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Online Sales and the industry dilemma

Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 5:32 PM into no particular category

Online Sales and the industry dilemma

# Online Sales and the industry dilemma

Online sales are a bit like winning an Olympic medal. From the spectator viewing platform, it looks easy and takes a few minutes. But the inside story is very different. Years of preparation, exercise, diet, teams of specialist trainers, and a whole infrastructure of management, operations, planning, investment, and strategy - all of which are the essentials to the honing of Olympian skills needed to achieve that win!  Like an iceberg, 90% of the thing is below the surface, and like the Captain of the Titanic found out, misjudging the size, position and speed of that 90% can cost many lives.

The Heating Spares industry has developed skills for the middle lane!  Between engineers that install and manufacturers that make, official stockists of spare parts cleave the in-between space. They protect the integrity of manufacturers by ensuring that genuine stock is sold and safeguard the professionalism of installers who utilise that stock for the end user in good faith. 

Boiler and spare parts’ manufacturers may feel the need every so often to  jump into that area, between maker and user, and make online sales of spares their own domain but in HSP’s view they should only proceed with caution, in the knowledge that it is not that easy, and their good intentions may backfire.  Manufacturers who feel they can do a better job in reducing copied and fake
spares, should take note, because a lot is at stake.  Batting for your own side is something we all admire, and rightly so, that is of course is until batting for your own side causes greater problems for many others and for the industry generally.

First do no harm is a good maxim to live by.   Should manufacturers start their own online sales of spare parts in the belief they can make a reduction to the number of sales of fake spares then they may be disappointed to find
they, in fact, increase them instead, causing more harm than good. HSP knows only too well how customer choices are dictated by price in the current economic climate and if price is not what a customer wants, then that customer goes elsewhere.  HSP has spent a lot of time working with clients to ensure price is right and genuine goods are used, can manufacturers take the time to do this?

The consequences of an industry shift to manufacturers’ own online spares’ sales will impact the sector generally, in other ways. The number of official stockists will decline, and the sales of those remaining too. This is a group of people who diligently work to protect the heating industry's current framework of operation and the current problems which include – but are not confined to – copies of spare parts on the market at cheaper prices.   HSP maintains that an industry working together is a stronger industry than one facing closures.  The supply chain in existence is a finely tuned delivery agent to the end user; there may be a level of fake spares getting through but not that many and certainly not enough to justify the damage that can be done when that chain of operation is chipped and broken. Official stockists are exactly what is says on the tin, stockist of official stock, and we - including HSP – defend and represent that genuine stock of spares items.

Our expertise is knowing the customer and understanding the complexity of the spares market. We are aware of
end user needs and those of installers who fit spares all over the country and wider afield. We know the official spares directories of all leading manufactures and our trained staff advise multiple persons on the intricate details for hundreds of spare parts, fulfil by mail order to far flung places and much more.  Our 90% below the surface is a myriad of technical skills and specialist know-how, digital awareness, mail-order, face on sales, 24 hour services, negotiators of price per number, persuaders of genuine is best, brokerage experts, psychological support for engineers and end users and more besides. Should many of us be forced out of existence, the heating industry will not fare well.   Maintaining price of genuine spares will falter when customers lose personal services and the solid backing that official stockists, like HSP, give to manufacturers parts above all.

We all support our manufacturers, many of us would not exist if we didn't. Manufacturers make our livelihoods! But HSP would like to reiterate, first do no harm!

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