Commentary

Commentary - 13 Aug 2019

Does loyalty remain valid in today’s cut throat business environment?

 
By Jonathan Smith, Sales Director
Commentary author

By Jonathan Smith

Sales Director

In the ever-changing construction industry, and the increasing liability costs should companies fail to perform and/or meet deadlines, is there any place for the concept of loyalty in our industry today?

When contractors, manufacturers or service companies bid for projects just how secure is their supply chain? Is it robust enough to see them through the project lifecycle, the project guarantees, warranties and retention periods? Loyalty in a business sense is the ability of a company to retain customers over a sustained period of time. Loyalty to a company, or brand is where most of us would like our business to be. Customers choose you because you are the business best placed to meet their overall needs before, during and after the products have been delivered and/or installed.

Generating loyalty with your customers is not easy. It takes hard work and absolute commitment from the top of the organisation. In a competitive market you are trying to manage the tipping point between cost, quality and service. Is it possible to be the cheapest, best quality and provide the highest service levels? This is highly unlikely, therefore it’s a trade-off between what you and your customers value most and prioritise.

Very rarely can any business supply best quality at lowest price. High service levels require investment in processes and people. Investment requires capital which in turn requires a return. The cycle of cost, quality and service is not going to result in any business being top dog in all three categories.

Where does this leave us regarding the concept of loyalty? We continually ask ourselves how can we generate loyalty from our customers? Share best practice, build a strong partnership and share our investment plans to demonstrate that we are willing to align our business with theirs. In other words, what value-add do we bring to the table?

Balmoral Tanks operates in the wastewater, renewables and clean water markets globally as a design, manufacture and install contractor for storage tanks. We operate in what we believe is a ‘niche’ market, meaning we are one of maybe only three to four companies worldwide that carry our scope of capabilities and product range. On occasion, we witness newcomers who preach ‘world class’ and ‘market leading’ before a bat has even been struck.

Of course, new competitors are vital to the lifeblood and continuity of any market. However, starting a business from scratch means they will certainly be unable to tick the cost, quality and service boxes. They will likely launch on the cost element and pitch the price low to enable them to win work. Rather predictable, and if our industry valued “loyalty” then the newcomers would find it difficult to get a foothold in the market. Aggressive pricing is one thing but how do the newcomers address the issues of quality and service over the lifetime of a project?

No company has the right to any order; all business is won on merit. Loyalty is built on what you do as a company and not what you say. Loyalty takes time, commitment and investment. Don’t underestimate the positive aspects of your current customer/supplier relationships. The times when a supplier met, or exceeded, an expectation; the time a supplier went beyond their contractual liabilities to deliver a service or gave you an edge that allowed you to secure a major project.

These are the traits of loyalty. Loyalty is not found on any supplier approval questionnaire or during official audits. Loyalty comes down to a more traditional way of treating people and doing business and we believe it retains a firm and valued place in long-lasting, successful commercial relationships.

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RELATED INFORMATION

Balmoral Tanks Ltd
Contact us | Locations
Registered number SC300656

Potable/non-potable and firefighting water storage
+44 (0)208 665 4100 | Email us

Anaerobic digestion, WWT and processing storage solutions
+44 (0)1226 340370 | Email us

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+44 (0)1246 472631 | Email us

Technical services
+44 (0)1443 235170 | Email us

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