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Contract Practices & Routes To Market

April 27, 2012

My early career in contracts and commercial management included extensive involvement in channel management. In the automotive industry, distribution was primarily through agents or distributors. When I joined the technology sector, third-party engagement was just beginning, but within a few years there was a wide array of routes ot market – agents, remarketers, value added resellers, systems integrators, wholesalers, retailers, distributors …..

I have always found this area of contracting of particular interest. The balancing between channels, the creation of effective incentives, compliance with regulation, understanding of the different protections that apply between channels and between countries – all are examples of the complex environment that must be managed.

Questions from competition authorities about the effect of channel relationships arise on a periodic basis. In recent times, it has more often been the European Commission driving investigations, but now the US authorities have launched action regarding the pricing of e-books. The ‘Knowledge at Wharton’ newsletter carries an article that will interest many contracts professionals – and I hope encourage others to develop their expertise in this field. It is one that I believe will become of greater importance over the coming years, as businesses everywhere form new partnerships and alliances and seek fresh ways to reach markets and customers.

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