How local is local…

Singapore 22nd May 2013

In the space of one week three of my project clients have been insisting forcefully that we specify local lighting products. Now the thoughts behind it are understandable, local availability, local servicing and most of all the assumed cheaper costs of purchase and maintenance as well as shorter delivery times. Many developers have been “bitten” by foreign designers specifying overseas products that have to be ordered and shipped from overseas sometimes with no local representative available for local support. In the past I have had several projects where the client asked me to take over and redesign the lighting with “local” products. Yes there are exceptions when it comes to “unique” or customised solutions with only a handful of specialists who can deliver to the required specifications, but many of the “general” lighting are available “locally” in one form or another.

Of course we need to define what constitutes “local”? Not necessarily local made, but it could; most of the time we talk about locally assembled or locally “available”. In other words there is a system in place locally to either manufacture, assemble or supply the light fittings with proper local support. When it comes to LED lighting there are only a few LED chip makers in the world, so local manufacture still involves overseas purchase of components, however in general many local manufacturers do not have the capability to quality test their light fittings to international standards, they copy the big brands and promote it as being “equivalent”, but without the quality standards certification.

Interestingly, “local” in this part of the world seems also to include “china” made…which points to more of a cost objective than really a local made or assembled objective. But I guess we knew that…in the end it is all about the money and service. Certainly the local service is crucial to me in any of my projects. When it comes to the crunch of installation, I want to make sure there is someone on or near the site that can help us out in times of trouble. Installations are never perfect, there are always obstacles and issues to resolve…that’s where the local support is crucial for success…

Light Watch 4-90: Some lighting installations are so special that the question of being local does not even enter the discussion…

22. May 2013 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting applications, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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