In this article Slaters Electricals’ Operations Manager, David Kerr, gives an insight into why we provide industry leading warranties with our refurbished power distribution equipment.
When I joined Slaters Electricals (one year ago), there was a great deal that I was impressed by. Having worked for a major OEM for many years, I always expected the in-house technical experts to know everything about our products (both new and legacy) and always a great deal more than anyone outside of the business. So, coming into a business that supplies new equipment but also repairs, refurbishes, tests & installs almost every OEM’s HV switchgear and distribution transformer types, I expected a broad yet diluted understanding of each equipment type. What I found was a highly skilled workforce with a humbling depth of knowledge across the broad range of OEM’s and their equipment types. Before I had time to familiarise myself with my new colleagues, I was further surprised to find situations where OEM’s were getting in touch with our specialists to request support and advice on their own legacy equipment.
The surprises kept on coming, however, the most significant was being told that as a business we offer a standard 4-year warranty on refurbished transformers. With most OEM’s offering a 1 or 2-year warranty for a new transformer, I struggled to understand how a business could offer a better warranty for a refurbished piece of equipment than the unit was originally supplied with (and I’d be interested to know other people’s thoughts and experiences on this too).
WHY DO SLATERS OFFER EXTENDED WARRANTIES?
I was looking for a single or over-arching reason as to why we would offer such a bold and seemingly risky warranty period, and there were many reasons that favoured such an approach, all of which I found were built on a solid foundation of confidence. Confidence in our technical expertise, workmanship, quality, processes and in particular our knowledge of transformers in general. For example, I quickly learned that we would never refurbish a transformer that is showing signs of advanced ageing or material stress (which are both difficult factors to evaluate without many years of experience & understanding).
The foundation of confidence supports both a USP and an obvious necessity. In our industry, it would seem that price alone is not sufficient to differentiate between a new and refurbished transformer; Customers expect more confidence in a refurbished unit and an extended warranty addresses this perfectly (this is the obvious necessity).
Surely if a new transformer comes with a 2-year warranty, a 1-year extension will be more than sufficient to instil confidence in our customers, so why offer a 2-year extension over new? The reason here is quite simply to be the best (and this is the USP). Other re-furbisher’s will match the warranty of a new transformer or provide a limited extension, but very few (if any) are prepared to offer the long warranty period that Slaters Electricals can, so we are setting ourselves apart from the competition to be the best in class.
The same principle is applied to the supply of refurbished switchgear. Whilst new switchgear is supplied with a 2-year warranty, all Slaters refurbished LV and HV switchgear is provided with a 3-year warranty.
SLATERS VALUE PROPOSITION
In summary, we offer a longer warranty period for refurbished transformers and switchgear than the comparable new piece of equipment because our customers expects this. We have the utmost confidence in the quality of our workmanship, processes and end-product. Passing this confidence on to the customer through one of the longest (if not THE longest) warranty period for these products seems perfectly logical and is what sets our business apart from the competition.
Finally, has this been the correct decision for Slaters Electricals? The proof can undoubtedly be found in our warranty claim statistics, and I don’t need a single hand to count the number of claims received in the last 5 years, so with hundreds of refurbished units sold in this period, the answer to this question is a resounding yes.