FMCG Distribution Channels in India: Challenges and
    Opportunities for Manufacturers and Retailers
      Debi P. Mishra...
the regulatory environment on the FMCG indus-           sustain his family on a wage of less than one dol-
try in India. T...
spoken in India. English, a legacy of the British                   Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
rule, re...
poor. In some south Indian states like Kerala
and Andhra Pradesh there are many remote vil-                  Using the tax...
manufacturer and remit proceeds to the gov-             and is better positioned to negotiate with mod-
ernment. The CFA’s...
The company had to close down its stores in             average person in rural India still earns less than
many states gi...
fair prices for their product. They are often                            Conclusion
caught in an antiquated procurement sy...
tain number of months. Every month, one per-                Johnson, Joseph. and Gerald J. Tellis (2008), “Drivers of
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  1. 1. FMCG Distribution Channels in India: Challenges and Opportunities for Manufacturers and Retailers Debi P. Mishra, School of Management-State University of New York, Binghamton NY 13902 ABSTRACT India’s economy is projected to grow at a fast clip over the next few years. With increasing purchasing power and a rising middle class, the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is posed to grow dramatically. To leverage opportunities, FMCG manufacturers and retailers will have to develop and implement deliberate strategies for gaining market access. This paper provides an in-depth look at the strategic role of distribution channels in the FMCG industry. Specifically, it surveys the state of current distribution channels in India and identifies four archetypes that FMCG firms can use as a starting point to develop their distribution strategy. With a population in excess of 1 billion and single brand retailers (Lakshman 2007). current annual GDP growth of 9% (Vietor and Consequently, firms scampered for upscale retail Thompson 2007), India is a major player in the space in a hypercompetitive real estate market world economy. Not surprisingly, by 2050 the while domestic manufacturers faced a multitude country is projected to become the third largest of challenges in the areas of new product economy after China and the United States introduction, line stretching, and branding. (Hawksworth 2006). India’s economic prowess is being driven by the purchasing power of a Given the importance of distribution chan- burgeoning middle class as wealth steadily trick- nels to the Indian economy, one would expect a les down to the bottom of the economic pyramid. considerable body of relevant academic research Given this brisk growth, domestic industries are to be readily available. However, a careful ap- in a race against time to ramp up capacity, in- praisal of extant research belies this expectation. crease production, and achieve market access via While India has garnered much attention, the channels of distribution. One sector that is ex- focus has primarily been on general topics per- pected to bear the brunt of this demand is the taining to the socio-economic, political, and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry business environments (Basu 2008; Khanna with retail sales expected to top $40 billion by 2008; Vietor and Thompson 2007). In recent 2015 (India Brand Equity Foundation 2008). years, the emphasis has shifted to include re- FMCG’s encompass a wide range of products search on other topics like entry modes (John- such as toiletries, soap, cosmetics, toothpaste, son and Tellis 2008), and outsourcing (Marshall shaving cream, and detergents (Coulthart 2002). However, there remains a paucity of sys- 2006). Multinationals with a significant FMCG tematic work on the impact of distribution on presence in India are Unilever, Procter and the Indian economy in general and the FMCG Gamble, Nestlé, and Cadbury. industry in particular. Despite its potential, the FMCG industry This study attempts to bridge the gap in our faces several significant marketing constraints. understanding of FMCG distribution channels in First, manufacturers and retailers have to India. More specifically, the objectives of this grapple with fragmented markets and a plethora research are: a) to appraise distribution channel of channel forms in a constant state of flux. In structure and management challenges for FMCG particular, numerous street-side vendors, products, b) to delineate variations in channel hawkers, and roughly 12 million unregulated forms across markets, and c) to outline the stra- neighborhood mom-and-pop or kirana stores tegic role of FMCG distribution channels in gain- create strong institutional forces that cannot be ing market access and achieving competitive ignored. Second, frequent regulatory changes advantage. affect channel structure and exacerbate adaptation challenges. For example, in 2006 the The paper is organized in the following government allowed direct foreign entry by manner. First, I discuss the impact of changes in The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2 175
