War of supplies

Singapore 6th February 2012

One of our greatest challenges as lighting designers is getting the lights that we want. We can all dream about the lighting effects and the beautiful light fittings that we would like to see installed but at the other end of dreams and concepts is the harsh reality of budgets and a fierce competition between international, local manufacturers/ suppliers and agents. There is hardly a day that goes by or we face an issue with our specifications. Too expensive, not available, not available in the version you want, does not fit or cannot be incorporated as it is…and so on, those of you who are in lighting design will know what I am talking about. I would like to share a typical situation that happened over the last couple of days.

For some additional work, we had specified specialist light fittings of a specific brand after having tested them on a previous site visit to ascertain ourselves that the lighting effects were what we wanted. As the lighting effects were highly technical with high performance specialised light fittings we requested the client to stick to our specifications to assure the end result. Also in view of previous supplies and the necessary on-site support required for installation and programming we recommended the client to stick with the supplier already selected for the main contract. The supplier duly informed the main manufacturer and quoted as per spec to the client. However to his dismay, another supplier also authorised to sell the specified brand, offered the same to the client what must have been well below cost also unaware of the on-site support requirements. As a result the client questioned the original supplier and asked him to bring down his price to match the competitors bid.

We are now in the process of clarifying the bids but one can see the challenges that this will bring along should the supply be awarded to the supplier who went in recklessly below cost and unaware of the on-site support required. I have gone through these situations before where the client blinded by the lower costs of apparently the “same brand” products went ahead to award to the lowest bidder only to find heaps of problems later on, with the supplier using any possible shortcut in his trick book to minimise the costs. There are many ways to cut costs in the final supply and making sure you compare apples with apples when assessing supply bids requires a lot of patience and experience….

Light Watch 3-14: A recent solar storm created some amazing sights in the Northern European skies. The Aurora Boralis or Northern Lights were visible and captured by many in late January. Below some pictures courtesy of National Geographic’s Daily News.  When it comes to lighting nothing beats Mother Nature 🙂

06. February 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light and inspiration, light watch, lighting and the economy, lighting design, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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