Industrial distributor's service strategy - Nordic market perspective

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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International Business
Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta
Degree programme
This study discusses industrial distributors and their service strategies. Previous research has established the need for industrial distributor's to offer fee-based services, but there is a research gap regarding more detailed information on industrial distributor's service strategy. Two research questions were set to structure the study: (1) Is there a market for industrial distributor's services?, and (2) What kind of service strategy could be applicable in the market for industrial distributors' services? The nature of this study is qualitative and the research methods are three-fold. First, a literature review, and second, a case study of a Nordic large scale industrial distributor, that sets the context for the primary data. Third, primary data is collected in the form of process descriptions that reveal information about the Nordic market for industrial distributors. The literature is discussed and analyzed and further reflected with the primary data and empirical evidence from the case study. As a result of the analysis the Service strategy framework is presented. The framework identifies three different service types for industrial distributors and elaborates on their characteristics and implications. The framework is intended to present the results and to act as a managerial tool. The three different service types identified are: (1) Customer service, (2) Product service, and (3) Process service. This study establishes that there is a market for industrial distributor's services. Previous re-search on industrial distributors' service strategy was quite scattered and sparse; this study brings it together by identifying the main themes and filling the gaps from interdisciplinary studies. The results of this study are presented largely as managerial implications regarding industrial distributor's service strategy and are summarized as following suggestions: • Have a strategy • Co-ordinate the management of services • Consider the global-local positioning of the services • Incorporate voice of the customer • Note the differences between service types • Charge for services when appropriate The case study provides evidence that the Nordic market for industrial distributors functions similarly to the international market. The case study revealed also little variation between the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, and Norway) in the way the industrial distributor operated This would seem to strengthen the viability of a single service strategy for all countries studied.
industrial distribution, wholesale, product centric business, services, service strategy
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