Andy Chell Talks Tourism!

| Posted in: Tourism

Lumilow Logo

It suddenly occurred to me that selling lights had become a bit hard really; there must be an easier way of earning a living. I thought long and hard and then eureka, why don’t I decide to open a Bank? How hard can it be, those blokes in the sharp suits seem to do okay out of it. But then I realised that I’d need to go to University, study hard and get my banking qualifications before I could enter an industry that was quite well regulated.

So, quite a few barriers then, not such a great idea. In fact, there are quite a few barriers to entering into most industries. You need experience to be able to have kudos in the industry, qualifications to be able to trade legally.

I know, let’s do away with all of that and allow absolutely anyone to jump on a plane to a trade show in China, buy a few cheap and potentially lethal LED lights and sell them quite legally onto poor unsuspecting customers here in good old Blighty. Now wouldn’t that be awful….. no wait, we already allow that!

They are known as ‘LED Tourists’ and unfortunately there is nothing we can do to stop them. Or is there? Is it not time that clients take some responsibility in stamping out the cowboys?

At Lumilow we pride ourselves on being a responsible company. We invest a lot of money in R&D here in the UK. We have built up strong and trusting relationships with partner manufacturers and some of those are in the Far East. But we know what we’re talking about, we know about the science of light. We’re proud members of the LIA (Lighting Industry Association) and adhere to their guidelines regarding Factory Audits. We spend a vast amount of time building a firm relationship with our suppliers and treat them all as if they are part of our business and that includes our suppliers in China. We have to be certain that staff wellbeing is as good as it possibly can be and that they are treated well and looked after. This comes at a cost to the supplier, but it is the only way that we will trade with them.

You see, the Chinese people are great; absolutely honest and very honourable, providing they are treated with respect. I was at a trade show in Hong Kong recently and I felt utterly embarrassed to be classed as a Westerner. I overheard conversations too numerous to mention where UK and European companies were simply battering the Chinese Manufacturers for the cheapest price. CE certificates? Nah, don’t worry about all that malarkey. Quality and branded components? Pah, customers won’t open them up so who cares? Anyway, once they are fitted who will ever be bothered with stuff such as warranties, we’ll be long gone by then!

Sound far-fetched? Unfortunately, not. We are operating in an unregulated industry where anyone can sell cheap LED lights. Even electricians are getting in on the act. Just because they have fitted a few lights, suddenly they are LED experts.

So China is bad, right? Actually no, there are a vast number of Chinese Manufacturers who are superb quality. But they work closely with our designers. It must be remembered that in China they will give you whatever price you want. In the UK, if we are asked for a better price, our natural reaction is to consider our margin in the overall mix. That is not the philosophy in China. If you want a cheaper price, they will de-engineer the product, simple as that. They will give you whatever price you want to pay, but buy cheap and you’ll get cheap.

Caveat Emptor, buyer beware, has never been more apt than in this market. A major UK retailer decided that they could buy best by going to China themselves and buying LED lamps for fitting in their stores. The consequences were pretty predictable really. Buy cheap, buy twice.

There is a vast difference in the price of LED luminaires and to the buyer, the confusion is immense. It is natural and human nature to be drawn towards the cheapest price but the cheapest price is not always the best value. At Lumilow we follow a very simple philosophy called the 3E’s. Everything that we offer has to be the most Efficient, Effective and Economic. Only when it passes this test will we offer it to our customers.

It’s not hard really is it? So why don’t others do that?