White papers and complex supply chains work well together. If your company deals with a complex supply chain involving several levels, a white paper may be an effective way to deliver your messages to multiple audiences.
White papers and complex supply chains: one example
Suppose your company manufactures replacement gaskets for auto, truck, and industrial engines. You don’t sell directly to the service technicians who install the gaskets when engines are being overhauled or repaired. Instead, your direct customers are large parts distributors who stock products from hundreds of manufacturers like yours and sell them to local and regional parts stores.
White papers and complex supply chains connect the dots
Your products are superior to what your competitors offer and are far less likely to fail in the field. Unfortunately, the higher-quality engineering and materials come with a higher cost. In fact, for some applications, your gasket may cost nearly twice as much as competitors’ parts. Fortunately, it carries a higher profit margin for both the distributor and the parts store.
When a service technician needs a new gasket, he calls the parts store. The employee at the store tells him which parts are available and the price for each. Which does the technician choose? You guessed it: the cheapest choice.
In looking at the total cost of an engine overhaul, the gasket probably represents just one or two percent, but you know from testing that your gaskets continue to perform for tens of thousands of miles after your competitors’ products have failed. Between that and the difference in profit margin, the cheaper product is a bad deal for everyone. So how do you overcome that?
You develop a white paper that provides an easy-to-understand explanation of the different methods involved in making the most common types of gaskets. You contrast your construction with the cheaper approaches used by your competitors. And you explain how the extra cost of a high-quality gasket is more than offset by the greater reliability and longer life of your product.
The people you need to educate are the service technicians, and you don’t know who they are. But you can find out who your distributors market to and encourage them to share your white paper with the parts stores. If you succeed, the parts stores employees will start to convince the service technicians that your gasket is a better deal. The service technician gets a better part, the wholesaler and retail store owners get a bigger margin, and the parts store employee feels like an automotive expert who helps his customers.