“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
- Benjamin Franklin
 
Aussie and Kiwi manufacturers are a pretty hardy bunch.
 
We’ve weathered plenty of stormy economic times and predictions about the demise of the sector both here and in NZ, but when loopholes are discovered that permit cheap imports to land on our shores, local manufacturers need to band together and support their own.
 
We all strive for a competitive edge, but there is a difference between those displaying ethical competitiveness and those that gain a head start from evasion and half-truths.
 
The frustration felt by many reputable manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand is expressed succinctly here by Steve Hart, Editor of New Zealand’s widely read DEMM Engineering and Manufacturing magazine.
 
"It appears the engineering and manufacturing industries – both here and abroad – are doing themselves no favours when buying cut-price goods. Whether they buy cheap imitations, or counterfeit parts that look great, but which can cause more financial damage than they are worth, some firms are essentially selling rubbish – crossing their fingers as their products leave the yard.
 
Competing on price, to undercut firms that stick to using quality parts and who employ skilled and qualified trades people, is a race to the bottom for the country. At some point the price-cutting has to stop and firms trading on quality, service, and that look after their clients’ interests, will forge ahead. That day can’t come soon enough.
 
It’s not just a counterfeit parts and sloppy service issue. It is a communications challenge for many business owners.
 
Customers need to understand how one firm can apparently provide a product for much less than their competitors. Those with good reputations, and who see a future for themselves in the industry, need to tell their story and explain why they may appear to be a bit more expensive than the joker down the road. You shouldn’t just shrug your shoulders and allow customers to walk away and buy over-priced rubbish. Whole life cost should play a major part in helping customers understand what they are paying for.
 
It seems that too many business owners or buyers are also looking at the bottom line price and not factoring in exactly what they are getting for their money. If something is too cheap to be true, then it is probably a knock-off that’s destined to fail – causing downtime, injury or death.
 
It is getting to the point that more time should be spent establishing that the items ordered are fit for purpose and are coming from a reliable and trusted source. If in doubt, contact main dealers directly and refuse to use counterfeit parts.
 
Trade on quality and reliability – not price."
 
Does this resonate with you? If so, we’ve got some tips for fair competitive manufacturing that we’ll share in the next few weeks.
 
Keep an eye out for an upcoming post from ReCoila’s Managing Director, Michael Pawson, on how to pinpoint imports that could be affecting your business.
 
This article originally appeared in DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing May 2013 issue. The full digital edition can be found here. Authored by Steve Hart. Reproduced with permission. 


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