Recently, I have been making a lot of channel and OEM interviews supporting multiple projects we have running. There have been many interesting insights I have learned as part of this work but several conversations have correlated with recent demand side survey results we have provided to our clients.
The quick takeaway is that it is likely that some suppliers are losing business they could have easily won. Several distributors have griped that it takes a long time to get responses for quotations and delivery times. As a result, the customer who might have been attracted to a particular product goes another way with respect to product, brand, or channel. This latter is obviously irksome to the distributor who might have invested sales and even technical expertise in problem solving and product selection.
As I mentioned previously, this is a theme I picked up previously in our demand-side surveys. In fact, one vendor was repeatedly called out for not providing timely quotations to customers that attempted to buy from them directly. If the channel partners that deal with suppliers constantly are similarly being ignored this is significant. It is not a business strategy of driving low volume direct sales to distributors for aggregation, it means that suppliers are just not being responsive.
My theory is that suppliers may be asking their employees to do too much for too long and, as a result, things like responsiveness break down particularly during any uptick in business. Too many things are automated and/or being done by fewer people and some of the personal touches and details are being lost. In project management, you have three general pillars to any project that are applicable to this situation. They are Time, Scope/Quality, and Resources. Basically, if you reduce resources, time and/or quality suffer.
I'm kind of interested in what other sensor product distributors, OEMs, and Systems Integrators are seeing and what opinions they have about it. If you would like to chat about it, drop me a line.