سیستم توزیع ژاپنی : تاثیر همکاری های تازه طراحی شده بر عملکرد عمده فروشان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2843||2008||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 104–115
In January 1995, the Kobe earthquake devastated a major part of Kobe's distribution infrastructure. Apart from the expected complaints about lost sales, wholesalers reported some surprising comments after the reopening. Wholesalers stressed the advantages of newly designed distribution channels, especially the opportunity to end longstanding business relationships known as keiretsu. This study is concerned with the recent development of vertical collaboration in the Japanese distribution channel. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the supplier's service to wholesaler, the supplier's offerings to the wholesaler, and buyer's service to the wholesaler did contribute to the enhancement of the performance of the wholesaler. The three factors explained 16% of the wholesaler's performance. The regression analysis also showed that the wholesaler's intra-logistics activities contributed to the improvement of the performance of the wholesaler and explained 5% of its performance.
In January 1995, the Kobe earthquake devastated a major part of Hyogo prefecture's distribution infrastructure. Apart from the expected complaints about lost sales, wholesalers reported some surprising comments after the reopening. They stressed the advantages of newly designed distribution channels, especially the opportunity to end longstanding business keiretsu relationships. Newly designed distribution channel is defined as collaborations in which channel members, in contrast to a keiretsu, have the right and autonomy to shift to a new marketing channel when an existing one becomes uncompetitive. The Japanese distribution system has been described by many researchers as labyrinthine as a Shogun's palace because of its old-fashioned, inefficient, wasteful and complex operating system (Czinkota, 1985, Heshiki et al., 2000 and Tajima, 1984). While western firms understand integration as ownership of other suppliers and/or buyers, Japanese firms forge tight collaborations, known as “keiretsu,” instead of buying channel members. These alliances are not contractual, but consist of strong links among channel members that originate from personnel exchanges and trust to giving long-term supply agreements and technology, sharing vital information, and managing resources into developing new products and processes. Accordingly, wholesalers and retailers push the products of one manufacturer, and extensively share information. These collaborative companies behave as if they were one company in which it becomes very difficult for channel firms to refuse to buy from keiretsu members, even when the price is far from being competitive (Rooney, 2000). The purpose of this manuscript is to identify some of the elements of the newly designed collaborations that are associated with the enhancement of the performance of the wholesalers in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures in Japan. Osaka and Hyogo prefectures are both part of the Kinki region on Honshu island. The capital of Osaka prefecture is Osaka city and the one of Hyogo prefecture is Kobe city. Japanese researchers have long recognized the need for changes in the composition of Japanese distribution channels. For example, Uno (1994) asserts the need for a new view on relationships that is different from the traditional one, in which dominant channel members forge new kinds of ties among manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers focusing on the creation of benefits for all members. Ishihara and Ishii (1996, pp. 3–4), too, stress the importance of new relationships in the ongoing change in Japanese distribution in which a “soft integration” is created and factors such as information exchange and long-term investment are well managed. The Research Group on Distribution Problems (Ryutsu, 1976, p.79) has emphasized the emergence of new vertical collaboration among channel members as the most notable effort in the recent endeavors of companies to raise profitability and productivity. Vertical collaboration is defined as “a collaboration process whereby supply chain trading partners can jointly plan key supply chain activities from production and delivery of raw materials to production and delivery of final products to end customers” (Wisner, Leong, & Tan, 2005, p.143). It is a long-term relationship between two or more firms on different levels of the distribution system, which requires specific investments and continuous exchange between the members and includes business planning, sales forecasting, and all operations required to replenish raw materials and finished goods. Forecasting a more intensive competition and the need for companies to develop new competitive advantages, the new collaboration is one fundamental way by which major companies on all levels of the distribution system try to strengthen their competitive positions by redesigning the distribution channel from manufacturer to consumer. The objective of an ideal collaboration is to optimize the supply chain by delivering the right product at the right time to the right location at the right price, minimizing inventories yet maintaining adequate materials and finished goods across the supply chain, and improving customer service. This can be achieved by developing a system in which a full disclosure of information is shared among trading partners to create seamless operation. Competition among trading members is encouraged in order to obtain quality products at competitive prices. However, the tight-knit keiretsu and intimate grouping among affiliated Japanese producers, wholesalers, and retailers attempt to form one company by buying high-priced goods and services of group members, rather than acquiring them competitively from non-group members. For example, Matsushita, a leading manufacturer in Japan, formed a keiretsu with hundreds of wholesalers and thousands of retailers nationwide (Rapoport, 1991). By buying goods and services only from group members, Matsushita keiretsu tries to avoid competition among its member firms that helps keep prices high, since they are able to securely control the price and distribution of goods and services from the supplier to the consumer (Cutts, 1992). Based on the imperative need for newly designed collaborations among Japanese channel members and the conspicuous manifestation of the change after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, the objective of this exploratory study is to identify the factors of the newly designed collaborations contributing to the enhancement of the performance of the wholesalers in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures in Japan.