I've been in the environmental industry for over 20 years, working at every level in the sales process. In that time, I've seen a great deal of innovation where products and the applications of those products are concerned.
But, I haven't seen many changes and certainly little innovation on the sales, or product acquisition side. Here's what I've seen, and what I'm doing about it.
Let's start at the beginning—someone has identified a need for an industrial absorbent product. It could be an end-user with a spill who needs something immediately to address an urgent requirement.
Or, it might be some early planning to build an on-site inventory of items that either are required on an ongoing basis or items that are expected to be needed in the event of a spill.
What is all too prevalent in this process is that the first step the buyer takes is to pull a catalog off the shelf or browse the Internet. After a little bit of searching, depending on the limited time available, they order something that they feel meets their needs.
In this process, they've done some purchase price review and, no doubt, selected the lowest priced option. Here's what they typically have not done:
- Assessed the product's suitability to their specific requirements.
- Reviewed the total requirements including delivery, inventory, application, and disposal. And don't forget regulatory compliance.
- As a result, they have not factored in all the critical factors—both financial and application costs, plus environmental factors.
Often the buyer or end-user seeking a solution doesn't have the expertise in absorbents to make the right choices across a wide array of options. Furthermore, the most attractive options from a cost perspective don't actually save money over the full cycle of use, but may even lead to further problems as they don't really suit the need.
There's a Better Way
The better approach can only come from tapping the available expertise to guide your choices and help you consider all the factors at play in this purchase decision.
The first step is to get the right item for the application. As just one example, I wrote about Environmentally Sound Spill Containment in Safety + Health Magazine. In that article, I discussed using pails to collect drips or using oil-only sorbent pads, pillows, booms, or socks to collect the oil before it reaches a walkway. However, if the location is windy or has high precipitation, pails can become full while any lightweight products can blow away or become saturated too quickly.
In that scenario, you not only have the cost of frequently replacing the lightweight product but you also have the cost of your workers monitoring the situation and making the necessary replacement when needed. Then you further have additional disposal issues.
Use Our Expertise
The above example is a perfect representation of what needs to change in the sales process. It isn’t a matter of selecting the cheapest option when you write the purchase order. It's a matter of considering all the costs, from beginning to end and not just out-of-pocket expenses, but staff time and environmental, as well as regulatory, issues.
As manufacturers of these absorbents, we've done the research on what works and what doesn't for each particular application. We've considered all the aspects around application and use as well as disposal. We've, essentially, become experts at addressing the very pain points you're trying to solve.
But, for any buyer, we recognize that the array of products available is simply staggering. We also know that the amount of time the buyer has to select, ship, and deploy the product is very, very limited.
That's why it's important to build relationships with manufacturers. They have the expertise with their specific products. They can help you address the problem with the right product, while taking into account the long list of cost factors that will accrue from your customers' purchase selection.
Make your customers' purchase decision the right decision. One that takes into account all the following:
- Right product for the application.
- In compliance with OSHA and EPA regulations.
- Cost is considered throughout: selection, application and use, and disposal.
We can help educate your team on those decisions and factors to consider. Tap our expertise in manufacturing and applying industrial absorbents.
Use our contact page or call us at 888-653-7509.