To sell just a machine or to sell value of the solution using machines?

are you puzzled when a machine with ample specifications and features fails when it hits the market?

Is it more baffling when you are not able to decipher the codes for this technological catastrophe? Was it a flaw in technology or in the adaptability to technology? Was it the cost? Here, one needs to dive deeper to realize that the fault may not necessarily be in the machine — it could be in the market mechanics also.

What drives the market today?

Today, you don’t just sell a machine; you have to sell the value attached to the machine. Gone are the days of conservative market economy where the manufacturer dictated the market trends. The industry is seeing a clear shift from the sellers’ to the buyers’ market. The machine manufacturer has to understand customer needs and undertake market-oriented manufacturing and create a market-centric manufacturing ethos. Going forward, only market-driven companies will be the order of the day.

This does not just stop at manufacturing what your customer wants, but also what extra can you provide. Yes, we are talking about value-added propositions that would attract customers. However, the challenge is that customers today do not readily see value in machine performance, specifications and features. These are things that competition can easily bring out. Customers see value only in terms of profit/loss — can your machine reduce cost? How much can it help increase the revenue?

Do the reality check

Document the value you provide to meet stringent customer demands. And before going out full throttle to face the market, it becomes imperative to assess yourself and ask yourself a few naked truths:

Why should customers buy from me?

Do I bring the value that customers can’t find anywhere else?

Critically appraise yourself before you encounter your market because many customers do not see the difference in the total cost impact between suppliers, other than price and the occasional difference in service. On the other hand, most suppliers fail to show the value they add in reducing total system costs for their customers. The purchasing decision is often based on who will ‘buy the business’ by promising to do everything at the lowest price.

Market your strengths. Show your customers what they stand to gain from their investments made with you. Make them look beyond the machine and see the value they can get through your services, which include everything from emergency response (time to bring back machine on line), MTTR to MTBF. Build the ecosystem of services (handling, logistics, finance, consumables, etc.) that are needed by your customer. Get your numbers right, do the arithmetic and prove to them that the value of services adds to their net profit. This way, you can influence the purchase decision away from stand-alone machine price only.

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T K Ramesh
Whole time Director and CEO
Micromatic Machine Tools Pvt Ltd

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