  2. 2. the regulatory environment on the FMCG indus- sustain his family on a wage of less than one dol- try in India. The next section assesses the het- lar a day. Given the lack of roads and viable erogeneous nature of supply and demand by out- means of transportation, FMCG firms had to lining and discussing a framework for classifying navigate through a labyrinthine maze of frag- consumer markets given myriad market varia- mented, improvised, long, and inefficient chan- tions. This is followed by a discussion of specific nels for gaining access to rural markets. To channel archetypes that collectively describe overcome infrastructure bottlenecks, a multitude variations in channel forms across markets. of regional manufacturers serving a narrow geo- This section also describes the marketing impli- graphical market cropped up. The mushroom- cations of channel archetypes for FMCG manu- ing of local production and ensuing brand clutter facturers and retailers. I conclude by highlight- created differentiation challenges for national ing the contribution of this study to marketing firms which were further exacerbated by wide- practice. spread production and marketing of copycat products and fake brands. The Regulatory Environment In contrast to rural areas, urban markets India gained independence from the British with well developed distribution channels offer in 1947 and decided to create an egalitarian soci- relatively seamless market access to FMCG ety by adopting the Soviet model of centralized firms. For the most part, these channels are the economic planning. The hallmarks of this com- ubiquitous small kirana or mom and pop stores mand and control economy were: a) the primacy employing fewer than four people and selling a of the public sector or government enterprises in narrow range of products. Customers value core sectors, b) import substitution and protec- these outlets because of their convenient loca- tion of domestic firms, and c) tighter control of tion within walking distance of home or work, economic activity via a license and permit re- free home delivery, familiarity, and the provision gime. Over time, this system engendered a co- of credit. In recent years, with economic liber- lossal, insular, and highly inefficient bureauc- alization, private firms such as Big Bazaar, Sub- racy, which could not replicate the free market. hiksha, Reliance Fresh and Vishal Mega Mart, all For example, political considerations forced bu- employing western style retailing formats have reaucrats to subsidize and administer prices in entered urban markets in a major way. Of late, key infrastructure industries such as construc- the rate of growth of western style retailing out- tion, electricity, and water thereby discouraging lets has accelerated with the Indian government private investment. Not surprisingly, overall paving the way for foreign direct investment in economic growth stalled, the rich-poor chasm shopping malls and warehouses (Baijal and worsened, and the government faced a severe Mardsen 2005). Kirana stores, fearing a direct balance-of-payment crisis in 1991 with foreign threat to their livelihood have secured the back- reserves enough to last just two weeks. At the ing of trade unions and rabble-rousing politi- behest of the International Monetary Fund, the cians to stage massive protests against organized government ushered in economic reforms by retail (Lakshman 2007). Realizing the oppor- opening up the economy to foreign and domestic tunity to benefit from a captive and disgruntled private investment. As reforms accelerated, vote-bank, some political parties have promised multinational firms such as Procter and Gamble to change laws favoring organized retail. The entered the FMCG market. At the same time, a present government is treading gingerly on this number of domestic retailers such as Pantaloon issue and as a sop to kirana stores has allowed and Reliance opened up western style retail only single brand retailers to enter the country, channels in the major urban centers of the coun- which in effect has locked out behemoths like try. Wal-Mart and Carrefour from the market. Almost three fourths of India’s population or Classifying Consumer Markets in India approximately 700 million people live in rural areas (Rangan and Rajan, 2006), which lack ba- The task of classifying the consumer market sic infrastructure such as roads, transportation, in India into a meaningful and useful taxonomy electricity, water, health, and education. Under is challenging given the perplexing linguistic, centralized planning the rural population lan- cultural, political, geographical, and economic guished at the bottom of the economic ladder diversity of the country. Unlike China, where with meager discretionary purchasing power. Mandarin is the main language, there are sixteen For decades, the average rural person had to official languages and more than 500 dialects 176 The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2
