During the challenging trading conditions experienced by most European machine builders over the last year, sales of customised standard products – often referred to as simple specials – have remained buoyant, according to SMC, world leaders in pneumatic engineering.
Dave Westbury, SMC´s UK Engineering Manager, says this is not unusual during a recessionary period, when the need for machine builders to offer customised machinery using special component or special assemblies can often be the deciding factor in winning a sale.
"We would normally expect the number of requests for customised standard products or assemblies to represent around 15% of our usual monthly sales in Europe. However during the last few months, week-on-week requests for specials have dramatically exceeded this figure."
"In today’s extremely competitive business environment, we strongly believe in the benefits of offering our customers the choice of customised products or assemblies in addition to our standard product ranges. We have also seen a growing trend by machine builders to use customised standard products in their machines – not only to help improve operating performance, but as a clear way to help differentiate their machines from those of their competitors."
With a standard product range of around 11,000 components and subsequent variant options totalling in excess of 600.000 items, SMC´s portfolio of factory automation products is considered to be the most comprehensive on the market.