When the electronic automation outfit was founded many years ago, its engineers had led the world developing high-technology products that helped its customers create a slew of innovative machines.
But as the company grew, so its customers became more sophisticated. Many of them realised that they could no longer build machines by buying products from numerous vendors to integrate into their products – there was simply too much overhead involved.
So more than just a few of them decided to cut back on the number of suppliers they purchased their components from, reducing them to a key number that could provide most of the automation components that they required.
Having seen the writing on the wall, the management of the large electronic automation manufacturer decided upon a cunning approach to ensure that it would always remain one of the key suppliers chosen for any automation job.
To do so, it formed alliances with many smaller manufacturers of automation equipment, rebranding the products that it produced as its own. In that way, it could offer an even more comprehensive line-up of products without going through the arduous process of developing each and every product itself.
While the new strategy clearly saved the automation company a lot of money in research, it also ensured that its customers would receive an extraordinary range of products from one supplier, safe in the knowledge that they could call on a single source to fix any problems that might arise.
I’m pleased to say that everyone benefited from the new arrangement. Even the companies whose intellectually property was rebranded by the larger electronic automation manufacturer saw their sales skyrocket owing to the fact that they were able to access a wide distribution channel through their relationship with the larger manufacturer.
There was, however, just one minor problem with the new deal – the large electronic automation manufacturer’s sales representatives, and even its technical sales engineers, were so far removed from the new product research and development pipeline that they were almost incapable of discussing any future products that might be under development with their customers.
Not only were they not sufficiently expert to discuss the technology in any detail, since they had been instructed not to divulge the names of any technical contacts at the manufacturers whose products the company had rebranded, their customers were left in the dark too.
One might have thought that the situation would have proved to be a great opportunity for new start-up companies to make some inroads into the large automation vendor’s business. But sadly, that was not the case – because they did not appear on any preferential customer lists, it was hard for the little guys to get a break. Unless, of course, they struck up their own rebranding deal with the electronic automation giant themselves.
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