I began my professional life way back in 1976. We’re now towards the end of 2015.
That means nearly 39 years of experience in the hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder industry.
Mapping the market thoroughly is the backbone of an overall business and marketing/sales strategy, therefore, being the first post of this specialized category, I believe it is useful to make a sort of recap of how the market is made up, of its players and its dynamics.
Nowadays the hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder industry is controlled by two main types of customers:
- Hydraulic/Pneumatic Equipment manufacturers
- Hydraulic/Pneumatic Cylinder manufacturers
Before taking a look more in detail at each of them, I just want to make a preliminary observation.
The use of Hydraulic/Pneumatic Equipment can be found in a wide range of sectors, for instance:
- Material Handling
- Marine & Offshore
Equipment manufacturers encompass large multinational corporations, medium-sized companies, down to small producers with local interests only. The key question for any marketing strategy to answer is: do equipment manufacturers produce their own cylinders or are they supplied by cylinder manufacturers, the second group?
This is the very starting point. A smart customer database is structured according to this criteria and, like this, it provides an exact picture of the market.
Now let’s see how the two customer types differ from one another:
- EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS PRODUCING THEIR OWN CYLINDERS
The requirements imposed by these customers are typically: detailed technical specifications, audit of the production facilities, sample inspection for homologation. If these criteria are met, a regular business relationship can be established. Doing business with this type of customers means supplying a specific and limited range of products and sizes, depending on the area where the equipment is used in. Long-term supply contracts are common and variations in executions and quantities are known very much in advance before implementation. In case of relationship with the very big players, production forecasts can span over several years.
- HYDRAULIC/PNEUMATIC CYLINDER MANUFACTURERS
This group of customers supplies the equipment manufacturers who do not produce their own cylinders.
They might specialize in certain application areas or cover all types. In terms of requirements, they generally meet the standard material specifications, they usually cover the full range of sizes and executions and their delivery timeframe must be tight and prompt. Larger producers usually determine supply contracts on a yearly basis and align them in the light of production forecasts of their main customers. They rarely are involved in spot business.
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If you have any comments, input or observations, feel free to share them here. I’d be happy to know your thoughts.