3 Signs Your Supplier is a Market Reactor Rather Than an Innovator – And Why You Should Care

By Tim Cloutier, Area Vice President of Sales-East

Today’s research environment is fast and competitive. That’s why it can be especially frustrating when suppliers become complacent about staying ahead of the challenges you face, both now and in the future. Here are 3 common signs that your supplier isn’t focused on your long-term strategic needs . . .

1. The Status Quo Defender:
Reacts to innovation rather than driving it.

“Innovators” become students of their markets and lead the way to positive change. With change, comes new and better ways to solve problems. This stands in stark contrast to those who repackage existing technology and extend performance parameters in reaction to market competitiveness. When an innovator drives the market with a superior solution, it poses a threat to other “status quo” providers, who must then seek ways to respond. Innovators have the vision and courage to change the market, while the status quo simply reacts. Innovation is the lifeblood of competitive advantage and your suppliers should be your trusted advisors on this journey. Ask yourself, “Who are the thought-leading suppliers who are advancing my industry?”

Ultra-low cooling technology saw little improvement for decades, until the innovative free-piston Stirling engine was introduced to the ULT freezer market by Stirling Ultracold. While we applaud the energy-efficiency enhancements applied to cascade ULT freezers technology since then, this has been a reaction that does not address the fundamental vulnerabilities of compressor-based systems.

2. The Naysayer:
Focuses only on associating fear with the risks of change rather than the benefits.

Innovators often find themselves sorting through distorted claims and attacks from incumbents who seek to defend the current balance. Defenders of the status quo will position themselves as the “devil you know”, even seeding the market with unsupported doubts and myths about the new innovation. They will often go to the greatest lengths to protect their turf. A stagnant market only benefits the old guard, while the customer is best served by growth and continuous progress. Ask yourself, “Which of my suppliers seem more focused on discrediting competitive solutions than finding their own solutions to my long-term needs?”

As a true ultra-low temperature storage technology innovator, Stirling Ultracold is confident in the tangible value that customers gain from our innovation and quality. That’s why we’re able to focus on delivering these advantages to our customers rather than discrediting our competitors.

3. The Discounter:
Commoditizes long-term customer value and positive strategic impact.

A company that sells solely on price is offering a commodity with no differentiation or added customer value. A commodity supplier doesn’t win your trust by enabling tomorrow’s growth or protecting your strategic advantage. Instead, they seek to close the sale by employing another telltale sign of a short-sighted supplier- the price drop. This is made possible by sizable margins that often characterize legacy technology, as it gets commoditized over years of manufacturing scale, component cost downs and sourcing from low-cost regions. Ask yourself this question, “Which trusted suppliers talk about long-term strategic value and which vendors center the conversation on price?”

Another part of our innovation at Stirling Ultracold is educating customers to a better way of thinking about ULT freezer added value, rather than just costs. Looking at the bigger picture, our customers save far more money by reducing ULT operating costs and maintenance than seeking the deepest discount. Even better, they’re not placing their priceless biological samples at risk by buying from the lowest bidder!

The best suppliers understand your unique needs and growth strategies well enough to become a trusted advisor and partner. Some suppliers never become more than just vendors. Choosing the right provider will provide value-added benefits and a strategic advantage for your operation, along with a longer-term view of your bottom line.