  3. 3. spoken in India. English, a legacy of the British Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule, remains a link language and the major still exist, they have to rely on support from sev- means of communication in government, com- eral smaller parties to remain in power. A direct merce, and law. Hinduism, with a pantheon of consequence of these fluid political alliances is gods at its core is the dominant faith. However, that businesses have to contend with federal and in practice, numerous variations of gods, god- state laws that are in a constant state of flux. desses, deities, temples, and an almost endless potpourri of festivals, beliefs, rituals, and cus- Given environmental diversity and its im- toms characterize the religious milieu. India is a pact on consumer supply and demand, develop- federation of states with the federal government ing a parsimonious taxonomy involving multiple in charge of significant national matters like cur- dimensions such as religion, culture, etc. will rency, defense and foreign affairs. The Congress become a complex undertaking. However, recall party, which was at the vanguard of India’s free- from an earlier discussion that the main conse- dom movement, ruled the country for more than quences of inefficient central control have been four decades after India gained independence lack of infrastructure and uneven economic from the British in 1947. The party was wedded growth. Translated to the present context, the to socialism and state control of the economy major implications for the FMCG industry are: i) and during its rule, private business could not a lack of infrastructure and the means to access thrive. Today there are hundreds of political far-flung rural markets, and b) the yawning gap parties split along narrow caste, geographic, in purchasing power between the rich and poor. economic, and religious lines, which clutter the The taxonomy is presented in Figure 1. political scene. While national parties like the Per-capita demand Low High Easy Cell 2, Emerging Cell 1, Urban and market semi-urban market • Channel archetype A2 • Channel archetypes A, A1 Market Access Cell 3, Bottom of Cell 4, Oasis mar- the pyramid (BOP) ket Difficult market • Channel archetype B • Channel archetype A3 Figure 1. A taxonomy of consumer markets in India As depicted in Figure 1, FMCG firms face age of Delhi that supplied cheap migrant labor to challenges in accessing markets with different nearby farms and cities. Over time, Gurgaon has degrees of economic potential. In cell 1, firms grown into a booming metropolis with a prolif- cater to markets with reasonably high purchas- eration of shopping malls, call centers, and ing power and consumer demand. These urban modern retail stores. Cell 3 represents a sizeable and semi-urban markets also have access to rela- portion of the country’s rural ‘bottom of the tively efficient channels of distribution. Emerg- pyramid’ (BOP) population without access to ing markets depicted in cell 2 provide easy mar- roads and infrastructure. While per capita de- ket access but the purchasing power of consum- mand is low, the sheer size of this market esti- ers is low. These markets are satellite towns and mated at between 250 million and 300 million cities, which develop gradually around a major people offers tremendous business potential. metropolitan area. For example, the town of Finally, cell 4 is an oasis market where purchas- Gurgaon in the state of Haryana was an append- ing power is relatively high but market access is The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2 177
  4. 4. poor. In some south Indian states like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh there are many remote vil- Using the taxonomy of Figure 1 as a starting lages with high purchasing power due to cur- point, in the next section I describe the distribu- rency remittances by large groups of expatriate tion channel archetype in each cell labeled as A, Indians working in Middle Eastern countries. A1, A2, A3, and B. I provide a discussion of each Despite the economic bonanza, these villages channel archetype follwed by implications for lack proper roads and infrastructure. FMCG manufacturers and retailers. Figure 2. Channel Archetypes in the Indian FMCG Industry branded variants or SKU’s (stock keeping units) Distribution Channel Archetypes creates the potential for inefficiencies such as brand dilution and contamination. In most Channel Archetypes A, A1 firms, the profit center is responsible for brand management decisions involving resource allo- Most large Indian FMCG firms are organ- cation, product improvement, new product in- ized around profit centers comprising groups of troduction, line stretching, and market share brands belonging to related product lines. Over growth. As an organizational unit, a firm’s profit time, incumbent firms have reacted to competi- center also makes decisions in the area of sales tive pressures by stretching their existing brands promotion, distribution channels, advertising, and creating numerous variants. In the absence and pricing. of proper management, the sheer number of Archetype A in Figure 2 is the most common ing agents (CFA) located in each state. CFA’s are channel structure in urban and semi-urban mar- atypical channel members since they do not take kets. Typically, firms ship products from their title to goods and are not customers of the firm. manufacturing facilities to carrying and forward- On the other hand, CFA’s collect taxes from the 178 The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2
