Internet of Things has reached the cleaning industry, but where does the distributor fit in? Many items in this article can be found in the July-August 2016 issue of Sanitary Maintenance magazine.
Internet Purchasers Should Consider Value of Local Distributors
Many local businesses will work with customers on purchase price. So, if you find a lower price from unknown sources, check with a local distributor before making your purchase. Most distributors are bound by manufacturers when it comes to publishing prices on the internet. Manufacturers do this, to try to keep the playing field as level as possible. When discussing your situation “one-on-one”, most distributors will do everything they can to consummate the deal with you.
Price is What You Pay. Value is What You Receive.
Many issues arise after the sale. You may have questions on how to use the product, need replacement parts or need service. Local distributors can help. There may be accessories that you neglected to initially purchase, or maybe you’d like to trade-in an old piece of equipment. Good luck trying to get any of this service from a big box store or world-wide online store.
What is Internet of Things (IoT)?
IoT technology involves tracking data in real-time (via the internet) of things as they are used. Other industries have had this technology for many years already. Some examples are building thermostats, security systems, etc. This data can usually be tapped into and controlled remotely with computers, smart phones and tablets.
How is IoT Affecting the Cleaning Industry?
Manufacturers are scrambling to develop and incorporate this technology into cleaning equipment (maintenance schedule alerts, etc.), paper and soap dispensers (which dispensers need refilling and how much volume is being dispensed) and more.
Also, many facilities are already tracking which areas of the facility need cleaning, which pieces of their own equipment need service, etc.
Who “Owns” the IoT Data?
The end-user (the client) will own the data. They may have hurdles to clear with data privacy laws and the end-user (the client) can decide whether to share that data with others. A good and knowledgeable distributor will need the client’s data to make product recommendations and advise their clients on better ways to use their staff and equipment.
Manufacturers Will Place More Emphasis on Tech Savviness When Choosing Distributors for Their Products
This will hopefully bode well for the future of local distributors. We see a time when distributors will become more of a fee-for-service business, rather than be product fulfillment services.
Regardless, we’re here to help. Contact us to discuss your situation!