JH BERTRAND’S PRICING PHILOSOPHY
JH 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.
“Rock bottom” priced label converters are too busy for good service. They attract all the customers who buy on price alone. The big problem occurs when the companies who need exceptional service don’t understand what they are buying when they pick suppliers by price alone. Often, these companies think that they can demand a high level of service and still get the price. This doesn’t happen. Low priced converters price low because they get business by having thinner margins. A thin margin makes it tough to hire enough staff to give customers proper attention. As a specialty label converter (who doesn’t sell by price alone), we require a lot of steps and checks to make a high-quality product. It 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 often complex so our customers need us to spend time with them to make sure that their jobs are done right.
Operations with less personnel and overburdened customer service reps make more mistakes. Low priced converters counter the lack of accuracy with the guarantee that they will rerun the job if the customer is not satisfied. Sorry, but JH Bertrand customers do not want the job rerun; They want it done right in the first place. Most of our business is based on complex specifications which require zero defects so we don’t ever think about rerunning as a first line strategy of satisfying our customers. We think it must be done right the first time – period! True customer service is about carefully reading purchase orders and asking questions rather than just guessing and running the job. It’s about double checking the shipment method requested when it’s time to ship to save freight charges. It’s about calling the customer during the manufacturing of the label to ask about “something” that doesn’t seem right. Having enough time to spend on the project helps us catch mistakes that can be fixed before the job goes into production saving reruns and your production line from going down.
Another problem you often see with low priced converters is missed delivery dates. Low priced converters have longer lead times because they overbook their schedules. They have to because they need the volume to make thin margins work. They aren’t as concerned about inconveniencing the customer because a low price is so seductive. 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 priced converters will give you the date requested, but often end up asking for a few extra days when the ship date nears. These types of operations turn their customer reps and salespeople into master apologizers because they are always trying to smooth over missed deadlines, and blown customer expectations. Worse, the customers who cannot afford to have their labels arrive late 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 label price. In fact, the freight can be as expensive as the labels themselves. Ouch! It is not uncommon for buyers to miss the fact that relying on expensive freight makes the true label cost much higher than the quoted price. Moreover, what happens when using a faster freight carrier still won’t keep the labels from being late? Your production line goes down. What does that cost? It is often multiples of what the labels cost.
The real shame of picking the commodity label manufacturer is that when the customer finally realizes what they 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 that they now have to switch to the “higher priced” guy (which is really a reasonable price with great service) because they cannot live with the lack of service from the current supplier. This means the buyer and the company are stuck and have to suffer until the pain is too great from mistakes to continue with the current supplier. 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 when the company accepts the fact that they made a mistake can the company be 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 is not to disparage low priced label companies, but to illustrate how price often matches the level of service you receive. Low priced converters have their place in the market and are a good match for certain types of customers. 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 with basic service. 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. It’s critical for your business that the right label supplier that matches your service needs is picked from the beginning.