  5. 5. manufacturer and remit proceeds to the gov- and is better positioned to negotiate with mod- ernment. The CFA’s charge a small fee to firms ern chain retailers. The solid lines in Figure 2 and dispatch products to redistribution stockists denote how FMCG firms may reorganize their or wholesalers located in different parts of a profit centers and sales teams to meet the needs state. Wholesalers, in turn, ship products to of modern organized retailers. It is important to numerous retail or neighborhood kirana stores note that creating new sales teams across multi- which serve end customers. ple profit centers is not an easy task. First, or- ganized retailers are more powerful vis-à-vis In recent years the advent of modern retail- smaller wholesalers. Salespeople who have pre- ing formats and chain stores has led to variation viously dealt with smaller and less powerful in this channel as depicted in archetype A1 of wholesalers face steep learning hurdles and ad- Figure 2. Specifically, in urban markets whole- aptation challenges in dealing with organized salers have to sell products to chains which use retailers. Second, firms have to develop appro- central ordering and processing systems. Small priate incentive and monitoring schemes to en- wholesalers often lack the capacity to meet the sure that members of a team work towards a demand of large retail chains. In such situa- common goal instead of maximizing the objec- tions, firms augment the channel effort by using tives of an individual profit center. additional mechanisms for satisfying the needs of large retailers. The main challenge for modern FMCG re- tailers is to position their offering as a superior The advent of modern retailing in urban and alternative to the neighborhood kirana store semi urban areas has significantly altered the that has historically offered a familiar and con- marketing approaches of FMCG firms. In the venient shopping option to customers. Custom- conventional archetype A channel form, sales ers in India are often skeptical of large retail teams dedicated to individual profit centers call stores and feel that they have to pay a high price on wholesalers and carry out important channel at modern stores. To overcome such negative functions such as negotiating terms of trade, perceptions, modern stores such as Big Bazaar fulfilling demand, obtaining customer feedback, have developed creative ways of signaling value etc. Since each profit center is responsible for its to customers (Raman and Winig 2006). For ex- own set of brands, different sales teams belong- ample, to create a familiar shopping environ- ing to different profit centers may call on the ment, Big Bazaar’s store layout mimicked the same wholesaler. Firms have realized that in- chaos of a traditional bazaar. The store also stead of duplication and dilution of sales effort, prominently advertised trade-ins whereby cus- such a multi-pronged approach preserves brand tomers could bring their old merchandise and equity and leads to superior channel outcomes. exchange them for store coupons. Finally, the company successfully organized ‘Big Day’ sales While dealing with wholesalers via multiple around the time of local religious festivals when sales teams works well in archetype A, such an customers typically go on a shopping spree. All approach has severe limitations when FMCG these efforts have paid off handsomely and today firms deal with modern retail chains. This is Big Bazaar is one of the fastest growing retail because individual stores belonging to a chain chains in India. rarely negotiate terms of trade directly with a FMCG manufacturer. On the other hand, most Although Big Bazaar has been relatively suc- buying decisions are made by a centralized pro- cessful in weaning customers away from kirana curement and purchasing department. Deploy- stores, other retailers have stumbled. For exam- ing multiple sales force teams is highly ineffec- ple, Reliance Fresh, a retail chain owned by Re- tive since each team has to individually negotiate liance Industries, a large conglomerate has faced terms of trade with the centralized purchasing stiff opposition from kirana stores and department. As such, many FMCG firms have to neighborhood retailers in many parts of the reorganize their sales force by developing nego- country. This backlash stems from Reliance’s tiating teams comprising members from differ- decision to position its stores as smaller conven- ent profit centers. Such a team can showcase the ience outlets located in far flung neighborhoods entire range of a company’s product portfolio where kirana stores are still extremely popular. The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2 179
  6. 6. The company had to close down its stores in average person in rural India still earns less than many states given protests and damage to prop- $2 per day, it is simply impossible for him to erty. In some states the company has adapted by afford bigger sized consumer products such as narrowing its product line and focusing on offer- shampoo and detergents. Hence, LPP’s repre- ings that do not substantially overlap with sented a convenient solution for the customer kirana stores. and also create huge profits in aggregate for the FMCG manufacturer. Today, Unilever’s ap- In sum, in urban markets the traditional proach has been widely copied by other firms channel archetype has undergone profound and a variety of products is sold in LPP’s. This change and the emerging structure represents packaging innovation also helps companies ac- opportunities and challenges for FMCG firms cess remote markets by overcoming transporta- and