"Cheaper is not always better", "a product's value includes tangible and intangible benefits", "time is money." The above isn't a recitation from the Reader's Digest book 'Quotable Quotes.' They are three technology purchasing principles offered by Bob Park, director of marketing, IT division, Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.
Park emphasized the importance of these purchasing guidelines during his keynote at Linux and Network World Expo held at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre last week. His keynote was titled: IT equipment procurement - Finding the right tools to maximize efficiency and economy in today's workplace.
While the three principles may seem self-evident - buyers don't often don't abide by them and end up getting burned, the Samsung exec said.
For instance, he said, while cost is undoubtedly an important factor in any purchasing decision, buyers should view cheap products with a great deal of caution as the lower price is often at the expense of quality and performance.
Park recounted how a friend was ecstatic when he purchased a printer that was half the price of name brands, and promised to do "everything except iron the clothes, and throw out the garbage."
A month later, he said, the printer was exuding an odor of burning plastic! "Often products are cheaper because inexpensive materials are used to manufacture them."
Park said when a business bases purchasing decisions solely on the "cheap is good" principle - the damage is far greater than being saddled with a faulty printer. The losses can be huge, and are often irreversible. Conversely, he said, a "solid investment" increases a company's efficiency, and allows it to get an optimum return on investment.
The Samsung exec also highlighted the importance of intangible factors such as the IT product vendors' brand and corporate reputation. A judicious buyer, Park said, would buy a branded item, knowing that it is backed by the reputation of the company selling it. "Well known branded items usually don't disappoint customers."
One "intangible" benefit of buying branded could be increased workforce efficiency, Park said. For instance, he said name-brand computer monitors cause less eye strain as they come with bigger screens. "Compared to cheaper monitors, they include additional features such as response time accelerated technology that eliminates blurs and leads to less eye strain. This improves employee efficiency."
"Time is money, might seem like an old cliché, but it is true," said Park highlighting his third point. The best way to save time, he said, is to give right tools to the workforce. "If your employees are huddled around an inefficient printer, their efficiency will also go down."
He urged corporate buyers to ensure their IT product purchase decisions align with their company's overall objectives.
For this, he said, buyers should be well versed with their firm's business requirements, as well as the features and capabilities of multiple vendor offerings. "It is necessary to shop around, and gather information about all available products before making a decision."