Industrial goods are products that companies purchase to make other products, which they then sell. Some are used directly in the production of the products for resale, and some are used indirectly. Unlike consumer goods, industrial goods are classified on the basis of their use rather than the customer’s buying habits. These goods are divided into five subcategories: installations, accessory equipment, raw materials, fabricated parts and materials, and industrial supplies.
Industrial goods also carry designations related to their durability. Durable industrial goods that cost large sums of money are referred to as capital items. Non-durable industrial goods that are used up within a year are called expense items.
a) Installations: Installations are majo capital items that are typically used directly in the production of goods. Some installations, such as conveyor systems, robotic equipment and machine tools, are designed and built for specialised situations. Other installations such as stamping machines, large commercial ovens, and computerised axial tomography (CAT) scan machines are built to a standard design but can be modified to meet individual requirements.
The purchase of installations requires extensive research and careful decision-making on the part of the buyer. Manufacturers of installations can make their availability known through advertising. However, actual sale of installations requires the technical knowledge and assistance that can best be provided by personal selling.
(b) Accessory equipment: Goods that fall into the subcategory of accessory equipment are capital items that are less expensive and have shorter lives than installations. Examples include hand tools, computers, desk calculators, and forklifts. While some types of accessory equipment, such as hand tools, are involved directly in the production process, most are only indirectly involved.
The relatively low unit value of accessory equipment, combined with a market made up of buyers from several different types of businesses, dictates a broad marketing strategy. Sellers rely heavily on advertisement in trade publications and mailings to purchasing agents and other business buyers. When personal selling is needed it is usually done by intermediaries such as wholesalers.
c) Raw Materials: Raw materials are products that are purchased in their raw state for the purpose of processing them into consumer or industrial goods. Examples are iron ore, crude oil, diamond, copper, timber, wheat and leather. Some (e.g. wheat) may be converted directly into another consumer product (cereal). Others (e.g. timber) may be converted into an intermediate product (lumber) to be resold for use in another industry (construction).
Most raw materials are graded according adto quality so that there is some assurance of consistency within each grade. There is, however, a little difference between offerings within a grade. Consequently, sales negotiations focus on price, deliveory and credit terms. This negotiation and the fact that raw materials are ordinarily sold in large quantities make personal selling the principal marketing approach for these goods.
(d) Fabricated parts and materials: Fabricated parts are items that are purchased to be placed in the final product without further processing. Fabricated materials, on the other hand, require additional processing before being placed in the end product. Many industries, including the auto industry rely heavily on fabricated parts. Automakers use such fabricated parts as batteries, sun roofs, windshields, and spark plugs. They also use several fabricated materials, including steel and upholstery fabric. As a matter of fact, many industries actually buy more fabricated items than raw materials.
Buyers of fabricated parts and materials have well-defined specifications for their needs. They may work closely with a company in designing the components or materials they require, or they may bids from several companies. In either case, in order to be in a position to get the business, personal contact must be maintained with the buyers over time. Here again, personal selling is a key component in the marketing strategy.
(e) Industrial supplies: Industrial supplies are frequently purchased expense items. They contribute indirectly to the production of final products or to the administration of the production process. Supplies include computer paper, light bulbs, lubrication oil, cleaning supplies and office supplies.
Buyers of industrial supplies do not spend a great deal of time on their purchasing decisions unless they are ordering large quantities. As a result, companies marketing supplies place emphasis on advertising particularly in the form of catalogue for business buyers. When large orders are at stake, sales representatives may be used.
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