The nature of Thomson Consumer Electronics' products has changed dramatically in the last few years to largescreen, high-value, damage-sensitive units. In addition, customer demands and buying habits have changed, including increased purchasing through catalogs and by Internet. Plus, the company has seen an increase in the number of internal plans with retailers designed to keep big, bulky inventories off retail floor spaces.
As a result, the company's conventional distribution patterns have changed as more product moves directly to the ultimate consumers.
As Laura Berndt, Thomson's manager of transportation in the Americas, explained, the need for "white-glove" delivery came about because of customer requests as television sets became bigger and heavier and were purchased by older, affluent customers who could afford them, but not carry or transport them. Read more.