|Forum topic by Lee Barker||posted 11-26-2010 06:00 PM||1068 views||0 times favorited||12 replies|
11-26-2010 06:00 PM
Years ago, shopping at Sears for major home appliances, it was common to hear phrases like this: “This Kenmore (appliance) is actually made by (Hotpoint, Westinghouse, GE, etc.). That sales comment was meant to give you confidence in the product at hand.
We didn’t stop then to think that quality brand name companies could easily build a cheaper, less reliable product and put a different badge on it.
Now we know there are sophisticated diagnostic process which can reveal a lower quality part which can be removed from the assembly line and used to create a lower quality tool (with or without the same badge). An example would be cast iron tops for woodworking machines, some of which are very flat and some of which aren’t. Motors would be another component which could have variable quality characteristics. Cast parts such as trunnions could have variable degrees of precision.
We also know that large retailers have significant clout when they deal with suppliers who want to sell to them because of the potential quantity of the sale. The retailers can set their wholesale price. The manufacturer has some decisions to make: whether to meet that price, and if so, how exactly to do it.
My question is, does a manufacturer ever produce, say, two grades of a specific machine, one for the “regular” outlets and one for the “discount” (big box) outlets?
I am asking for facts, not anecdotal data. It is so easy for us to hear a lot of anecdotal evidence and smoothly convert that to fact.
I am asking for comments from those who have worked in the actual manufacturing of machines like major home appliances, HVAC units, and woodworking machinery and from those who have been involved in the sales and purchase of these products where this kind of “double quality standard” could exist and affect us as consumers.
My question, then, is: What facts can you contribute to the theory that a given manufacturer can create and sell two or more grades of an identical machine, with each grade specific to the type of retailer to which it is sold?
Thank you for honoring the specificity of my request.
-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"