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OF PHYSICAL DISTRIBUTION SERVICE: 
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE GROCERY INDUSTRY, 
RETAILERS AND WHOLESALERS 
 
Abstract 
The objective of this paper is to present the results of research developed to determine the 
quality of physical distribution services offered by the grocery industry as perceived by 
retailers and wholesalers. A methodology was developed in order to measure the service 
quality, which was applied at two different moments: soon after the implementation, in 1994, 
of the Brazilian economic plan called the “Plano Real”, and at the end of 1995. The results 
show great changes in the market behavior over the time interval between the two phases of 
the research. The results also show customer service as a purchasing variable that is 
increasing in importance. Retailers and wholesalers are raising their service requirements as 
suppliers are decreasing their service quality level. As a result, the percentage of unsatisfied 
client firms substantially increased from June 1994 to December 1995. 
 
Key words: customer service, physical distribution, channel relationship.