PROJECT TOPIC:EVALUATION OF THE ROLES OF MIDDLEMEN IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF CONSUMERS GOODS
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the Nigeria market, many producers do not sell their products directly to the final consumers, normally we see the consumers performing one task or the other.
Busch and Houston propounded the gap theory. The gap theory is of the premise that marketing need not exist until a social economy reaches the point where the producers of economic goods are not the consumers of same. This situation creates a separation a gap. Anyanwu (2000. 26). For this gap to be bridged there must be intermediaries or middlemen like the wholesales, retailers, merchant middlemen, Agent middlemen, commissioned and non commissioned agent etc.
These people buy from the producers and resale or make it available to the consumers/users.
Marketing intermediaries (middlemen) are indispensable in the distribution of consumer goods and services.
People may ask why marketing intermediaries are used, “Why do producers give the selling jobs to intermediaries? Why don’t they distribute these goods themselves?, because giving the rights to middlemen means giving up some control over how and whom the products are sold to. According to Kotler (1998:358) “The use of intermediaries results from their greater efficiency in making goods available to target markets, though their contacts, experience, specialization and scale of operation usually offer the form and consumers more than it can achieve on its own” but with a price.
Many allegations have been leveled against the middlemen/marketing intermediaries, for raising price of consumer goods and creating artificial scarcity. Some commodities like: beans, rice, Garri, kerosene etc due to they can be stored or preserved have been made scarce artificially and it has attributed to the unethical activity of some middlemen, consumers have associated the adulteration of goods to middlemen, some also argue that middle men do not create time utility, that they are exploitative, they unnecessarily increase the price of products.
Production department is responsible for producing the product (form utility) then marketing comes to stage to make the product available to the consuming public through physical distribution (possession, place and time utility). This study is to find out whether the role of middlemen is important to the consumers and the firms or not.
Inyanga (1998: 423) attributed the raise in the cist of moving goods to consumers to the use too many channel members. There are too many actors in the physical distribution of consumer goods, before goods can get to the consumers it must have passed too many middlemen and all of them would wants to make profit, by the time the final consumer buys, the price has soared to an unbearable height.
It is on the bases of these allegation that Daodu (1984:18) referred to the Nigerian middlemen as robbers and social Cankerworms who take undue advantage of their strategic positions to control the channels of distribution to exploit both consumers and producers.
EVALUATION OF THE ROLES OF MIDDLEMEN IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF CONSUMERS GOODS
However, the question is, are these allegations true? If yes, should the middlemen be eliminated? If not what should be done by the consumers and the producers to put a stop to those exploitation and unethical behaviour of the middlemen in the distribution of consumers goods in Enugu metropolis and find a lasting solution to the problems of artificial scarcity and high price of consumer goods
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:
One thing is to produce goods and quite another to make the goods available to the ultimate consumers. It is known that production is not yet complete until the goods produced reaches the final consumers for production to get to the ultimate buyers the firm or producers engages the services of the middlemen. The middlemen helps in making goods available as at when needed and always. The middlemen make sure that the goods are delivered at the right time, place, condition, and at a comfortable price.
In their bid (middlemen) to discharge this duties or function; have encountered many problems.
There is the geographical or spatial gap. This is caused by the distance between the producers and consumers; that is from the places of production to the places of consumption.
There is the places information separation gap. This problem arises because consumers do not automatically know about the existence of goods and the reason why they should buy it.
There is the time separation: occurs because there is usually a time lag between the production of goods and the consumption of such goods. Under this time lag there is artificial scarcity. All this problems and gap must be bridged.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
This research was carried out to find solutions to problems associated with the role middlemen play in distributing consumer goods. Our goals are:
- To know the roles played by middlemen in the distribution of consumer goods.
- To ascertain if consumers are satisfied with the role of middlemen.
- To know how middlemen have contributed to the economic development of the state.
- To know whether middlemen should be eliminated or not in the distribution of consumer goods.
- To determine the major problems encountered by middlemen in the distribution of consumer goods.
- To access the progress made by middlemen in modernizing their operation.
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES:
Two hypotheses have been stated for the purpose of the researcher work. They are:
There are no significant relationship between the activities of middlemen and consumer satisfaction.
Adulteration and high price of consumer goods does not depend on the activities of the middlemen.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
Marketing will be incomplete after everything without realizing the role middlemen play in the sustained growth of the economy and improvement of standard of living of the people.
This research will help the consumer in Enugu metropolis, the manufacturing firms and the entire economy of the state.
If the role middlemen play in the distribution of consumer goods will be appreciated, it will go a long way in improving the standard of living of the people, the firm and the middlemen themselves even Enugu and Nigeria as a whole will be a better place to live in.
Industries revenue will be improved since more customers will be discovered in the target Market at the long run. It will boast the revenue of the state.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Consumer goods: Goods destined for use by ultimate consumers or households and in such form that they can be used without commercial processing.
Physical distribution: The management of the movement and handling of goods from the point of production to the point of consumption or use.
Channel of distribution: The structure of intra company organization units and extra company agents and dealers, wholesale and retail, through which a commodity, product or service is marketed.
Middlemen: A business concern that specializes in performing operations or rendering services directly involved in the purchase and/or sale of goods in the process of their flow from producer to consumer. They are also known as intermediaries.
Utility: The satisfaction derived when a particular product is being consumed.
Adulteration: This is the creation of a fake or counterfeit of the original product either offering it as a whole fake or mixing the fake with the original product.
EVALUATION OF THE ROLES OF MIDDLEMEN IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF CONSUMERS GOODS