Case Detail

Case Summary

Rockwell Automation: The Channel Challenge

Case Number: 5-104-039, Year Published: 2004

HBS Number: KEL163

Request PreviewBuy

Authors: Mohanbir Sawhney; Michael Biddlecom; Robert Day; Patricia Franke; John Lee-Tin; Robert Leonard; Brian Poger

Key Concepts

Channel Design, e-Channels, e-Business, Business-to-Business Markets, Channel Conflict, Industrial Automation, Online Channels


Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley division was considering how to deal with the threat posed by national distributors in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business for its industrial automation products. National distributors were consolidating the MRO distribution channel, offering national account customers an integrated multi-channel solution for their MRO needs. Allen-Bradley had traditionally served its customers through high-touch, high-value-added local distributors, but this channel was inadequate for the demands of large MRO customers. An effort by Allen-Bradley and other manufacturers to create an industry-wide electronic sourcing consortium called had failed. Now, the company had to choose between redesigning its traditional channel by creating a virtual network of local distributors, striking an alliance with a national distributor, or withdrawing from the MRO market. It had to contend with difficult channel conflict issues in choosing a channel strategy.

Number of Pages: 21

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Industry: Industrial Automation

Organization Name: Rockwell International

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Vice President of Global & Strategic Market Access

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2001