Test and measurement companies hit by recession resist the slowdown with enterprising strategies
By Jesus Milton Rousseau S
Friday, June 19, 2009: Just like other domains, the test & measurement (T&M) market, too, has been hit by recession, primarily on account of project delays and postponement in expansion plans. However, T&M firms have come up with some resourceful strategies in an endeavour to bolster and maintain sales during the slowdown.
1. COST EFFECTIVE PRODUCTS
In an effort to retain a steady stream of sales, enterprises have introduced new and cost effective products with extra features. S R Sabapathi, president, Qmax Test Equipments Pvt Ltd, a T&M equipment manufacturer, says, “We have introduced products like the V250, an automated test equipment (ATE) system, which is very cost effective. Also, Qmax has, for the first time in the world, launched QNImits, a hand held V-I (voltage versus current waveform) tester solution, which is affordable (below Rs 50,000) and can be purchased by any electronics service centre. Last year, such equipment was not available and V-I test systems were in the price range of Rs 100,000 to 200,000.”
Previously, printed circuit board testers and other test solutions like boundary scan tests, microprocessor testers and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) extensions for instrumentation (PXI) were available separately. “Qmax has, for the first time in the industry, launched desktop ATE systems—Qmax V200/V250, with multifunction test strategy approach and brought down the overall cost of investment by 40-50 per cent,” adds Sabapathi.
Ambrish Kela, managing director, Scientech Technologies, a T&M equipment manufacturer, states, “We launched products with more features at reasonable prices. Our newly launched products are Caddo 810—a multifeatured 100-MHz model with a USB interface oscilloscope, Caddo 831—a 30-MHz 2-channel 4-trace digital readout oscilloscope and Caddo 806—a 60MHz oscilloscope. We have models to suit every budget, starting from a handy 10MHz personal oscilloscope to 300MHz digital storage ones.”
Anil G Chowta, director, Falcon Elctro-tek Pvt Ltd, another T&M equipment manufacturer, explains, “In order to boost sales (in the technical training institutes that Falcon caters to), we have amplified the range of our products.”
2. SPECIAL PRICES
A few T&M businesses proffer reduced prices to customers as a means to generate more sales. Vasudev Tantry, general manager, Anritsu Pte Ltd (India branch office), comments, “We are currently offering special prices to customers on select items as well as on product upgrades/renewals. The current prices are 15-20 per cent lesser than last year’s. This is to motivate customers to make prompt decisions on purchases.“
Ajay Goyal, managing director, Megger Ltd, another T&M equipment manufacturer, reveals, “We offer special prices depending on the merit of the situation and our business association with the client’s organisation.”
3. FOCUS ON KEY CUSTOMERS
T&M manufacturers are working more closely with customers as a strategy to retain them. “In this economic scenario, we are primarily working on closing the orders on hand. One of the major steps that we have taken is to focus on key accounts that have the requirements and the funds to buy our equipment. By working closely with our past, present and potential customers, we are hoping to generate high value sales possibilities and close them in our favour in the shortest possible time. To that end, all our distributors and sales people are monitored on a case to case basis in order to assess their sales performance,” volunteers Goyal.
4. EDUCATING CUSTOMERS
A number of companies are educating customers on the merits of possessing quality T&M equipment in contrast to the cheaper variety available in the market. Narendra Goliya, managing director, Rishabh Instruments Pvt Ltd, discloses, “We have started imparting intensive education to end users on the benefits of using quality products, which are accurate, precise, safe, rugged and are backed by our repairing and calibration services. This endeavour will make clients aware that it is beneficial to invest in the right product than to purchase cheap and unsafe equipment a number of times a year. This initiative has not only enabled us to acquire business in difficult times but has also educated customers about the risks of cheap, unsafe products from China.”
Sandeep Sharma, DGM, operations, The Tinsley Group Ltd (India) adds, “This is the time to educate customers on the advantages and superiorities of these products and to enlighten the former on how T&M equipment could be important for them by virtue of suiting their applications and requirements.”
5. REDUCED MOQ
Some players have reduced their minimum orderable quantity (MOQ) as a sales generating mechanism. Swabhanu M V, proprietor, Mithra Electronics, an importer and distributor of T&M instruments, remarks, “Before recession, we witnessed the unprecedented devaluation of the rupee. In only three months, the value of the rupee fluctuated sporadically from less than 39 to more than 52. Therefore, we had to trim our margins drastically and also made the MOQ flexible for customers. Also, we abridged the quantity of our stocks.”
Kela concludes, “Having a vast customer base, prompt services, long warranties, friendly marketing and excellent designs are things that work equally well in good or bad market conditions.”
Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine