is the objective of the Supplier Solution based?
Have you heard the anecdote about the Drill?
A man walks into a large well-known DIY store looking for a drill, he finds the correct aisle and begins to browse through the many different brands, models and configurations.
After several minutes of confusion, he seeks out an assistant to help him select the right product for his needs.
The assistant begins by stating he should choose a cordless model over a corded version as batteries are much better today. The assistant then asked would the customer prefer a combi drill or impact driver? The customer looked nonplussed at the question.
The assistant advised him to stay away from several brands as they didn’t offer great value for money in the long run the cheaper ones would work for a little while but aren’t as reliable.
He advised looking at premium brands such as DeWalt & Makita as they will last years and cover a vast array of functions and are used by the professionals
He proceeded to discuss the various warranties before segueing into the “great” deals on hammer drills and package deals for associated product lines throughout the store.
Growing more and more frustrated and confused the customer interrupted the assistants spiel with “I just want a hole in the wall, mate”
The moral of the story is the customer had a problem and he was looking for a solution.
The customer just wanted a hole in the wall he didn’t need to know he had a great drill for professionals.
Does your current workwear & PPE supplier work for you?
What was the first question the assistant should have asked?
Sometimes suppliers miss the basic point of asking what a product is required for.
Asking this simple question will allow the supplier to narrow the choices based upon what they need.
This is applicable across the board from face masks to gloves to polo shirts.
A customer may think they need a cut level 5 gloves because they have always bought them but with a little experience and questioning the supplier could find out if a cut level 3 would work as well and save the customer money.
The supplier should always be solution based and not sales based, as counter intuitive as that sounds.
Solving customers problems will lead to more sales as the trust and confidence grows.
This is a position some suppliers can exploit to their own advantage at the cost of the customer which is probably why there is so much customer turnover in the PPE and workwear industries.
I’m sure buyers will have negative experiences with some suppliers because they feel they have been mislead or “ripped off” and that sentiment is never tackled by the customer and certainly not by the supplier.
The lack clarity or inflexibility results in customers seeking alternative suppliers.
There is another factor in today’s online world and that is the ever-increasing choice in products and services which leads to a very real issue of paralysis by analysis.
Our website like many others has a huge array of product lines which if being perfectly honest only allows people to evaluate and consider those products based upon the price.
This is typically how most online stores operate – price is the main factor people look at before they choose.
However, is this the best way to work?
I would state here right now that no, this is not the best way to choose any product particularly if the objective of the customer and supplier is to solve whatever problem the customer faces.
Sometimes the cheapest product will suit the requirements and other times a premium will be best suited.
There are other factors at play here which makes this a grey area.
If we consider the drill anecdote above if the customer just wants a hole in the wall, then the cheapest option may be the best all round as it will be used once or twice and the need for longevity is minimal.
However, if the product required is critical for safety, branding or cost effectiveness then actually looking at the price of a product will never serve a customer’s best interests it’s time to look at the “better” options.
You cannot or should not compromise on safety – if this is prescribed the risk is too large.
Branding in terms of workwear and uniforms is often overlooked but it is key to presenting your business in the best light to existing and new customers.
Ignore this at your peril.
Cost effectiveness is objectively analysed over a given timeline typically a year – you may find buying the cheapest option can actually cost more over a year due to replacements, purchase order raising and downtime.
The objective for both Supplier and customer should be to focus on solving whatever problems and challenges the customer has.
The hard part is finding a supplier with this scope and ability to advise correctly and confidently.
Give BHI a call today to see how we operate. 0333 101 4030
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