Case | HBS Case Collection | June 1995

Polaroid Corporation: European Distribution System

by Janice H. Hammond and Afroze A Mohammed

Abstract

Describes distribution operations in Polaroid Europe. In the late 1980s, Polaroid senior management in the United States proposed moving from a system of 12 decentralized warehouses to a centralized distribution system in which all inventory for European retailers would be held in Polaroid's Dutch distribution center. Most subsidiary general managers opposed the proposal, as did Polaroid's European marketing organization. Describes several distribution alternatives Polaroid considered in 1990 including: 1) direct distribution to retailers through Europe from the Dutch distribution center, 2) hiring a third-party logistics organization to take over all of Polaroid's European distribution activities, and 3) establishing regional satellite distribution centers. Provides an overview of changes in the European retailing and distribution industries at the beginning of the 1990s, with a specific focus on the diverse service expectations of retailers in different European countries and of different retail segments.

Keywords: Distribution; Operations; Risk Management; Distribution Channels; Logistics; Transition; Strategy; Problems and Challenges; Industry Structures; Consumer Products Industry; Europe; European Union; United States;

Citation:

Hammond, Janice H., and Afroze A Mohammed. "Polaroid Corporation: European Distribution System." Harvard Business School Case 695-038, June 1995.