Staying closer to home delivers value
20 January 2022
An important issue that will be interesting to watch on the route to net zero is how far environmentally aware organisations will be recognised and rewarded by customers who choose to do business with them as a result.
As mentioned earlier on the blog there are several conundrums. One is that the purchase price of a greener product might be slightly more expensive than another but will work out as better value in the long term because of its greater longevity, decreased running expenses and reduced whole life costs overall.
Compounding the issue is the extent to which society has largely embraced a throwaway culture, with many manufacturers wedded to the idea of inbuilt obsolescence to ensure repeat sales.
Such a situation was expressed neatly when I spoke to Stuart Archer, managing director of PostPullers (UK) which makes the Fence Master and Barrier Master machines for quickly removing posts and barriers.
“We exhibited at a trade show towards the end of last year. Someone came on to the stand, looked at our products and said they could get them made more cheaply in factories on the other side of the world. We manufacture in the West Midlands.
“I told them it’s about more than the lowest bottom line price. Yes, we could maximise profits at all costs in the short term, but our approach is more environmentally friendly without shipping steel halfway across the world. It also gives jobs to local people,” said Stuart, who used to work for his family’s hire business, Archer Plant, before it was sold in the 1990s to M&J Hire Centres.
“We find that we are selling more machines to customers on grounds of sustainability. For example, our standard policy now is to supply products on a pallet without shrink-wrap unless it is specifically requested, and this also helps to reduce the client’s carbon footprint.”
Stuart also says that the machines are designed to last longer, perform reliably and, as a result, gain a good reputation encouraging more sales. “We have replaced plastic bushes on equipment with steel ones, for example. It costs a little more to make but they last longer and can ultimately be recycled.”
Consumers have to realise the importance of whole life costs, emphasising the difference between short term cost and long term value.
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