Firm gets customers to share the cost of developing new products – New York News

For Manny Vickers, time is money.


As the president and chief operating officer of Fiber-Shield Industries Inc., a 48-year-old Yaphank firm that makes products that protect fabric, wood, carpeting, leather, glass, metal, masonry and vehicles, Vickers increasingly hears from customers seeking custom-made treatments. They want these products not only to be multi-purpose — as in offering stain protection and resistance to ultraviolet rays, abrasion, soil, fire or water and oil — but less expensive and better-performing than competitive products on the market.

These requests generally come from firms that have been his customers for 30 to 40 years but whose owners have sold their operations to other businesses, including Fortune 500 companies. As a result, Vickers, 66, is dealing with new managers, often between 35 and 40 years old, who seek these less costly yet versatile offerings to offset some of their business acquisition expenses and distinguish their operations from competitors, he said.

His solution? Rather than just investing his time, effort and money in developing the requested products, in hopes the customer will eventually buy them, he requires customers to share the R&D expense and to commit to purchasing the custom treatment for a set period.

A minor…

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