Hidden Benefits of Partnership

Today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving AV/IT world encompasses many different market verticals across a range of technologies. Although every company is different, one thing is true of them all: it’s next to impossible for most companies to do everything to keep up with the rate of change.

Company leaders make strategic choices about what to do internally or externally, and where they need help and guidance. This is where a strong partnership with an OEM/ODM manufacturer can offer benefits far beyond just delivering a product. So whether you’ve worked with an OEM partner for years, or are just recently considering the possibility, take a fresh look at an OEM relationship. Because here’s the bottom line – no matter how big you are, you never have enough resources. OEMs can fill in the gaps.

Leverage Available Resources to Grow

There are a number of business situations particularly suited to leverage the strengths of your OEM partner, rather than doing the heavy lifting yourself.

Here are some to consider:

Sometimes companies do work in related industries, but need some AV/IT pieces to round out their product offering. For example, we’ve done work with a company whose core competency is developing new and creative ways to stamp out metal. They have a following across a number of industries, so as a result they developed a need for some AV/IT products related to their core business within a segment of these industries.

Are there products related to what you do that could be an extra revenue stream for your business? Consult with an OEM to guide you toward appropriate products, and to also advise you how best to market them to your clients.

Marketing a custom product is sometimes simply a matter of having a great idea that needs developing. All companies have unique specialties and applications in the marketplace, and it’s not uncommon to think “If only there were product that does this……” Work with an ODM, who already has manufacturing capabilities in place, to make your great idea a reality.

Fill in the gaps for your natural audience. Add incremental business where you can. There are different tiers and types of customers – some buy a lot of one SKU, and some buy multiple SKUs. Distributors and large integrators are looking for ways to have their own brand. Doing so gives companies more control over their destiny, more say in product design, and also builds brand awareness.

When you can develop a deep relationship with your customer, and not have to send them elsewhere for one or two things you don’t have, you build trust.

If you’ve been successful with a particular product category and want to extend your offering, but don’t have the internal resources for the expansion, your OEM can take an existing product and expand your offerings within that line. The beauty of an OEM is there are many ways you can work together. You can white label a stock product with your brand, or you may choose to develop a more customized solution.

Always take time to explore the R&D capabilities of your partner to be sure they are up for the challenge. There should be a strong engineering team with an emphasis on product design.

Think Differently About Your OEM/ODM Partner

When you work everyday with the same products, it’s easy to get complacent. To help you think differently, here are some good conversations to have with an OEM/ODM partner.

How can I embed new technologies into existing products?

Look at ways to develop new related products. Next generation and improved functionality of existing products is a natural progression. A strong OEM/ODM keeps you at the cutting edge and forefront of technology, no matter what your field.

– I’m ready to get creative with budget and bandwidth. Think outside the box – the sky is the limit. You can move into new verticals and improve your flow of information to customers with the right partner. People can use technology today in ways we never thought possible even 3 years ago, so ask your OEM/ODM how they can help.

– Seek a relational, not a transactional, approach to the partnership. There are lots of companies who make great products. A relational partner should move beyond manufacturing capabilities to become a trusted advisor who will support you long term in other, less obvious ways. When you have a partner who intimately knows your companies and its goals, they can provide valuable guidance. Of course, you’ll want to execute an NDA first.

– Strategize growth for the next year, 3 years, and five years with a strong partner. Your ideal partner should be able to help you plan a growth trajectory. That means they should have strong industry knowledge across a range of disciplines and be actively involved in industry associations to keep abreast of developments.

Whether you are currently working with an OEM/ODM, or if it’s just something you’ve thought about, there are ways to leverage that relationship that you may not have considered. Viewing your OEM/ODM as a true partner in positioning your business for growth can be the differentiator that carries your business to the next level.