JH Bertrand's Pricing PhilosophyJH Bertrand offers reasonable prices somewhere in the middle of the competitive spectrum so that you...and we get a good deal. You benefit because we can hire enough excellent people to ensure that you get great customer service, reliable delivery and solid quality.
The label business can be a very competitive place. Most label companies know that trying to win business by offering the low price is an exercise in futility so being somewhere in the middle is a good deal for both the label company and the customer. Unfortunately, there are those in our industry who sell by price alone. Let's face it, it's not rocket science to understand that a low price is very attractive to many buyers. It's faster and simpler to get a sale with a low price strategy. You do not need to talk about service because price is king. And, at the end of the day, the buyer gets to show that he/she is saving money. Everybody is happy right? Well, not if you look at the big picture.
(1) In the label business, the "rock bottom" pricers are too busy. They attract all the customers who buy on price alone which is an obvious fact that everybody knows. The big problem occurs when the companies who need service are also attracted to the low pricers. Often, these companies think that they can demand the service and still get the price. This doesn't happen. Low pricers are low pricers because they get business by having thin margins. A thin margin makes it tough to hire enough staff to give customers enough attention. The specialty label business that JH Bertrand leads in takes a lot of people to make things work well... well trained customer reps, engineers, quality inspectors, top-notch pressman and etc to be successful. Our projects are complex so our customers need us to spend time with them to make sure the job is done right. Operations with less personnel and overburdened customer service reps make more mistakes. Low pricers counter the lack of customer service with the guarantee that they will rerun the job if the customer is not satisfied. Well, our customers do not want the job rerun. They want it done right in the first place.
(2) The second problem you often see is missed delivery dates. Low pricers have longer lead times because they overbook their schedules. They have to because they need the volume to make thin margins work. I believe that they sincerely want to make the delivery dates that are requested, but often reality (and the volume strategy) gets in the way because your job is competing with so many others. Low pricers will give you the date requested, but often end up asking for a few extra days at the end. These types of operations turn their customer reps and sales people into master apologizers because they are always trying to smooth over missed deadlines, expensive freight options and blown customer expectations. Worse, the customers who cannot miss a deadline are often forced to use very expensive freight options to ensure that their production line is not shut down. The rush freight costs often completely negate the cost savings from the low price. In fact, the freight can be as expensive as the labels themselves. Ouch!
The big problem when buyers review the low price is that they often see a unit price that looks good on a spreadsheet, but miss the total cost picture of using a supplier that may be relying on expensive freight to compensate for slower delivery. If you've got the time to wait, the low pricer might work for you. To be honest, it does for some.
(3) Lousy customer service. It's not the customer service rep's fault. It's the system. If you need to process "x" amount of jobs to make the volume strategy work, you only have so much time to get the job right before you have to move on. JH Bertrand's typical customer would never accept that. The specifications we work with are highly detailed. Job particulars change frequently. Artwork is often very complex. Low pricers are very busy and short staffed. True customer service is about carefully reading purchase orders and asking questions rather than just running the job. It's about calling when it's time to ship to double check the method of shipment instructed on the purchase order. It's about calling the customer during the run when somebody sees something that doesn't seem right. Having enough time to spend on the project helps you catch mistakes that can be fixed before the job goes into production. What is it worth to get the job on time without mistakes without constantly checking to see if the delivery is going to be made?..a lot more than today's number crunchers understand or will admit. Those in accounting do not often see the real pain and costs associated with buying the low price. Think of the wear and tear on purchasing executives who have to spend more of their time managing the low price manufacturers..not to mention the worry that comes along with it.
The real shame of picking the commodity label manufacturer is that when the customer realizes what they really got with the low price, it's too late to go back. The price is now a rock solid fixture in the MRP system. Nobody is going to go to their boss and say we have to pick the higher priced guy (which is really a reasonable price with great service) because we cannot live with the lack of service from the current supplier. This means the buyer and the company have to suffer until the pain is too great from mistakes which forces the company to change. A lot of money can be lost between the supplier selection time and the time the company realizes that they have picked the wrong supplier to meet the need. Only at that time is the company freed from the commodity trap.
JH Bertrand offers true value* (and a great ROI) by providing a fair "middle of the competitive road" price with bulletproof reliability, on time delivery using standard freight methods, solid quality and enough personnel to give your job the attention it needs.
*Note: The point of this article isn't to disparage low priced label companies. They have their place in the market and match up to certain types of customers well. The problem is that sometimes price blinds people from understanding what they are really buying. Bulletproof reliability and solid customer service are going to cost more than a rock bottom price can support. Picking the middle of the road price still gives you a good price, but you also get the reliability, quality and delivery you need. If you need this type of peace of mind and high level service, then please consider JH Bertrand.