classify types of merchandise, ownership and control

Distribution Channel Selection

  • How to evaluate channel design and map channel functions, flows and tasks
  • Ways to identify objectives and constraints
  • Use of the channel decision matrix

Evaluating Channels: Cost & Profitability

  • How to apply cost and profitability analysis concepts, tools and techniques
  • Importance of activity-based approaches to financial analysis

Evaluating Return on Investment

  • How to compare and analyze common strategic profit models
  • Supply chain response time, dwell time, days of supply and other metrics
  • Best practices for benchmarking

Channel Relationships

  • How to analyze types of power and develop channel power
  • Techniques for managing conflict in channels
  • Risks and rewards of channel alliances
  • Stages of relationship development and critical success factors for alliances

A Comprehensive Case

  • How to analyze the opportunity for vertical integration
  • Application of the channel analysis framework to a comprehensive case

Other Considerations in Channel Analysis

  • Understand the role of franchising
  • How to evaluate service channel opportunities
  • Legal constraints on channel policies


8 Week Course

Role of Distribution Channel Structure and Function

  • Course Introduction: Marketing Strategy
  • Course Introduction: Positioning
  • The Rationale for Distribution Channels: Gaps & Transactions
  • Channel Design Framework
  • Segmentation for Distribution Fulfillment: Service Output Demand
  • Segmentation for Distribution Fulfillment: End-User Requirements
  • Segmentation for Distribution Fulfillment: Applying the Channel Design Process
  • Supply Side Analysis and Distribution Channel Participants

Supply Side Channel Analysis: Flows

  • Introduction to Wholesaling
  • Value of Wholesaling
  • Introduction to Retailing
  • Retailing Structure
  • Competition in Retailing
  • The Internet and Distribution Fulfillment
  • Distribution Channel Mapping
  • Distribution Channel Selection

Distribution Channel Structure and Intensity

  • Dual and Multiple Channels
  • Channel Selection: Product Characteristics
  • Channel Selection Decision Matrix Approach
  • Case: Alternative Distribution at SSI: Part 1
  • Case: Alternative Distribution at SSI: Part 2

Evaluating Channels: Cost and Profitability

  • Understanding Cost Analysis
  • Full Costing vs. Segmental Analysis: Cost Classifications
  • Full Costing vs. Segmental Analysis: Contribution Approach
  • Activity Based Costing (ABC)
  • Dream Beauty Case Introduction
  • Dream Beauty Case Analysis
  • Decisions Using Contribution and ABC

Evaluating Return on Investment

  • Understanding the Balance Sheet
  • Strategic Profit Model: Part 1
  • Strategic Profit Model: Part 2
  • Strategic Profit Model Analysis: Evaluating Performance and Competitive Analysis
  • Strategic Profit Model Analysis: Employee Motivation
  • Strategic Profit Model Analysis: Evaluating Alternatives
  • Benchmarking Performance

Channel Relationships

  • Distribution Channel Power: Function of Dependence
  • Distribution Channel Power: Sources
  • Distribution Channel Conflict: Types
  • Distribution Channel Conflict: Importance of Trust
  • Distribution Alliances: Relationship Types
  • Distribution Alliances: Success Factors
  • Distribution Alliances: "Superordinate" Goals

A Comprehensive Case

  • Vertical Integration: Part 1
  • Vertical Integration: Part 2
  • Masterton Carpet Case Introduction
  • Masterton Carpet Case: Look at the Industry and Current Situation
  • Masterton Carpet Case: Financial Implications
  • Masterton Carpet Case: Retail vs. Wholesale Decision
  • Masterton Carpet Case: The Lessons Learned

Franchising, Channel Policies and the Law

  • Franchising: Part 1
  • Franchising: Part 2
  • Channels for Services
  • Channel Policies and the Law: Legal Environment and Major Legislation
  • Channel Policies and the Law: Recurring Issue of Pricing Policy
  • Channel Policies and the Law: Product Line and Selection and Termination
  • Distribution Fulfillment: Final Thoughts

Who should attend

Michigan State’s Distribution Fulfillment training is essential for logistics professionals responsible for maintaining high standards of customer service and quality, while minimizing costs and streamlining their supply chain. It also contains valuable insights for managers and executives, who define, create, implement, and integrate supply chain strategies. Students should have a working knowledge of supply chain function integration, which is addressed in the Supply Chain Management I and II courses.

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