Industrialisation and the Distributive Trade
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When one talks about commerce and industry it is usually in terms of completely separate entities. Over a period of time we have come to accept that the two have almost conflicting interests, and this image is reinforced by their representation by separate associations. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. We define distribution as “the service of making available to users or consumers the goods required by them, at convenient places, at the times when they are required, in acceptable quantities and in the desired range of choice”. It will be apparent from the definition that manufacturing is really just one of the chain of activities labelled “distribution”. It performs a function not fundamentally different to that of transport or storage. The chain is an organic whole, interdependent and interwoven in its activities. Nothing better illustrates the point than the activities of manufacturers themselves. There can be few for whom a major part of their activities are not concerned with the distributive sector, and in many cases, manufacture is only one of the links in a distribution chain, leading from raw materials to retailing, carried out by one company. I have felt it necessary to dwell on defining distribution in a little detail mainly to indicate to manufacturers that organised commerce feels we are all on the same side of the fence. Criticism must be directed at manufacturers as part of the distributive sector, rather than as a separate industry who must find their own salvation.