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Business Research Ethics: Sun Products Corporation

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Business Research Ethics

Dawne Dodd

RES 351

May 12, 2014

Belle Chen


Business Research Ethics

During a recent post audit review, Sun Products Corporation received a $300,000 invoice from a well-known mass merchandiser (customer).  The invoice stated that Sun Products had demonstrated (demo) an item in its’ stores during the month of October of 2012.  The demo was approved by Sun Products management but at a lower cost projected.  At the beginning of August 2012, all regular “demos” would increase from $135 to $150 per store, raising the expected cost to exceed a very tight budget.  

When the cost of the demo was questioned, Sun Products was told that all vendors were emailed a letter two months prior, letting them know of the increase.  The customer sent a copy of the email but Sun’s sales manager, who saves all of his emails, could not locate a copy of the notification.  He challenged the invoice with the customer’s buyer and after two weeks, the buyer decided that the new pricing would remain on the invoice.  After several meetings with the finance department, the sales manager was allotted the funds to clear the overpriced demo, from his trade account.  This would offset any future promotions he was planning with customer for the rest of the year.

Since this situation, Sun Products no longer conducts product demonstrations with this customer.  Had the sales manager used the customers “open door” policy the charges might have been reduced but the manager did not want to risk further damage to the business relationship by going to the buyer’s manager.  Further research into the email issue revealed that Sun’s email address (and others) was not included in the original notification, thus the reason the sales manager could not find his copy.  A few months later, the buyers’ assistant was released from the company for reasons unknown to Sun.  Although the customer’s buyer has tried to set up more brand named store demonstrations, the Sun sales manager has refused and decided to use his promotional funds in end-cap features.  

What could have been an ugly situation was averted by the maturity of the Sun sales manager, not confronting the assistant.  Possibly this situation was not exclusive to Sun Products but to others as well and the buyer had to a look at all of his vendors complaints.  



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