retailers alike. Although the ubiquitous tion bottlenecks. kirana store will still dominate the landscape, with the passage of time the modern retail for- Channel archetype B mat will take roots in urban areas. FMCG firms will have to undertake significant organizational Accessing the bottom of the economic pyra- changes to realize the opportunity in urban mar- mid poses considerable challenges to FMCG kets. firms and it is almost impossible to specify a widely generalizable channel archetype. In real- Channel archetypes A2, A3 ity, BOP markets are located in far flung rural areas where the average per capita income of As depicted in Figure 2, archetypes A2 and people is woefully low. Though no uniform ar- A3 are extensions of the basic channel A arche- chetype emerges in these markets, it is useful to type. Consider first the characteristics of arche- consider the approach of some companies that type A2. Here, FMCG firms assess demand in have practiced BOP marketing with varying de- low per capita markets adjacent to urban areas grees of success. and develop optimal routing schedules and journey plans for urban retail stockists. Since Unilever has launched a BOP marketing ini- the overall demand is not very high, urban stock- tiative called “Project Shakti” in the state of An- ists visit these adjacent markets relatively infre- dhra Pradesh. Essentially, the company works quently and supply products to retailers. In con- with non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) trast to A2, archetype A3 represents a channel to identify individuals who possess a strong en- form designed to serve high potential markets trepreneurial drive that will motivate them to with relatively poor market access. FMCG firms stock and sell the company’s FMCG lines to typically appoint rural wholesalers who are in other customers. Unilever ensures that these close proximity to these markets. These whole- entrepreneurs have access to credit, are trained salers solve the last mile problem by contracting in appropriate selling techniques, and can de- with individuals who carry products using local velop into economically responsible individuals. means of transport such as motorcycles, three Entrepreneurs are required to carry inventory wheelers, bicycles, bullock carts, etc. and deliver and although they are free to sell products to them to distributors in nearby villages. FMCG rural retailers, the main focus is on selling prod- firms face challenges in developing detailed ucts to fellow villagers. Since the project’s incep- stocking and replenishment plans for these tion, about 12,000 women entrepreneurs have channels given lack of access to end customers. been appointed and the company has penetrated about 50,000 rural villages (Rangan and Rajan Although the lack of viable infrastructure 2006). poses considerable challenges, some FMCG firms have developed creative product and pack- ITC, a major FMCG producer has success- age designs to penetrate rural markets. For ex- fully introduced an innovative supply chain ini- ample, Unilever has pioneered the development tiative called eChoupal designed to benefit small of low priced packets (LPPs) for a variety of farmers (Upton and Fuller, 2004). Historically, FMCG goods such as shampoos, detergent, tea, many farmers grow soybean but face insur- etc. which retail for a few cents. Given that the mountable odds in gaining market access and 180 The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2
  7. 7. fair prices for their product. They are often Conclusion caught in an antiquated procurement system involving a number of middlemen who set prices The main objective of this study has been to arbitrarily and shortchange them. With little appraise the distribution channel challenges education, many farmers accept low prices as a faced by the FMCG industry in India. This fait accompli. Against this background, ITC, analysis sheds light on the challenges and oppor- which uses soybean for its consumer products tunities for FMCG firms and retailers alike. lines decided to change the rules of the game by While the FMCG industry is well developed in ushering in an innovative direct procurement the west, in India the industry is in its incipient model. By using the Internet, the company cre- stages. To this extent, FMCG markets represent ated a transparent pricing system by providing huge opportunities for domestic and multina- farmers with real time information about world tional firms. However, market access and suc- commodity prices and fluctuations. In addition, cess is affected by several factors such as infra- farmers had access to a wide variety of informa- structure, diversity in channel forms, and tion for improving farming techniques and crop regulatory changes. By using the four channel yields. The company also undertook physical archetypes in this paper as a starting point, firms investments in rural areas by creating depots can gain a better understanding about the where farmers could bring their produce for sale. Indian FMCG industry. These depots also functioned as bidirectional channels since the company not only procured While the focus has been on the FMCG in- soybean but also sold other FMCG products dustry, several parallels can be drawn with dis- through these channels. The eChoupal model tribution challenges being faced by other indus- per