I added a poll. It's a fascinating question though I suspect I know where the answers we'll go. I'll refrain from commenting to start.
This is a thought provoking question, and if you take a few minutes to think about it, you might find it harder to answer than you origianlly thought. My first reaction was, "no brainer, end user", but after thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that it's not an easy answer. We carry a line of access control that is very important to our business, and we are very loyal to the brand. It's the only one we sell, and without it we would be in big trouble. There are two or three manufacturers that we are very loyal too, and the rest are interchangeable in my opinion. In the end, I still answered End User, but it's not an easy answer.
Loyalty to the manufacturer(s). We will always complete a project that will meet or exceed the customers expectations. How we get there depends on the demands of the application and our ability to design the correct solution for it. But, just like the other 95% of our installations, we will source the hardware from one of our 3 or 4 LOYAL suppliers with whom we have built a professional working relationship over time. If the end user is an idiot, he will still receive the same proposal but in the long term it will be up to him to forge a loyal relationship with us if we give him the chance to depending on how much of an idiot he was in the first place! Arguably, if we were a large outfit our loyalty towards a single supplier might be much greater resulting in savings for the customer on overall cost of the project but again arguably, at the cost of receiving best solution, albeit a good solution I'm sure!
I would say end users 100% as you are looking to forge a good long term working relationship with your the end user , because as we all know its the true long term value of our customers that matter, ie ongoing maintenance contract , extra works, 24/7 monitoring , service callouts consumbles , etc
We try and stick with manufacturers that sell reliable high quality products that our customers will love, but each project will be driven by the customers needs and budget , sometimes the profit margin on new installations is driven low by competitors crazy pricing just to win the new client , but when you look at the true value of a gaining a new customer it pays long term in theory
IPVMU Certified | 01/29/15 12:54pm
I'm a little lost on this one.
- How does the manufacturer fill in the amount?
- If you take the customer out of the equation you don't have anything. Take out the manufacturer and you still can service the customer. Take out the integrator and you can still buy product. You can't remove the customer, they are the driving wheel.
Integrator B gets it.
IPVMU Certified | 01/29/15 06:57pm
Finally, remember, without the manufacturer, you also have nothing, for there is no car to drive.
I don't think it works this way, if it did you would see the VW Thing and AMC Pacers in dealer showrooms.
IPVMU Certified | 02/14/15 02:04pm
Interesting, for our company, we have set product lines and rarely go outside of it for a customer - that said, its a pretty broad product line (Allegion and Assa Abloy).
I had to go with the end user as well... after all, as others have said, they're the ones who sign the checks. First loyalty in business generally has to go to the source of income. If I don't keep the customer happy, they'll find another integrator. If I don't keep a manufacturer happy, well... they'll still be glad to take my money in exchange for their products. Or I'll find another who will provide the products. There are very few truly "unique" players in this business. Pretty simple equation.
Now that being said, let's not forget that loyalty is a two-way street. Manufacturers who are helpful, supportive, responsive... that earns a lot of return loyalty and a desire to keep using and selling their products. When after-sale support wanes (ie. if they're not being loyal to the integrators), and it gets more difficult for me to properly support my customer... then I'll start looking for other products that WILL allow me to do that. Or - and this is key - the customer will start demanding different products, because they're not stupid, and they know when the manufacturer is the source of the support issues (don't even get me started on this, I could write volumes).
And by the same token, if a customer becomes too much of a pain in the ass with constant service calls for ridiculous things, constant demand to fix things under warranty even when they're not covered (no, equipment damaged by a lightning strike is not covered by warranty, and screaming at me about it won't change that)... well, their calls will more often be left to go to voicemail, and we'll get back to them after lunch. Maybe.
IPVMU Certified | 02/26/15 05:07pm
I wish we could be more loyal to our manufacturers, but the bottom line is that we are customer directed. We will not turn down business even if the customer's solution dictates a different manufacturer than what we currently use. In fact, we will become authorized dealers of a certain manufacturer just to meet the needs of a specific customer (or even potential customer). Sometimes that philosophy has created a long-standing relationship with a certain manufacturer that we never would have considered were it not for the original customer. It is frustrating from a sales/design engineering point of view, but it does certainly broaden my scope of knowledge.