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings of this study suggested that the new collaboration seemed to be a major vehicle for wholesalers to initiate change in Japanese distribution channels. Wholesalers are entering into new relationships to strengthen their competitive positions. Many wholesalers moved beyond being simple distributors and warehouse facilitators, which was the norm of business in the keiretsu, by adopting new business models that make them a more integral part of their customers' operations. The recent earthquake in Kobe has freed wholesalers of the old bondage system by breaking up the keiretsu. To revamp their performance, Japanese wholesalers have to add real value to their operation, be smart, nimble, and willing to grow beyond mere distribution to offer customer services they cannot get anywhere else, especially from manufacturers themselves. The study has identified a synchronized two-hand strategy that should be used by wholesalers in their new collaborations with suppliers and buyers. They should focus on both strategic development of services and goods and operative logistics systems to boost their profits and performance. On strategic development of services and goods, wholesalers perceived that their performance would be improved if they received various services and goods from the supplier and various services from the buyer, but their service to their buyers did not affect their performance. Throughout the marketing channel, five common features appeared to be crucial to improve the performance of the wholesaler when dealing with both the supplier and buyer (see Table 2): promoting strong collaboration, offering trustworthy information, accommodating a variety of needs, supporting the mission, and determining the price. Strengthening collaborations among efficient Japanese channel members would improve the effectiveness of the wholesaler by delivering the right product at the right time at the right location, reducing inventories across the supply chain, avoiding stock outs, and improving customer services. Sharing trustworthy information, such as incorporating knowledge of base sales, promotions, new product introductions, and consumers' demand would synchronize consumer needs with supplier production plans, thus warranting regimented replenishment. A survey on the benefits of sharing trustworthy information showed that 57% of wholesalers improved their collaborations with suppliers and buyers, 38% showed an increase in service levels, 38% had reduced stock-outs, and 38% had increased sales (Sliwa, 2002). Accommodating various needs of wholesalers is among one of the crucial strategic developments of services to suppliers and buyers. When retailers collaborate with a wholesaler by using its electronic order entry system, several benefits to the wholesaler would materialize. These may include a rapid, reliable, and cost effective customer order system, free time for salespeople that can be used to counsel retailers, considerable bargaining power due to consolidated orders, optimal daily warehouse operations, and better sales and operating margins. All partners in collaboration should share the same mission because if missions were not well aligned or were not clear, partnerships would fail (Wisner et al., 2005). The focus should move to a more strategic path and do not be overwhelmed with tactical issues. When suppliers and buyers support the mission of the wholesaler, the partnership will be productive and long-lasting and has a higher chance of success. Finally, wholesalers perceived that their performance would be enhanced if uniform prices were maintained throughout the supply chain. Price fluctuations might induce buyers and consumers to stop buying when prices were undiscounted and buy only when the prices were discounted. To deal with these surges in demand, wholesalers might face several problems such as scheduling overtime and undertime for employees, storing stockpiles of merchandise, and dealing with higher levels of merchandise due to extended periods of storage. Another rationalization could be that tradition weighs heavily against change. Although some American companies in Japan authorized retailers to buy direct from their factories, they were surprised to find out that many of them preferred to buy from their conventional wholesalers even though the price was higher. The reason might be to uphold old business relationships or school friendships. While wholesalers favored price stability in this study, they might also need to consider economic necessity and international competition. Such factors might erode this order and force wholesalers to look for ways to cut prices. Future research might determine the influence of price stability on wholesalers' performance by firstly controlling for and secondly introducing other factors such as economy and competition. The results may shed more light on the relationships and interactions of price and other variables on wholesalers' performance in Japan. One specific item of strategic development of services and goods that is related to the new supplier–wholesaler collaborations is the supplier's organization of wholesaler's business operation. Wholesalers perceived that their performance would be enhanced when their suppliers organized their business operation. To sustain and improve competitiveness, suppliers must be engaged in developing and organizing the business operation of wholesalers. Manufacturers must take upon themselves new responsibilities for making wholesalers more efficient through programs of technical assistance, purchasing support, order servicing, training for wholesaler sales personnel and management, careful pricing, marketing strategy and tactics, promotional support, accounting aid, inventory control, and product development. In fact, the manufacturer's salespeople can play a crucial role in aligning wholesaler's strategies and business operation to make the wholesaler a more effective channel partner. Another specific item of strategic development