An evaluation of oxygen gas distribution channel strategies in Zimbabwe: A case of Verify Engineering
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The general conclusion from literature on distribution channel strategies which is focusing mainly on logistics activities showed that logistics strategies have become an important and necessary concept in today’s business world., and due to the importance of repeat business, it was particularly important for any kind of business especially in the oxygen sector, to focus on longer-term relationships with its customers through a reputable channel of distribution. However, this literature has been confined to other parts of the world; hence the aim of this research was to attempt to fill the research gap by evaluating oxygen gas distribution channel strategies in Zimbabwe. The research information and its application were aimed at benefiting the corporate world, the country and academic community. This research was based on a single case study design of Verify Engineering (Pvt) ltd (VE). Empirical data was obtained through face-to-face interviews with senior managers at the strategic and operational levels of the organization. The respondents were the Chief Executive Officer, General Manager Finance & Administration, Logistics & Supply Chain Manager, the Distribution Officer and the Procurement Managers of top five oxygen customers’. Unstructured questions were used for gathering in-depth information from the respondents. A qualitative research philosophy was used and the data gathered was analysed through Data Displays in the form of content analytic summary tables. The study found that distribution channel strategies had major impact on the organizational performance at VE. The organization was not benefiting on the distribution channel strategy it had adopted because the distribution company was controlling the product price VE was producing, also the importance of VE oxygen product in the market was compromised by the distributor since the distributor was not giving it full attention, also there were issues of product demand requirement being unsatisfactory, time scheduling conflict and product variances due to coordination problems with the distribution company. In view of these findings this study recommends that VE and the distribution company management personnel to constantly meet and address problems emanating, and also a recommendation was made for VE to adopt direct marking strategy since most oxygen consumers were not satisfied with present distribution company VE was using.