By David Frederick Ross (auth.)

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Schonberger, Building a Chain of Customers. New York: The Free Press, 1990, pp. 18-22. 26. Richard J. Schonberger, Building a Chain of Customers. New York: The Free Press, 1990, p. 23. 2 The Distribution Management Environment Although the components of modem materials and physical distribution management are comparatively easy to define, pinpointing exactly which companies are distributors and which are not is a much more difficult task. The definition of what constitutes a distributor encompasses such a wide range of businesses and marketing permutations that the ultimate results cannot help but to be so all encompassing that they can be somewhat ambiguous.

In the past, information flows were restricted by the structures of stage 1 through stage 3 distribution organizations. In such organizations, information was passed serially from department to department with each business unit abstracting and summarizing the information they needed to execute isolated area functions. The architecture of today's channel network and the growth of virtual operational teams to manage the quick response needs of the global marketplace have changed this traditional view of information.

The realization on the part of the rest of the organization that if logistics is to provide "order-winning" capabilities it must be accorded a key strategic place in the firm. 3. The development of long-term strategic plans in which logistics is accorded a key role in the realization of enterprise objectives. This point can only be actualized when the firm considers logistics as a fundamental source of competitive advantage by itself as well as being pivotal to the success of other business functions.

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