Exploring strategies of distribution networks in an emerging market

Industrial issues

With the rise of interest in supply chain management, many managers have started to consider various possibilities of aligning strategies of different firms together. One of the main reasons is to take advantage from utilising outside resources without owning them. The main focus of this research is to investigate under what circumstances and to what extent these alignments of strategies are possible and effective.


There has been limited research to explore how strategies of firms are linked to each other (alignment, dis -alignment, and multi-alignment) within a distribution network. Detailed processes and resulting outputs of these strategy linkages are not well understood. Thus, managers need a framework to understand this situation and a tool to monitor it.



  • To explore and understand the inter-linking/interplay of strategies (objectives and decisions) of firms within a distribution network.
  • To build a framework of ‘distribution network strategy’ that can capture the above findings base on real industry case studies in an emerging market.
  • To develop a tool, based on the framework, to help companies understand and develop distribution network strategies.
  • To validate and refine the framework and tool through longitudinal case studies.


Research Approach

The research was divided into three stages: the development of a conceptual framework, the development of preliminary framework and tool, and the validation/refinement of the preliminary framework and tool. An in-depth case study approach was followed, using a specific data collection method adopted from Cambridge strategy charting technique. Three distribution networks were visited. They are representing three industrial sectors. Data was used to develop the framework and tool.



  • A framework that captures relevant strategy elements and their interactions within a distribution network.
  • A tool that assists managers visualise strategy deployment patterns of firms within a distribution network.
  • A proposed specific research method to guide similar work in the future.


Federation of Manufacturing ,Malaysia

Universiti Putra Malaysia



Choy Leong Yee

Ken Platts

Kim Hua Tan

Share This