Price and strength go hand in hand.

THERE is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper…
John Ruskin

It’s a common situation during sales; the customer says: “I need a better price to move”. The seller may be clear on the price to beat but not the product supplied. That is the nature of the corrugated market.

Designing corrugated boards to contain less fibre makes sense. It cuts the direct and indirect environmental impact of the product. It lowers costs with the proviso that performance remains the same.

How do you know what you are buying?

The industry taxonomy relies on nominal weights to describe board grades. As manufacturers reduce materials, actual and nominal weights diverge. CEPI standards address the problem in part. They specify the required values for each type of paper at a given weight. This should translate to board properties such as Edge Crush resistance. But in practice, it can be more complex.

So whilst the price is often known, the product may not.

Managing customer engagements to challenge an existing supplier is an everyday situation. What is the best approach? Should you probe for the current spec? If you get the nominal board grade, what does it represent, and how do you quote like for like?

Ruskin’s Law
“It’s unwise to pay too much…but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

One way is to begin at the beginning. If there were no current products, the conversation would be different. It would be about requirements and solutions. By showing customers the options, you can level the playing field. You can move the conversation from matching to an unknown spec and focus on the best choice. What delivers the ideal price performance? Strength and cost is a trade-off. Helping customers compare builds trust.

Yet widening the conversation needs managing. It needs to be quick and complete in the available window. It needs to be simple and avoid the ‘too difficult’ box. You must be able to do your cardboard calculations at the speed of light.

Imagine for a moment your competitors had costs available instantly. Suppose they could do strength calculations on demand. Or show options that were cheaper or stronger. How would you compete?

Or better still, imagine you could do that. How would they compete with you?

Fancy a discussion about cardboard calculations done the way? Get in touch.

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