of services and goods that is related to the new supplier–wholesaler collaborations is the supplier's supplying power brands and assortments to wholesalers. Wholesalers perceived that power brands and assortments were essential to drive high demand for their inventory. In fact, a brand is a promise; in many cases brands reduce buyer's perceived risk of purchase, offer psychological rewards, help brand loyalty, easily pull customers into any wholesaler, and give them a good reason to spend money. Power brands and assortments are as much of an asset as the wholesaler's building or logistics infrastructure. When manufacturers increase their brand's value, they also raise the total asset value of theirs and wholesalers' organization. Other factors which are crucial for the wholesaler to enhance its performance are the operative logistics systems. Wholesalers perceived that they should provide channel members within the new collaboration with JIT operation, supplementary logistics activities, uniform logistics cost, efficient return of goods, effective management of logistics activities among their facilities, and adequate levels of inventories. While all these elements are crucial to boost the performance of the wholesaler, the right application of the JIT system would influence the effectiveness of all of the other items. The objective of the JIT is to balance the flow of materials with customer requirements, such as costs, quality, and customer service throughout the supply chain. The use of JIT by wholesalers in the new collaboration would ensure reduction of waste, continuous improvement, and the synchronization of material flows from within the wholesaler and eventually including suppliers and retailers. In fact, wholesalers using JIT will improve the quality and delivery characteristics of their suppliers and buyers through the formation of new strategic collaborations in the Japanese marketing channel. The results of this study may provide current firms with various effective strategies that were detected from the experiences of wholesalers in Kobe and Osaka after the devastation of their distribution infrastructure by the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Wholesalers, seeking to revamp their performance, should free themselves from old bondage system, terminate relations with uncompetitive suppliers, reduce the number of keiretsu companies, streamline the supply source, and cut costs by eliminating ineffective channel members. These results are supported by the recent experiences of several Japanese firms including Nissan, the second largest company after Toyota in Japan. By opening Nissan, the traditionally closed off organization, to new collaborations, record profits were achieved when its first half operating profit rose 15.2% to 40.1 billion yen (US $3.40 billion) in 2003, and expected profits to keep rising (Kanda, 2003). Keiretsu free relationships definitely represent a clear departure from the traditional way of doing business in Japan (Rooney, 2000). Entrants into the Japanese markets may also learn few lessons from the benefits of the development of “strategic development of goods and services” outlined by this study. First, with the demise of longstanding business keiretsu relationships in Osaka and Kobe, entrants have a good opportunity to establish themselves and earn a good reputation and trustworthiness by delivering high quality goods and services in the new market. Relationships, in Japan, are built on trust, and channel members judge goods and services on the basis of companies' reputations and brand names. Entrants must keep in mind that virtually every Japanese manufacturing firm produces goods with zero defects, and channel members expect that quality in every good and service. Second, entrants must join alliances that are competitive and effective and are structured with the focus in mind in assisting entrants deal with the complexities of the Japanese market and distribution systems. Third, entrants must adapt to the practices of the prevailing local environmental conditions by accommodating the various needs and developing personal, agreeable, and long-lasting relationships with other channel members, customers, and employees. To maintain strong relationships, entrants may also consider involvement, commitment and patience as benchmarks for success in working with the Japanese. Establishing and enhancing an “operative logistics management” in Japan may also have several advantages. First, entrants with established distribution facilities in Japan are close to other channel members and to customers, which assist them understand their customers' needs, become more responsive, and deliver goods on the right time and in the right place to satisfy such needs. Second, establishing “operative logistics management” including state-of-the-art logistics facilities in Japan assists a firm to develop flexible structures and operating systems, focus on enhancing communication among channel members, and is an evident indication of a firm's commitment to quality and service. If an entrant does not have an established operative logistics management structure, it is difficult for this entrant to create credibility and loyalty with other channel members and customers. Entrants may conclude from the results of this study that Japan is not suddenly an easy market to enter, but distribution and relationships among channel members are becoming less of a barrier. To cope with the new environment and establish an important sustainable competitive advantage, entrants in Japan may undertake extensive market research, analyze how the Japanese new marketing channels work, understand the role of Japan's tradition-bound culture in business interactions and develop flexible and strong relationships, and focus on improving communications and meeting emerging needs of channel members. Although the present exploratory study identified crucial elements that contributed to the performance of the wholesaler associated with the new collaborations in the Japanese marketing channel, none of the coefficients of determination were particularly high. Apparently, there was an ample deal of variation in wholesalers' perceptions toward improving their performances that this research did not explain. Future researchers are encouraged to identify other factors that might explain more of the observed variations in wholesalers' perceptions toward performance.