30 Oct Partnership approach yields better outcomes for all
While unit cost of products and services is often the primary driver for buying decisions, taking a partnership approach typically results in lower total cost of ownership and significant improvements on many fronts. EPE Managing Director PETER GARDNER explains.
We’ve all been led to believe that it’s not what you’ve got but how you use it.
To be fair, it’s usually a combination of both. There’s little point having the best new toys if you don’t know what to do with them, but at the same time buying the cheapest option available will typically fail to deliver optimum results.
Success comes from a combination of the right product or service and the knowledge and advice to make it work.
We’ve learned from experience that competing on price and offering cheaper alternatives are rarely ingredients for success.
There’s little point offering cheap options that need to be replaced every two months if better options at twice the price will last for a year. And it’s certainly no secret that you can’t change a cheap, low quality component for a better option if your engine’s already blown.
The key is to shift the focus from unit price to value partnerships, which invariably lead to lower total cost of ownership.
Building relationships between clients, product and service providers, and manufacturers ensures everyone in the supply chain has access to knowledge, advice and feedback that allows them to achieve optimum performance and therefore gain the best possible value from a product or service.
Whether it’s a client seeking information on prolonging the life of an engine component, a retailer requiring guaranteed access to products to improve delivery times to clients, or a manufacturer wanting to understand how to enhance products to meet market requirements, communication across the supply chain is vital.
Engine Protection Equipment sits in the middle. It’s a privileged place to be because it means we’re constantly learning, being presented with challenges from clients and helping manufacturers improve and enhance products to meet market demands.
We’ve spent decades building and maintaining valuable relationships with manufacturers and wholesale suppliers around the world, as well as built long lasting rapport with our customers. It doesn’t matter if they purchase the occasional filter kit or require custom manufacturing for large industrial projects.
The result is that our clients know they can call us to discuss a particular issue, while our suppliers often seek our input as part of their ongoing improvement initiatives.
As an example, over the years we’ve worked with various manufacturers in other parts of the world to adapt products and supply options to suit Australia’s unique operating environment – whether that’s to do with weather conditions, remote operations or difficulties in accessing products in a timely fashion.
Recently, EPE partnered with exhaust specialist Aflex to support a remote power generation customer overcome regular exhaust failures.
The operator had been supplied a system that was not suited for the demanding ambient heat and operating conditions experienced in remote WA. The critical nature of our customer’s operation required maximum reliability that was far from being achieved with the existing solution.
EPE and Aflex prototyped a new system that was trialed, proven and has now been rolled out across the client’s operations. While the upfront cost to the client was almost double that of the previous solution, the improved performance has paid dividends many times over for the operator.
Because of those long-term associations with many of our suppliers, when we need to help clients overcome particular issues, we can often pick up the phone and talk to the most knowledgeable people, from chief engineers or industrial chemists to global product managers and chief executives.
Similarly, when manufacturers are faced with issues, we’re the first to know and can help them maintain loyalty by communicating with our customers. A recent worldwide silicone shortage meant US-based hose manufacturer Purosil was temporarily unable to meet demand and had to pay more for raw products. The company’s president got in touch to explain the situation and ask for understanding.
EPE passed that on to our clients, identified some temporary solutions to deal with potential supply shortages and kept the market onside. But there was an additional benefit – Purosil were so appreciative of our understanding that they prioritised EPE supply and the result was that our clients saw very little impact.
Every client organisation – and every individual within those organisations – may be focused on different outcomes, so it is important for EPE’s staff to understand all the different motivators and drivers for success.
To maintain that understanding, consistency of relationships is key. As a family owned and operated business, EPE has that advantage. Clients know they’ll see the same faces in store or hear the same voices over the phone.
Our staff has built considerable knowledge over the years. We use it to help clients get value from products, from extending the life of an air filter to developing superior vibration control in marine exhaust systems.
The partnership approach has allowed EPE, as well as many of our clients and suppliers, to maintain competitive advantage over the years.
It’s a formula that works so we plan to stick with it.