Maintaining margins on casters is a process that is directly related to how educated the customer is, how aware he is of where his dollar is going. Someone making a carpet dolly is going to look upon a caster as a commodity item. For more sophisticated products, like x-ray machines or other medical equipment, chances are that buyers might be more receptive to quality, he continues.
Some of the better paid people in the factory work in maintenance, and these people most likely understand that true economy in an MRO environment is a true quality caster that is the right one for the job. It gets back to who you’re selling to. Some buyers shop in the basement, others are looking for a quality product. We have customers who put more caster than is necessary into their products and they know it; but they haven’t had a caster problem, and they don’t want one.
Overcoming objections, of course, requires that your salespeople fully understand what those objections truly entail. If a customer has done a thorough cost analysis of what he’s making or maintaining, and his informed conclusion is that a caster comprises an insignificant part of the total cost of the product or process involved, he’ll probably focus primarily on price and delivery issues.
Conversely, when a customer has historically maintained a low regard for a caster – or any other component – because, after all, it’s just a caster, then your salespeople have an opportunity to upgrade that customer’s awareness by developing a cost analysis that shows where the money goes. Whether it’s OEM or MRO, the need is there because, you can hardly go into a plant without seeing casters.
Beyond selling smartly, one way to enhance the probability of your making money on stainless steel casters is to buy smartly, as well. Partner with manufacturers who are willing to develop reasonable stocking requirements, for example. Some suppliers may be willing to maintain stock on their own shelves, and have it available to ship in one to three days. Others might drop ship at no charge to you. Given the competitive nature of the business, there are a number of innovative ways to work together for mutual profit.
Casters are pervasive – they get used just about everywhere. And it’s also equally true that they get abused just about everywhere that they get used. From shopping carts in grocery store parking lots to materials handling carts and dollies in mass merchant mega-stores and poultry slaughtering plants, casters are necessary but overlooked, especially when they do what they’re designed to do.
Caster failure can result in anything from mild irritation to production interruptions to safety hazards. The challenge for distributor salespeople is to ensure that buyers have all the information they need to make an intelligent choice. After all, casters are insignificant only when they work.