The Hidden Costs of Buying Cheap

- Jason Kaeb

Have you ever tried to save a buck and it ended up costing you $10? We’re located a few miles out of town in rural Kansas where there is no access to fiber cable. We beam our internet connection from town and, in an effort to save a few dollars, decided to purchase radios that were cheaper than what was recommended. Shortly after installation, we realized that the radios we purchased were cheaper for a reason and we realized that we will end up spending more money on support / troubleshooting, than if we would have just purchased the more expensive, recommended radios.

Have you had a similar experience? There’s a reason why things cost more: quality! I’ve been thinking about this as it relates to our business. I know we don’t have the cheapest prices when it comes to our equipment and systems, but there’s a reason for that. We use quality materials and choose components that are durable and that will maximize the longevity of our products.

It’s the difference between buying something made for industrial use compared to residential or consumer use. Think of the printer that’s in your home compared to the one in the office. Both print, but one performs far better than the other and will undoubtedly last longer — and there’s a cost to that.

We know it’s important to be good stewards of money and there are times when it’s OK to sacrifice on quality: the lamp next to your desk, the coffee maker, paperback versus hardback books and the list can go on and on.

We continue to look for ways to lower the cost of our products for customers, but it always comes back to quality, longevity and performance. As an example, early on, we used consumer network switches as part of our automation solution. They were less expensive than industrial switches and checked all the boxes of what we needed them to do. We soon realized that the support and product life cycle behind these consumer switches was not what we needed to be able to provide the best solutions to our customers. The models constantly change and what was originally installed would be obsolete in two years. We made the decision to go back with the industrial switches — they’re dependable and we know that model will be available 10 years from now.

We are forward thinking and consider how the decisions we make impact our customers and how we serve customer. It’s not just about what we purchase, but what we choose not to purchase or use. Sometimes KSi may not offer a product, feature or part because we don’t think we can properly service it, or we think it might be obsolete in two years.

If you go cheap on your seed treatment equipment, what are the consequences to your business? You’re risking the very thing that makes you money. It’s easy to want to go cheap on seed treatment equipment because it’s only used a few months each year. But during those few months, it must perform as close to perfect as possible nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you’re trying to save a dollar when it comes to your seed treatment business, it could cost you $10.

Remember: There’s a time and place to save money, but something that’s vital to the success of your business is not the place to do that.