At the beginning of the week I wrote a post which explored the idea that in the coming years, installers will have to start offering a lot more material choice as diversity and demand continue to increase. But it occurred to me while writing that post, and a comment from Ultraframe’s Mark Hanson thought similar, installer loyalty to their fabricators might be tested as more and more niche products come to market.

A strain on loyalties

In reality, fabricators love it if their installer customer buy as many of their products from them. The more they buy from them, the less they buy from other suppliers. It keeps the fabricator-installer relationship strong, and the money going in the right direction.

But times have changed. There are a lot more niche products now coming to market from all sorts of directions. And these new niche markets are coming and stealing the attentions of installers that are on the look out to expand their product range and grab some aggressive growth.

Unfortunately fabricators cannot supply every product niche on earth. It’s just not possible. So for installers to scratch their itch and start selling the latest innovations, it means they may have to look elsewhere to source the product they need.

This naturally can sometimes put a strain on the relationship. Deep down no fabricator likes it when their installers dual-source. They would much rather they buy everything from them. But in a modern industry this is not the case, and fabricators should understand that, and I’m sure most do.

Good for business

It’s not all bad news though. Competition in any industry is a good thing. It is what drives a sector forward. So this onslaught from pretty much everyone bringing out new product means that our industry has never been as advanced as it has done right now.

This is good news for two parties: installers and home owners. Installers get to provide a varied and high quality range of products to home owners, hopefully putting them at an advantage of their lesser competitors. It’s good news for home owners as they get more choice, more variability, meaning they can pick something properly unique for them.

In a way all this competition is a good thing for fabricators. It keeps them on their toes. It doesn’t allow them (at least the good ones) to sit back and think all is well while the industry is racing forward around them.

A challenge for fabricators

But all of this does pose a challenge for fabricators. They know that installers are now willing to look to all areas of the industry in order to choose products right for them as they seek to grow. So, what do fabricators do?

It’s very simple. They need to look at expanding their product offerings in line with what their installer’s needs are. They need to go to their client base and ask on a regular basis what they need from them. From there they need to constantly adapt their portfolio to reflect a quickly changing industry environment.

The fabricators that adapt to change will not only maximise the mutual benefits of their existing installer customers, but will also steal a few from their competitors to!

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