Some brands and registered products command more respect and trust than others. In certain industries, the trust, respect and reliability that companies
have for the brands that their suppliers offer can mean not only greater profitability and productivity, but sometimes it could be the difference between
life and death.
The advantages of increased competition
In an increasingly competitive world, suppliers have to find more savings to deliver products to demanding customers. Retail markets have seen products
drop in price dramatically and have now reacted by offering improved features in shortening cycles – in essence, you spend less initially but buy more in
This reality has also spread to B2B practices and is affecting almost every type of product in every industry, including the bulk materials handling and
conveyor industry. As a result of this competition, customers now have access to a greater variety of brands and products. New opportunities and emerging
markets create demand for product lines that render previous generation of products obsolete.
This leads to shorter life cycles, cheaper products, commoditisation and market cannibalisation. In the short term, customers benefit with improved
bargaining power, wider options and more suppliers to choose from. However, the advantages could very well turn into risks.
The risks behind the trend
Product imitation and commoditisation leads to lower standards, higher cost of sales and dilution of service quality.
White-labeling and imitation of quality products by inferior processes and materials are prime examples of quality erosion. In economies where standards
are less stringent and labour is cheaper, opportunistic companies churn out options that look as good (or even better) but do not have the depth and
engineering to back up the products in application.
With cheaper options, discounts can be made by overzealous suppliers who bank on quick and heavy discounting to close the deal, leaving customers to fend
for themselves when things go wrong.
Neil Kinder, MD of Kinder & Co, a leading supplier to the bulk materials handling and conveyor industry, says,
“In our specialist industry, the least you should do is to engage with experienced people who run proven businesses, offering world-class products that
professionals in the industry can back and testify to.
Our customers have come to rely on us because they know we spend a lot of time and resources to deliver products from reliable and proven world-leaders.
That’s why we are confident to put our Kinder & Co brand on the products we sell.”
5 questions to ask your supplier
Neil’s advice is that when you look for a supplier for your company’s needs, companies should ask these 5 questions before deciding:
1. Is the company established, experienced and trusted in the industry?
2. Does the company’s directors and management have enough experience to understand what’s really important in the industry?
3. Do the products and services the company offer come with guarantees and documented proof of their reliability and technical capability?
4. Does the company have a track record of achievements and continuous improvement educating, supporting and leading the industry?
5. Does the company have the technical expertise and experience to support you in implementing their products in your system and work with your people to
successfully transform your efficiency and productivity?
By applying these sensible questions to every one of your suppliers and service providers, you can have greater confidence and peace of mind that you are
selecting the right supplier to help you grow your business and deliver your promises to your staff, shareholders and customers.