Discussion: The Cheapest Isn’t Always Cheaper

Budgets are tight for many sectors, there’s no denying that fact. Some of the biggest, most demanding users are seeing their finances slashed back to the bare minimum and it is not uncommon to see essential projects and maintenance programs downgraded or even abandoned. This affects schools, health care, businesses big and small, public services and more.

With that in mind, it would be right for IT and network staff to shop around for better deals. Delivering a working solution with the lowest possible expenditure is vital for many departments to stay in the black and for staff to keep their jobs. The rise of OEM solutions and compatible products has undoubtedly helped many heads of departments out of a tough financial situation.

“…is the product even safe to use? Check the product marking for CE, RoHS and FCC logos. If they are not present on the product itself, should you even be plugging those products into your network?”

The market has noticed this demand for lower cost products and has given many companies, Advance included, a platform to develop and grow a broad product offering. Creating reliable, high quality products equivalent to vendor branded devices with comparable or better warranties, technical specifications and life expectancy but with a lower market cost is our entire business focus.

Advance is able to offer these products at lower costs than original vendors due to a number of factors including smaller company overheads, reduced marketing budgets, less complex routes to market, more cost efficent manufacturing partners and the most significant of all, lower margins. Corporate greed doesn’t have a place here, we do not have a huge pool of shareholders who’s pockets need lining. Triple or even quadruple digit margins don’t happen, they are reserved for likes of the corporate machines in California and elsewhere!

By carefully planning our costs and maintaining a stable financial position we can deliver products to end users up to 80% less than orignal vendor branded products. A $1000 list price for a branded 10G SR SFP+ is ridiculous and even with discounts an end user might expect to stump up $600. We believe Advance presents a reasonable price for our products, but there is a small subset of the market that wants things even cheaper and at any cost.

Ultra low cost products from relatively unknown Far East manufacturers are making their way to market. Often these products come unbranded which always seems worrying to me, I have to ask why a manufacturer would be scared to put their brand on their products? If a manufacturer has any confidence in their products, surely they would want their brand on there so customers know where the kit came from so they can become repeat customers?

Even if the product is branded to some extent, end users should seriously consider the implications when buying these super cheap products. Realistically how much money does a manufacturer need to make on an SFP? If it’s being sold for sub-£10, sometimes even sub-£5, after considering operating costs, staff costs, machinery, packaging, shipping, marketing etc, how much money is in that cost for materials? I can assure you it’s not very much!

Hyper cheap optical and electronic components tend not to last very long or perform very well and when a product fails, what happens? Return to base warranties are not very favourable for an end user when they have to pay to ship a product half way across the globe, at their cost and on a slow courier service that can take a week or more. Hoping the supplier turns around the RMA promptly and sends a replacement back on a reasonable courier service still means a potential 2-3 week wait for a replacement.

Even before considering replacing faulty good though, is the product even safe to use? I would encourage any owner of compatible, OEM optical products to check the product marking for CE, RoHS and FCC logos. If they are not present on the product itself (not just the outer packaging that gets thrown away), ask yourself should you even be allowing your colleagues to handle such items and plugging those products into your network?

Just because a product is at face value the absolute cheapest, is it really going to save you money? I would implore anyone looking to buy compatible products to really do their homework first and find a supplier who can support them sufficiently and deliver a product that can realistically fulfil their needs.

You can find out more about Advance and our product range on our main site, advance.technology. Contact us here or call us on +44 (0) 1942 718493