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View Full Version : Manufacturers - Hypothesis/ Fact?


eskerlite
02-27-2008, 03:58 PM
I am wondering if many Manufacturers poll Contractors and Distributors about what they want in a fixture or transformer or do they predict the market/want to change the market with their products and decisions. I would think many manufacturers would want to know what the most sold fixtures are and at what price the contractors can get in their region.
I am not saying they dont do this, I would like to discuss it a little more. Most of my field recommendations to manufacturers go unheard. How many Contractors have had much input with their manufacturers? I know what kind of relationship NS has with its contractors in general and how in depth they will go to create for you but what about the others? Just polling Us Lawnsite lighting nerds would bring alot of efficiency to the industry.
Sean C.

Pro-Scapes
02-27-2008, 04:09 PM
Some have said in the past Kichler listens but the only one I have experience with that did this is Coppermoon.

Doug Shumate took several contractors out for a weekend and seriously listened as we went over a majority of his line. He took this to the drawing board and now the fixtures show the changes we all agreed needed to be made and he also developed a new fixture at the recomendation of a few contractors. That coupled with the fact he did not push his line all weekend and only wanted to hang out and get to know alot of us was absolutly outstanding. He has even restocked himself to make leads in the way a few oh us asked for. Now thats service.

I cant speak about the late great Bill Locklin but I did hear he was constantly listening to what guys wanted and delivering on that. If you wanna do it right you better listen to your customers. Unique seems to do the same thing as well. Joey is listening about the shroud talk in the t6 thread.

barefeetny
02-27-2008, 05:17 PM
Very new here but the rep for vista said almost everything in their line was customizable.... he had a very tall walkway light that was much shorter. that they they were making just for 1 contractor for a few years who kept requesting them, before offering it as a standard offering

he said " if you guys want something just call and we can figure it out.. he also said you could call the owner at the factory and BS half the day away"...

common sense to me that if guys are figuring out new applications and designs....and are willing to pay for them...then someone smart will make them..

Chris J
02-27-2008, 06:48 PM
A couple of times per year, Kichler will fly several of us out to their corporate headquarters for a round-table of sorts. They do this to get feedback from the field, and find out from us what we want them to do better. They get lots of input, and I have seen a few of my recommendations come to light (so to speak). Kichler is a very large organization, however, so I'm sure they will never make everyone happy.

klkanders
02-27-2008, 07:16 PM
Chris, Care to share what some of your ideas were? If not tell me to shut-up and mind my own business.

Chris J
02-27-2008, 07:56 PM
Chris, Care to share what some of your ideas were? If not tell me to shut-up and mind my own business.

One of them was the knuckle (pivot point) on the 15361 wall wash. It used to be very weak, and now it's more robust. Another is the whole harp assembly on the 15443 path light. Several changes have been made (not sure you have seen all of them yet) but there are still a couple more that I'd like to see implemented. The big issue with this light, which is still not resolved, is the grommet inside the shade which receives the harp assembly. This is an extremly weak point, and must be changed. If the shade is bent, and then straighted, you are likely to see the grommet pop right out of the shade leaving you to use some kind of epoxy to weld it back in (or take it in for warranty replacement).
Now shut up and mind your own business! :laugh:

Chris J
02-27-2008, 07:59 PM
Oh! Another suggestion of mine that was implemented was the integration of the multi-tap transformer with tilted terminal lugs and flip up door. That was my idea ya know. I also invented stranded cable......

Dreams To Designs
02-28-2008, 10:35 AM
Last week while at MAHTS in Atlantic City i was asked by one of the lighting manufacturers to share some of my ideas on his line. We talked at great length about his product and I offered many suggestions for improvements and even introduced him to another small manufacturer that is doing a nice job on improving on existing products. Later that day when I was having a sandwich and a beer with one of the reps of the lighting manufacturer, he wanted t know what I had said to the owner. He stated after I left the booth, he was writing down all sorts of notes and making calls to the factory to ask if some of the ideas were possible and what it would take to implement the ideas.

