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Introduction

In order to survive and attain growth organizations need to make different investments which
require that different decisions are being made. It is a process, by which a person, group or an
organization identifies a choice or judgment to be made, gathers and evaluates information about
alternatives and selects from among the alternatives. Thus, a decision is of great importance for
an organization for which it is interesting for us to see how they make their decisions regarding a
purchase and foremost how the actual decision-making process is constituted regarding a
purchase of a new product in paper and packaging industry.
The aim with this project is to investigate the industrial buying behavior in Oman Paper and
Packaging industries. The focus in this industry, as well as in other asset-intensive industries, has
shifted from buying and selling large machine installations to a more service-oriented
perspective.
The purpose of this project is to investigate the industrial buyer behavior of firms within Paper
and Packaging industry in Oman when faced with a new product development. We aim to study
the process and identify possible differences from buying a new product. We believe that this
study will provide valuable information to marketers and increase their knowledge about the
industrial buyer behavior.
Industrial buyer behavior theory
It is considered as highly important to be aware of why a customer or buyer makes a purchase.
Without such an understanding, businesses find it hard to respond to the customers needs and
wants (Parkinsson & Baker, 1986). It is important to be aware of the differences between
consumer buying and industrial buying because the industrial buyer behavior differs from
consumer buying in many aspects such as; using more variables and greater difficulty to identify
process participants (Moriarty, 1984). The industrial buying is described by Parkinsson & Baker
(1986) as the buy of a product which is made to please the entire organization instead of
satisfying just one individual. Industrial buying behavior is considered as being a elementary
concept when it comes to investigating buyer behavior in all types of organizations (ibid). Also,
in industrial buying situations there is a perception of greater use of marketing information,

greater exploratory objective in information collection and greater formalization. (Deshpande &
Zaltman, 1987)
Buyer decision process
After defining the different circumstances influencing the buyer behavior we argue that it is
important to define the actual buying decision process. In order for a marketer to be successful
[s]he needs to examine the complex subject of buyer decision processes (Kotler et al, 2007). The
buying process involves different stages that organizations phase during and after a purchase.
Yet, this buying process may differ a lot depending on what type of product that will be bought
(ibid). The authors Robinsson et al (1967) illustrate this process by developing a model which
lays down how the process of deciding to buy a product looks like for industrial organizations.
This model is separated into eight different buy-phases. These phases will be described in more
detail below;
Buying decisions characterize a complex set of actions that connect many members within the
buying organization. The result is a commitment to a purchase of a product. (Webster 1991)
Robinson et al (1967:13) describes a model with eight phases that an industrial organization goes
through in their buying decision process. When a buyer makes a new product buy he is very
likely to go through all the phases in the model. However, when a buyer makes a straight or a
modified rebuy he might skip a phase or more in the model. The model presented below is a
theoretical model trying to make it easier to understand the different phases. However, in reality
the phases are often much more complex and the buying organization do not necessarily go
through all of them, nor in the specific order stated below.
1. Problem recognition: The buying process starts when the organization, or someone
within the organization, recognizes a problem or a need which can be solved or avoided
by purchasing a product. (Kotler et al 2005) According to Robinson et al (1967) it can
also start from a potential supplier who foresees or precipitates a need for a product
within the buying organization. In other words both internal and external stimuli can
result in a problem being recognized.
2. General need description: The buyer prepares a general need description over
characteristics and quantity of the needed item. Regarding more standard items the
process presents few problems, however when it comes to more complex items the buyer

might have to work with others, such as engineers in order to define the item. Here an
opportunity exists for the selling organization by helping define a need and give
information about its value in the product selection. (Kotler et al 2005)
3. Product specification. According to Kotler et al (2005) in this phase of the process the
buying organization develops a technical product specification for the needed item. As
this specification will serve as the base for people both inside and outside of the buying
organization Robinson et al (1967) mentions the importance that it must be very precise
and detailed in order to facilitate for later stages in the process. The buyer then estimates
the value and the cost reduction, which the new product would imply (Kotler et al 2005).
Phase three is of importance according to Robinson et al (1967) for the seller as it is the
stage in which specified influences enters the buying process. Therefore the seller needs
to know who is preparing and selecting the specification, what specific information
sources that the buying influences are drawn upon, and the roles of the various
individuals and their participation in the decision-making process.
4. Supplier search: At this stage of the process the buyer performs a supplier search in order
to find the best vendors, and later on contact a number of them. As the buying task is
newer, more costly and more complex the buying organization will consequently spend a
greater amount of time to search for suppliers. (Kotler et al 2005) In the end of this stage
the buying organization will have determined which suppliers that will be considered as
potential sellers (Robinson et al 1967).
5. Proposal solicitation: The buying organization invites the selected suppliers to present
their proposals. It is of importance that the proposals, written documents and
presentations, should inspire confidence and make the supplier stand out from its
competitors. Regarding complex products the buyer will most likely require a detailed
written proposal or a formal presentation. (Kotler 2005) According to Robinson et al
(1967) a complex product also implies a series of counter-proposals and new offers,
which can result in a time consuming process taking many months.
6. Supplier selection: During this phase the members of the buying centre evaluate and
analyze the suppliers and their proposals. Different factors are conclusive depending on
the type of product and the buying situation. (Kotler et al 2005) As the buying
organization approves one or more suppliers offers and rejects the others, the supplier is

selected. Further negotiations might however occur even though a supplier is selected
regarding prices, deliveries etc. (Robinson et al 1967)
7. Order-routine specification: In this phase of the buying process the buyer prepares an
order-routine specification which includes a final order to the chosen supplier. Here items
are listed such as technical specifications, expected time of delivery, quantity needed of
the item and warranties. (Kotler et al 2005) Even though one might think that the
purchase is finalized in this phase, it is not. From the viewpoint of the buying
organization the purchase has not been completed and the problem not yet been solved
until the actual product is delivered. Therefore it should be of importance to the seller,
and he should be aware that the purchase is not yet finalized until the product is
delivered. (Robinson et al 1967)
8. Performance review: The last stage of the process involves reviews of the supplier
performance by the buyer (Kotler et al 2005). This review includes questions as to how
well the product bought has solved the problem and how well the supplier performed
prior, during and after the purchase (Robinson et al 1967). In this review the buyer also
rates its satisfaction with the product and the supplier. At this point the buying
organization decides whether or not to continue with this specific supplier, or at times
modify the contract. (Kotler et al 2005)
The eight phases of the buying process are very much interrelated with one another. They do tend
to follow a logical sequence but in practice two or more phases can take place simultaneously.
This can happen in situations when the buyer and the seller work together. For example when
developing a new item, modifying an existing item or when new technologies are involved.
Furthermore these phases are not mutually exclusive; this means that something that is normally
being performed in phase four may be performed in phase three depending on the buying
situation. It can be added that it is hard to determine where one phase ends and the next one
starts. (Robinson et al 1967)
Conclusion:
In the decision-making processes of the buying organizations we could identify eight phases;
furthermore the decision-making process was affected by all the influencing factors
(environmental, individual, interpersonal, organizational, financial, and buyer-seller relationship)
and the study also showed that these factors also affected each other.

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