I was asked by an engineering customer the other day, “why do we speak to you as a representative rather than just dealing direct with the factory?”
The answer is a little complex but I hope I can provide a good analogy; I will use some plain speaking terms to help illustrate the answer.
We are the local Canadian contact for the manufacturer who normally is not based in Canada. We try to act as a marriage broker of sorts to help the supplier understand the local issues that may be surrounding the application in question.
The worst thing that a supplier can do is to just send out a quote blindly to a customer. We call this “quote and hope scenario”.
In our business model we want to earn your business, and we can only do that if we clearly understand your needs. Some companies try to get you to buy what they have to sell regardless of your needs. We realize from experience that you as a customer will not buy what we want you to buy, but you will only buy what you need to buy dependent upon your criteria. We cannot help you do that if we do not understand what that is.
In essence it is all about you as the customer and what you need. That’s why we ask clarifying questions, and not because we do want to waste your (or our) valuable time.
The supplier has many customers coming to the supplier’s doorstep from all over the world. This may make one customer appear to be a “small fish” in a very large sea of customers.
With you as a Canadian customer you are generally a big fish in our small sea. The attention factor to your requests should be improved. And we can act as an advocate as to why your project deserves the suppliers attention.
The supplier in general has many representatives to facilitate better communications while trying to offer customer support on a technical and sales related front. The goal of the supplier is to reduce the clutter effect of many requests for quotes for their product from many customers.
To that end suppliers ask us to help qualify the real potential of your requirements and help track these requirements so a customer does not get lost in the shuffle.
With today’s electronic society of email and telephones, one can not always get a real sense of the what it will take to make a customer / supplier relationship work without our the human interface factor involved.
This can only be accomplished by face-to-face visits and follow up by telephone. An email has no expressions or human factor. Email can be positive or negative just depending on how you read the email that day.
In summary, while we will never stop you from communicating directly with the Factory, we will be back to ask you time and time again to share information (that you can) on the technical application of what you need to accomplish technically.
When we ask you about the application it is not normally the where it is going to be used , but on how technically it needs to be accomplishes as if we do not understand the application , how can we meet your needs?
With over 43 years in Business as a company, the value we try to bring to your table is to satisfy your technical requirements and help you find the most appropriate supplier that can do so.
We look forward to sharing information so we can help you better in the future.