This case examines the interplay between Sullair, an air compressor manufacturer, and its channel of distribution. Unlike the two market leaders, Sullair has chosen not to compete with its distributors and offers them exclusive territories so as to minimize any intra-brand competition. The tension in the case is to understand the quid pro quo between Sullair and its channel. One would expect that, in exchange for exclusivity, the channel would recognize that it must allow Sullair some degree of input into certain decisions that have traditionally been controlled by the channel. The case traces the decisions that Sullair must consider in its attempt to gain more influence over the actions of its channel partners, who are seen as an extension of the Sullair sales force.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia