Ruskin’s Relevance Conveyed in Today’s Marketplace

by James Podevyn

 

“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey” John Ruskin, 1819-1900.

It is a most unlikely union, whereby the words of a 19th Century art critic are taken in utmost seriousness by a 21st Century bulk material handling systems manufacturer. However, these words ring true for Spiroflow, and have become more relevant as our marketplace becomes increasingly congested.

Throughout our 45 year history, and becoming a global leader in the field of powder handling and dry solids processing, the most common question we are asked with regards to a conveyor is “how much does this cost?”. It would be remiss to argue against the price of the product being unimportant and with our custom designed equipment, there are varying degrees of financial commitment from the outset.

However, the headline price isn’t the only cost. And this is where the emergence of a value proposition becomes vital, as this is where the true investment lies.

“It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little.”

The first port of call, and often the most difficult one, is actually knowing exactly what you want. This isn’t as patronising an idea as you may initially think, and we would rather receive a problem with objectives, rather than pre conceived ideas about what someone ‘thinks’ they want. What you want depends on current needs, the needs outlined in your business forecasts, production needs, service needs and many others. Using a Spiroflow product as a case in point, on all our conveying technologies you have a choice between many different discharge aids, to assist moving the product. Some are more expensive than others, but all individually suitable for different things. Using our extensive experience with our analysis and testing capabilities, we make that choice and include it. It is in no one’s interests for us to fail, and we will not be prepared to supply equipment that we have doubts over.

Here at Spiroflow, we are incredibly open about options available and even go so far as to list them on our website, so that anyone surfing the web is fully informed before they even make the decision to contact us.

“When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable.”

 Building on the above quote, perhaps we would go even further and consider the lifetime costs of a machine. The cliché ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is oft used (and cannot be attributed to a single source!) and it does ring true. But by the same token we would also say ‘buy expensive, never buy again’ – as that product may last forever or risk being the death of a business. I cannot count the amount of times we have replaced sub-standard equipment in both smaller and blue chip companies alike, that was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. We are contacted weekly from clients in this position, because they have unwisely ‘payed too little’

It is important therefore to look at the added value of a supplier, and the value is instigated before the sales process has begun. Is a company transparent from the outset, not hiding any important information? Are they answering key questions before the customer needs to engage, particularly as time is more of a commodity than ever? Do they suggest that high levels of support remain long after the sale has been made? These three questions should all be answered with a resounding ‘YES!’ before proceeding.

Service is expected by everyone in a competitive marketplace. At Spiroflow we pride ourselves not only on our Service and Support after a sale, but pre-sales support as well. It is key for us that we collaborate with our clients and that we agree the right product for them, knowing that it is right for the product and application, their staff will be trained, the machine will be commissioned, maintained and kept pristine, and join our long list of machines that have been in operation for decades.

“The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done.”

 Promises offering everything and delivering little are something we have all had to deal with in the wider sphere of life itself. One lesson we apply to how we conduct business, from a buying point of view, is always considering the position of the other side. When the first reaction is negative, we analyse why through our own eyes. Would we do the same? How can we justify this to our customers? You will be surprised with the outcomes of this empathetic exercise. We all have products that offer value, and we wouldn’t ever want to undersell, or oversell, that value. This is something that Spiroflow completely understand. We are not the cheapest in the market, nor the most expensive. We believe the true value of our proposition is with our custom specified, custom built robust equipment and how we look after our customers in the long term, reducing lifetime cost by care.

In a world where customer loyalty is tested daily, there has never been a more important time to apply traditional values whilst doing business. Looking after one another, operating ethically, and genuinely caring for your products is a surefire way to ensure repeat custom and a healthy business. That’s what 45 years, and John Ruskin, have taught us, anyway.

Contact Us

If in doubt, ask the experts! At Spiroflow we have over 45 years experience in the dry bulk solids industry and we can help and advise on the best equipment for your application. Contact us here.