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Paper info: The connection of knowledge in a network distribution perspective.MC Elettrici and Farmintesa.


The connection of knowledge in a network distribution perspective.MC Elettrici and Farmintesa.


Chiara Cantu
Catholic University
Chiara Cantu , Francesca Montagnini and
Roberta Sebastiani
Catholic University
Roberta Sebastiani

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.


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Recently Business to Business distribution has been undergoing a process of significant evolution.Formerly distributors were considered as passive collectors of orders. Today distributors are more and more perceived by their customers as partners in purchases. This new role presupposes increasing investments in knowledge about the offering systems they intermediate in order to improve quality and reduce costs for the end-users, through the intermediation activities. The interconnection of firms' activities generates, and is increased by, interconnected relationships that outline the network approach within the supply chain.The key role of relationship has been developing in the system evolution, from closed to open systems. In this context the evolution from "distribution channel" perspective to "network" cooperation in the downstream side of the supply chain has taken place. The distribution channel is responsible for serving customers with flow of all information concerning products and services. The expanding of customer requirements generates new channel opportunities also for B2B distributors, calling for an increasing customer orientation ofthe supply chain as a whole. In this perspective, integration is an important process of evolution towards a logic of "supply chain networks", that actually means atransformation from loose cooperation to a higher level of internal fit (Ford et al. 1998). The next step that B2B distributors are facing is represented by the development of a service-centered supply chain management based on the network approach in order to increase the offering system value and the efficiency and the effectiveness of the chain.The objective of this work is to investigate the strategic and organizational network perspective that characterizes this evolutionary process of B2B distribution, considering the interconnections with the newmanagerial approach based on value co-creation. The empirical section of the paper is based on the analysis of two cases: MC Elettrici and Farmintesa