John Doyle, Managing Director of Doyle & Tratt Products Ltd, British manufacturer of the Varilight brand of dimmer switches, explains further why contractors no longer need to accept second-best, particularly in relation to the dimming of LED lamps.
With an ever-increasing array of new control technologies available and many style and colour options for clients to choose from, electrical contractors rely heavily on good product availability from wholesalers across a very wide range of wiring accessories. You cannot always rely on the products you need being available ex-stock. Therefore, if a wholesaler is not offering same-day or next-day availability on a full range they are likely to miss out on orders and risk losing your support.
Further, if the product most suited to an intended application is not readily available there is also a danger that you will purchase a generic item off-the-shelf instead, especially at the ﬁnal ﬁx phase when time is of the essence. Inevitably, this often leads to problems down the line when products fail to perform satisfactorily or fail prematurely, requiring a re-visit to the site to troubleshoot or replace the originally installed item. This is costly in terms of your time and also your reputation. With your own credibility at stake, you want to install the best solution ﬁrst time around and not settle for second best.
Take the increasingly common example of a client asking their electrician to install energy-efficient LED lighting. Through (sometimes bitter) experience, most electrical contractors will have settled on a preferred brand of lamp, and, if the customer is looking for dimmable lighting, a preferred brand of dimmer as well. Unsurprisingly, all LED lighting is not created equal, even if it is described as “dimmable”, and so it is important to select the best dimmer switches for the job in hand. There are many dimmer switch technologies now available but very few deliver consistent results so it’s important for the electrician to have quick and easy access to the best dimmer for the application to avoid signiﬁcant delay and client dissatisfaction.
“Unsurprisingly, all LED lighting is not created equal, even if it is described as ‘dimmable’, and so it is important to select the best dimmer switches for the job in hand.”
Many leading manufacturers have established supply chains that enable next-day delivery of items not generally available on wholesalers’ shelves. Therefore, you should always ask speciﬁcally for and insist on receiving the product you know is best suited to the job.
This is particularly important when new technologies arrive because it is difficult for wholesalers to indentify whether a new product should become a stock item. For example, when Varilight’s V-Pro series LED dimmers were ﬁrst launched it took a while for wholesalers to begin stocking them. The V-Pro dimmer is now our best-selling product and widely available ex-stock. Meanwhile, our new V-Com series dimmers for larger LED loads are new to the market and not yet widely stocked. However, as with all Varilight products they are available on a next-day basis through our well established supply chain.
Ready to go
For contractors, the knowledge that a product is available next-day from your preferred wholesaler enables you to conﬁdently recommend the products you know will be the best ones for your client’s application. Ready stock availability streamlines your business with reduced downtime and site re-visits while enabling you to deliver the optimum solution for the client.
Additionally, in situations where two manufacturers’ products are being used in an application, as in the above case with LED lamps and dimmer compatibility, knowledge is especially important. Many lamp manufacturers have tested their lamps with a range of dimmer switches and list them on their websites. Additionally, dimmer manufacturers may be able to recommend lamps that they know from experience give excellent results every time.
Quite clearly, it is no longer sufficient for manufacturers to have great products; investment is required to develop robust and well-structured supply chains to ensure those products are readily available for contractors to procure on a next-day basis.
You, as contractors, have a vital role to play in this process. It is only by insisting that your preferred wholesaler stocks or can quickly obtain products you know and trust, that they will have them available when you need them. In this way, you are able to respond at short notice and you can increase your credibility with your clients.