Our industry has come a long way in recent years. The products have certainly become much more diverse and off a better quality. The technology has advanced a great deal. And for the most part, service from suppliers to installers has generally got better too.
However, one thing that continues to stick in my craw is the lack of a dedicated service engineer at some window and door manufacturers. In 2016, this should be a standard, not an exception to the rule.
Modern day industry standards
I always find it confusing as to why a supplier would not have their own dedicated service engineer. We live in an age now where installers, who are paying top dollar to pay for window and door products to fit into people’s homes, expect their suppliers to be supported with a decent after sales service which comes with a service engineer included.
This should be an industry standard across all established window and door suppliers. Yet it is not. There are however a number of reasons why suppliers should have at least one dedicated service engineer to cover their customers:
Lets face it, there are some pretty dodgy installers out there who will try and blame their suppliers for the numerous mistakes they make. Scratches, scuffs, cracked welds, missing products. You name it, some installers will blame everyone but themselves.
However, if a supplier was able send out an engineer to verify what the issue with the product is and what was the cause, then it may save that company money on repairs or replacements where they perhaps would have been manipulated into paying.
Of course not every installer behaves in such a way. But trust me, it happens.
Home owner awareness
Thanks to the internet home owners have become far more educated about both installers and suppliers, and most fully understand that installer do not make anything and do indeed buy in to install in their homes.
Therefore, a rod has been created for the backs of suppliers because a home owner is now also more likely to understand that if there is a fault with their new windows and doors, it may not in fact be the fault of the installer but the fault of the supplier.
Hence, a dedicated service engineer from a supplier would be able to either rectify a problematic product, or at the very least inspect it and arrange for a replacement. Installers should be able to lean on a service like this to ensure that their relationship with the home owner does not break down.
Time saved for busy installers
As I mentioned in my previous post, installers do not have much time on their hands these days. Their time is spent busily doing what they do best, selling and installing window and door products. They are having to navigate an huge world of new products that is constantly expanding. Add to that a very demanding clientele.
So, they do not want to waste time putting right the mistakes of suppliers. If windows and doors are installed and they have issues, which can sometimes happen, they should be able to call upon the services of their supplier’s engineer to rectify and problem that could have been caused by them in the first place.
Of course, if the installer has dropped the ball and caused a problem, this should not be up to the supplier to put right. Installer’s shouldn’t take advantage. But issues caused higher up the chain should be dealt with by that link in the supply chain.
The cost argument
I don’t buy the argument that some suppliers sometimes use about the cost of employing a service engineer.
Think about it logically. A supplier could in the long run save money if an engineer was employed to rectify product problems on site. The other scenario is that without one, a supplier may be forced to just pay for remakes of products because they wouldn’t have an engineer to accurately assess the situation. Instead they would have to authorise a replacement product. These replacements would add up over the course of a year, and I would have no doubt would cost more than it would to employ a full time engineer.
There are many benefits to both parties when it comes to something like this. And, given that it’s 2016 and our industry’s landscape has changed so much, it would be prudent for every manufacturer to have one.
We have looked into having a dedicated service engineer a few times over the last 3 or 4 years and every time the answer comes back it would not be cost effective for us. The amount of calls we do vs hiring a person full time, training, transport, fuel, additional stock for the van never stacks up. More can be achieved by perfecting quality control (and no, we’re not perfect by any means) and training of both staff and installers. Homeowners should always seek help from the installer as that is who their contract is with not the fabricator (unless… Read more »
In the 30 years that I owned and ran Davies and Tate we always negotiated consequential loss terms with our suppliers i.e. we paid for the repairs/warranty work but passed on the costs to them, we didn’t seek to profit from this activity but didn’t expect to lose money either. Our after sales service procedure gave our suppliers confidence however i.e. we asked our customers for a refundable call out fee.,indeed we took the un cashed cheque out to the customer pinned to the service/warranty request. If it was guarantee work we handed them back the cheque, if it was… Read more »
The only issue we really need the suppliers help with is composite doors.
We have one supplier who goes out and changes the dodgy ones and another supplier who pays us to re-fit new doors that they provide.
I imagine that if a composite door manufacturer went belly up , there would be a fair few installers worrying about warranty costs that may they may be left with!
We’d opt for a supplier with a service team every time over one without. Got ourselves in a few pickles over the years trying to rectify a faulty product. Often takes longer than expected as you’re not fully geared up for certain things. The normal token gesture from the supplier is normally not worth its while, unless you’ve built up a good relationship then things often even out as you’re looked after A recent issue for example, we contacted Doorstop to get a cassette unit changed on a door we fitted 4 yrs ago, DS state they have no service… Read more »