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The IUP Journal of Operations Management :
Distribution Methods Adopted for Self-Help Group Products: An Empirical Analysis
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The objective of this study is to examine the various distribution methods adopted for the Self-Help Group (SHG) products in the Union Territory of Puducherry. The research variables were identified from the literature review relating to distribution methods of SHGs. Primary data was collected from a random sample of 251 SHGs through survey method using a well-structured questionnaire. The data was analyzed using statistical techniques like simple mean, chi-square and correspondence analysis. The results reveal that majority of SHGs deliver finished goods to customers on foot and bus, and the distribution channel adopted by majority of the groups in selling their products is through direct sales. Further, no significant association was found between distribution channel and sales promotion expenditure of the SHGs.

 
 

Economically India falls within the 10 largest economies of the world. The Indian economy has been agrarian in nature since time immemorial, but today with the introduction of modern industrial technologies India is developing into a vibrant industrial country (Jyothi, 2010). Among the different sectors contributing to the Indian economy is primary sector consisting of agriculture, forestry and fishery which have contributed to make India the largest producer of milk, jute and pulses, and the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, groundnuts, fruits and vegetables in the world (Ahlin and Jiang, 2008). India’s industrial production base comprises different industrial sectors including petroleum, pharmaceuticals, engineering, gems, textiles, mining, etc. The services sector includes transport, retail, banking, tourism, and energy (Cull et al., 2009). Population-wise, India contributes about 17% of the world population on 2.5% of the land area of the world (Basargekar, 2008).

In spite of India’s rapid economic and industrial development, poverty in India still remains widespread with an estimated 22% of the population living below the poverty line comprising 26.9 crore persons as of 2012, as indicated in the Planning Commission Report on measurement of population in 2012. The task of reducing poverty has been an onerous one for the Government of India, which has introduced multiple poverty reduction schemes including Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment and Guarantee Act, Food Security Act, midday meal scheme, social assistance schemes such as old-age pension scheme, family benefit scheme, maternity benefit scheme, rural housing scheme and the newly emerging microfinance schemes (Vasanthakumari, 2012).

 
 

Operations Management Journal, Self-Help Group (SHG) products,Union Territory of Puducherry, Chi-square and Correspondence analysis.