Forget about the price.
Casters are often overlooked as a value-added selling opportunity. In the competitive price market that is material handling, a little extra selling effort on features and benefits can net distributors increased margins on casters, as well as help strengthen a long-term relationship.
There are three areas other than price on which a distributor can sell to an end-user: trust, delivery and features.
Trust is First
The distributor has worked very hard to develop a reputation with the end-user for being the expert in the market. The distributor is selling the customer a solution, making the customer’s job easier and more productive. The equipment the distributor specifies must keep the customer’s business running.
Downtime costs us all in the long run. Therefore, distributors want to make sure they are selling a brand that is well-established in the market and is proven to have consistent quality over the long term. If a mobility problem does arise, they want to make sure the caster manufacturer will stand behind them to solve the issues and keep their customer going.
As replacement issues arise, will the caster manufacturer be able to deliver? Or will they have come and gone in the market because they sold on price alone and added no long-term value? Many of the top caster brands in the market have been around a long time, and they continue to be market leaders in innovation and manufacturing techniques.
However, over the last several years, many new brands have come into the market offering the lowest price. Some have already exited the market because they didn’t add additional value—and others will follow in the years to come.
To the novice, many casters look the same. Upon further examination, however, distributors find that many of the established brands offer additional key features. Material thickness, heat treating, welding and wheel material should all be considered and not sacrificed due to a cost-only decision.
- Material Thickness – The thickness of the steel used to make the legs and top plate. The use of thinner steel cuts costs, but sacrifices overall load ratings.
- Heat Treating the raceways gives additional strength and more durability to the swivel section. When put through industry standard testing, casters with thinner material or hardened raceways are not as strong as heat treated and won’t hold up.
- Welding – Good, solid welds are very important; bad welding is often an area of caster failure. Welding the legs to the raceway cup on both the inside and outside helps to ensure a solid bond.
- Wheel Material – Selecting the correct wheel material is another key for proper caster function. Many wheels look alike, but the type of material used, thickness of tread, and bonding of tread to the core shouldn’t be sacrificed for price. In the short term, the price may be higher to make sure the right features are selected. However, long-term savings on maintenance, replacement and downtime will more than pay back the higher price. Specifying on price alone will also sacrifice the distributor’s reputation when quality issues arise.
By doing a little research on the brand you sell and utilizing the sales resources provided by the established brands, a material handling distributor can make a case for selling on more than just price.
You’ll also establish a long-lasting relationship with a customer, while increasing the margins on casters.
|Meet the Author
Brian Hakeem is national sales and marketing manager at Shepherd Caster Corporation, located in St. Joseph, MI, and on the Web at www.shepherdcaster.com.