For years, our primary competition in the wholesale market was by and large price. Lowest price from a trusted supplier got the business. Are things changing?
Our distributors are fighting through the rough economy by trying to increase margins and decrease costs in the absence of increased sales. One way to do this is to "farm out" the technical services department back to the supplier. I find myself taking more and more calls each day from distributors with their customer also on the line to answer technical questions.
Although this increases our workload, I'm in favor of this trend. We as wholesalers and manufacturer's representatives can now show our "value added" expertise and help our mutual customers chose the right product the first time. Direct customer service also eliminates a lot of "warranty voiding" amateur repairs on our more technical items.
During the last ten years I've spent in the Laboratory Supply and Science education market, I've based our company's success on three basic principals:
1. Having the right product
2. Having the right price
3. Being able to deliver on time.
It's safe to say that its time to add a number 4:
4. Be available to intelligently answer technical and maintenance questions from our mutual customers.
I hope to see you in Atlanta for Pittcon and San Francisco for NSTA to hear your take on this!
Fischer Technical Company