Think back to the last time you stood in the aisle of a grocery or department store and compared two similar items, one generic while the other was a name brand. Did you choose to purchase the generic or the brand name product? In many cases shoppers don’t want to pay the extra few cents or dollars for items like a branded box of crackers or over-the-counter medicine. But then again, there are times when a difference in quality is noticeable, or one brand has features which motivate shoppers to buy at a higher price.
These concerns about pricing and quality also occur in the market for information technology supplies. In our experience, there are times it’s okay to try and save, but in other circumstances it’s better to pay more for a known and trusted product.
What’s In a Brand?
When you buy a brand name product of any kind, the implication is you’re buying the best product available. For technicians, a brand name set of Monster cables or new tools from Stanley carry warranties and guarantees when generic products of the same type don’t. You might pay less for the off-brand items, but the guarantee of their working well is less. When a brand name is known, that manufacturer wants to ensure it carries the best reputation it can.
Perhaps the primary reason that material quality should matter to technicians is the same reason brands worry about their quality; reputation. If a tech gets a reputation for using poor quality products or having to return to the same site several times to fix an issue, that word will spread. The same rule applies to excellent outcomes supported by reliable materials. When a client or end user is satisfied, they’ll send more business your way.
Technicians are busy professionals in high demand. No tech wants to get a call from a client they helped a few days back to learn their repair hasn’t lasted or that an issue has recurred. However, when those projects are completed using cheap materials of low quality manufacture, this possibility will eventually turn into a guarantee. It’s a waste not just of money on new materials, but also of the time and energy of both the technician and the client or end user. The tech ends up spending more in their time and new materials than they would have if they just bought the quality product to begin with.
With minor items like zip ties or sticky notes, these differences might be so negligible they don’t matter. But even hardware items as tiny as screws can make a big difference in outcomes if the quality is bad. Cables, wall jacks, outlets, and tools are other examples of products where more up-front spend can equal greater benefit in the long run. Ask around or do some research to determine which products are the best on the market for your corner of the technology industry.
We’re excited to have closed this gap between cost and quality somewhat with our new group purchasing program. Technicians and even their clients can sign up to receive discounts on supplies across the spectrum of IT and general office needs. We hope you’ll take advantage of the program today and start to offer better quality materials as part of your service package for the same price you’re paying now—or even less.