se has been extremely successful and is often tries in India. For example, recently the Tata hailed as an exemplar of successful BOP market- Motor Company announced that it will produce ing. a passenger car in India called the Nano at a price of $2000. This car will be aimed primarily The Indian Postal System which operates in at the rural market. However, a main challenge excess of 150, 000 offices has an unrivalled facing the company is the lack of proper roads presence in rural areas. The system has grown for transporting the manufactured car to end by relying on private entrepreneurs who offer a markets. To overcome distribution challenges, range of postal services from their own premises the company has decided to ship the car in semi- in return for an allowance. In addition to deliv- knocked down kits that will be assembled at the ering mail, today this channel is being strategi- rural dealerships. The main implication here is cally used by private firms such as ICICI- that companies have to think creatively for over- Prudential for selling life insurance policies and coming distribution challenges and infrastruc- mutual funds. In rural areas, the postal channel ture bottlenecks. works bi-directionally in delivering mail and accepting deposits for insurance and mutual Finally, although the paper concentrates on funds. Such synergies may also be creatively one element of marketing mix, i.e., channels, in exploited by FMCG firms, which can market reality, companies have to consider and strategi- LPP’s though these channels. cally combine additional elements such as price, product design etc. into their overall marketing strategy. Consider the case of Nokia, which has more than three fourths of the market for mobile phone handsets in India. In addition to reaching rural markets creatively, Nokia also imple- mented a unique pricing structure to help people acquire handsets faster. When Nokia entered the market, the price of an average phone was $20, an amount beyond the reach of most people in rural areas. The company encouraged people to form buying groups where individuals would contribute a fixed amount every month for a cer- The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2 181
  8. 8. tain number of months. Every month, one per- Johnson, Joseph. and Gerald J. Tellis (2008), “Drivers of Success for Market Entry into China and India”, son in the group would get a new phone by lot- Journal of Marketing, 72 (May), 1-13. tery. In the end, after a certain period of time Khanna, Tarun (2008), Billions of Entrepreneurs: How every person would end up getting a new phone. China and India are Reshaping their Futures and Hence, although everybody would end up con- Yours, Boston: Harvard Business Shool Publish- ing. tributing the same amount of money, the prob- Lakshman, Nandini (2007), “Protesters Tell Wal-Mart to ability of getting a new phone would be higher Quit India,” Business Week, October 12. Accessed on average. online at: ntent/oct2007/gb20071011_524356.htm References Marshall, Paul (2002), “Tracmail”, Harvard Business School Case No:9-801-037. Boston: Harvard Business Baijal, Rahul and Matt Marsden (2005), “Jumbo Retail: School Publishing. Organized Retailing in India Gets Hyper”, Con- Raman, Ananth. And Laura Winig (2006), “Big Bazaar”, sumer Brands and Retail, HSBC Global Research, Harvard Business School case No 9-606-099. May. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing. Basu, Kaushik (2008), “The Enigma of India,” Journal of Rangan, V. Kasturi, and Rohithari Rajan (2006), “Unilever Economic Literature, 46 (2), June, 396-406. in India: Hindustan lever’s Project Shakti— Coulthart (2006). “Fast Moving Consumer Goods”, US Marketing FMCG to the Rural Consumer”, Har- Department of Commerce. vard Business School Case No 9-505-056. Boston: Hawksworth, John (2006), The World in 2050: How Big Harvard Business School Publishing. Will the Major Emerging Market Economies Get Upton, David M. and Virginia Fuller (2004), “The ITC and How Can the OECD Compete? New York: eChoupal Initiative”, Harvard Business School PricewaterhouseCoopers. case No 9-604-016. Boston: Harvard Business India Brand Equity Foundation (2008), “Consumer Mar- School Publishing. kets”, Vietor, Richard H. and Emily J. Thompson (2007), “India on the Move”, Harvard Business School Case No: 9- spx. 703-050. Boston: Harvard Business School Pub- lishing. Debi P. Mishra is associate professor of marketing at the State University of New York (SUNY) and Professorial Fellow of marketing at the Melbourne Business School. His research and teaching and interests are in the areas of marketing strategy, channels of distribution, and product management. His PhD dissertation won the top prize from the Academy of Marketing Science, the Society for Marketing Advances, and the Richard D. Irwin Founda- tion. His research has been widely published and recognized with several best paper awards from organizations like the American Marketing Association, the Society for Marketing Advances, and the American Association for Advances in Health Care. He has won several teaching awards including the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at SUNY. Debi has lectured at a number of universities worldwide and has consulted with several Fortune 500 companies. 182 The Journal of Global Business Issues – Volume 2 Issue 2