The only way we as designers or installers will grow is with professional critiques and education, and the same goes for manufacturers. The good manufacturers will respond to the needs of their clients as well as keep up with trends in the market. This should be a symbiotic relationship, where both sides benefit and grow.

Next week I will be attending a Vista advanced class by invitation of the instructor. He has asked me to attend the class and take part in class discussions as well as critique the program with him at the conclusion. From what i understand, this instructor is very good, but he still feels the need to improve.

Kirk

irrig8r
02-28-2008, 10:40 AM
Sean,
Nightscaping has kind of a focus group of contractors whose suggestions and complaints seem to be listened to....

Weren't you once a member of that group?

NightScenes
02-28-2008, 11:41 AM
I would just confirm what Chris J. said. Kichler does fly some contractors out to their headquarters in Cleveland and we give feedback on everything from their lighting products to the catalogs. We have seen several changes over the years in both.

eskerlite
02-28-2008, 05:42 PM
Yes I was a member of that group.
Sean C.

JoeyD
02-29-2008, 10:24 AM
I am the voice of the customer. We have made changes just due to comments made hear on lawnsite. I take calls everyday from guys with Ideas and have thoughts on how we can improve different prodcts. The latest was a black out plate for the top of our Orion Sconce lights to make it just a down light if you chiosse vs. an up and down. I proposed it to our product design team and I think we already have some brass samples being created. All of our products are developed and engineered according to the contractors needs. Everything from putting wire on the fixture to lenses and, brackets and staks being all in the box along with a lamp. Back when we started doing that most companie just provided the light with no stake and no lamp and of course no wire. We like to think we forced most of our competiton to change that. But of course that all came from the installers. We are always open to having ideas thrown our way and we have the proper system in place to filter all of those calls and ideas right to our product team to review every week. Nate holds his annual meeting for the IAALL and they have a round table discussion to discuss the industry and, products, and Unique product improvement and needs.

I am sure most manufacturers do the same things as I think it would be pretty dumb to not listen to your customers needs and feedback.

Chris J
02-29-2008, 09:33 PM
If I may Joey, I'd like to offer a suggestion to Unique while I'm thinking about it.
I think the fact that you guys include all the lenses/louvers/lamps with the fixtures is great, but I think it is pure waste. It's no secret that your line is on the more expensive side, and I think that cost could be greatly reduced by not including all these accessories with each fixture. I buy my lamps in bulk quantities from a private supplier, therefore, I have no need to purchase your lamps at (probably) a higher price point. Additionally, I don't always need any type of lens or louver with a fixture and I would rather purchase those items separately as needed.
My suggestion is to get rid of this practice, and reduce the cost of your line in general. This is just my own personal opinon however.

Lite4
02-29-2008, 10:03 PM
I would ditto that Chris. I love that feature, but I have a ton of lenses just lying around my garage that I didn't need on that particular install. I always order lensing on a particlular item if I need it. I also agree I could move more of the odyssey line if the price point was just a bit lower. I love the lights, but price (especially in our present economy), is becoming a big sticking point with a lot of my prospects. I am having to put them into a mid grade line just to keep the costs down to where they are comfortable. I had one tell me the other day, if I had come to install early last year they would not have even blinked at the price of the higher quality line of lights or my (Best quality) offering.

JoeyD
03-03-2008, 09:43 AM
If I may Joey, I'd like to offer a suggestion to Unique while I'm thinking about it.
I think the fact that you guys include all the lenses/louvers/lamps with the fixtures is great, but I think it is pure waste. It's no secret that your line is on the more expensive side, and I think that cost could be greatly reduced by not including all these accessories with each fixture. I buy my lamps in bulk quantities from a private supplier, therefore, I have no need to purchase your lamps at (probably) a higher price point. Additionally, I don't always need any type of lens or louver with a fixture and I would rather purchase those items separately as needed.
My suggestion is to get rid of this practice, and reduce the cost of your line in general. This is just my own personal opinon however.


Our new price list has these changes in it. You can now order our lights with wire or no wire, with lamp or no lamp. Lenses do not cost us much so we still throw them in. Other manufacturers charge you up the wazoo for lenses. Sometimes $5 a piece.