Industrial manufacturers – along with the distributors and resellers that service them – are currently in the midst of a market transformation involving product availability, price stability, and access to reliable support.
A new standard for process instrumentation distribution is due, and in this article, we’ll discuss Whitman Control’s perspective on what Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) should expect from their Instrumentation Partners today and as we move into the future.
On-Demand Customer Service with Deep Industry Expertise
You manufacture equipment, machinery, and systems that utilize process sensors. Whitman Controls manufactures these process sensors, switches and other industrial automation instruments, with over 40 years of serving OEM partners such as yourselves.
From this background, we have learned through experience the unique issues that OEMs face, to the point that instrumentation challenges faced by our largest customers are our unique challenges as well. OEMs today should expect this level of dedication and partnership from their sensor suppliers, culminating into a sense of personalized customer service as if critical suppliers were an extension of your business.
A few of the ways that we raise the bar for customer service include:
In-house Engineering Team with Deep Industry Knowledge
Whitman’s investment into our internal engineering resources means that we have experts ready to discuss applications, help select products, and compare options that meet your exacting needs. Is ‘this’ sensor better than ‘that’ sensor? Will a less expensive option work in place of a more expensive option? What additional features could benefit the control needs of my specific application? Our engineers can help with these questions, and so much more.
‘Have it Your Way’
Think of a time when you came across a great product, except it was missing one small detail that made it untenable for your project. If only you had the option to customize that one feature, it would have been perfect, right?
With Whitman Controls, this is reality across our entire catalog. When you need a customized feature such as longer wiring leads, a different process connection, or a different voltage range, we can manufacture exactly that for you.
Don’t see a solution in our core product catalog? Our engineering team can build and design new unique process solutions in response to your exact application needs. And we’re happy to do it – no special-order costs, no punitive fees, and no astronomical lead times like we are seeing across the industry today.
National Presence, Local Feel
Call us, email us, visit our online e-Commerce store, request a catalog, or schedule a visit from a sales partner in your area – however you wish to engage with Whitman, we’re extremely accessible. Further, we go to market through both direct sales and national distributors, so you always have a path to Whitman products that work for you. Our industry-best lead times and same-day shipping options also offer the feel that we’re right up the road.
Offer Solutions, not a Product List - Get Custom Sensors in 2 Weeks
As recent global economic trends have led instrumentation manufacturers to downsize, consolidate, and move towards transactional order cycles, OEMs have found themselves with fewer and fewer resources available to assist with their strategic project needs. In many cases, instrumentation suppliers have reduced themselves to a catalog or product list in an effort to cut overhead and stay competitive. Whitman has taken the opposite approach, investing in people and knowledge that allow us to offer true solutions, not just a shopping cart.
Cross-Industry Sensor Configurations
In designing our sensor offerings, Whitman has studied the requirements of multiple disparate industries in order to quantify the most common (and not so common) configuration options that customers select. For example, within just one of our mechanical level switch models, we offer more material choices than most competitors’ full level switch family, allowing us to serve wastewater, general industrial, semiconductor, oil & gas, heavy utility, specialty chemical, and even renewable energy applications with a single configuration option.
Expanding on the above point, our many configuration options are just one result of a wider, ongoing commitment to internal application Research & Development. Our engineers come from diverse backgrounds, and understand the unique attributes that these various industries require. This allows us to further support you by wrapping individual sensor selections into a wider solution-oriented discussion, working together with your engineers and specifiers to round out your full project.
We Speak R&D
Application familiarity is paramount. Since we believe so heavily in our own internal R&D initiatives to improve our product lineup, we also fully understand that R&D practices are of strategic importance to your OEM manufacturing development processes as well.
To this end, we offer unique services that can directly bolster your development efforts. We can provide custom one-off sensor units, ground-up circuitry designs, first-time housing and chassis concepts, custom test and validation procedures, personalized quality documentation, and more. If that wasn’t enough, we also typically deliver custom solutions within two weeks!
Solve for Tomorrow’s Procurement Landscape - Get The Right Products Fast
Supply chain constraints. Labor availability. Trade and tariff policies. Geopolitical upsets. The world is an ever-changing place, and industrial distribution businesses here in the United States have recently been forced to face this fact more than ever before. It’s an uncertain and sobering realization, given the persistent growth, instant gratification mindset of decades past. But, that is not to say that the outlook is bleak. Across all distribution chains and specifically here with process instrumentation, OEMs need to align with partners who are keenly aware of the future procurement landscape, and who are actively positioning their businesses to serve OEM clients under such conditions.
While most of the instrumentation industry spent the last twenty years trending towards Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing, Whitman took a more conservative approach rooted in our belief that we needed protection from market volatility even during the best of times. The business practices that resulted from this belief have proven to insulate us from resource upsets. That is to say that while JIT practices leave other manufacturers exposed to constant cost fluctuations and volatile lead times, Whitman’s stock-building production scheme allows us to offer ultra-competitive, consistent, expectant pricing. This makes your OEM procurement forecasting more stable, beyond just lower cost.
Impressive Inventory Volumes
We’ll be straightforward on this point: the best instrumentation partners for your OEM business have stock, so that when you need a critical part, you have a partner. Whitman has made significant investment in our inventory, with the majority of our catalog being in-stock and ready to ship from our warehouse the same day as you order. In addition, our distribution network includes many national, industry-standard resellers that also carry inventory. Our decentralized, multiple paths to market eliminate most delivery issues that plague other manufacturers.
When buyers cannot find parts in the time that they need, they are pressed to explore low-grade supply options. Non-certified, refurbished (without being labeled as such), defective, untested, and substandard products have increasingly made their way to domestic users. Over time, these types of market subversions have been followed by increased customer and regulatory scrutiny, driving up regulation and compliance requirements (and thus, costs and time delays).
OEMs should select partners that protect them from such issues, and help combat the trend over time. Whitman, for example, is ISO 9001 Quality Certified, offers complete traceability, robust documentation, and thorough testing across our entire product offering, and always will. These business practices reinforce your commercial interests, and help manage down your risk.
As a veteran-owned small business, Whitman Controls is dedicated to supplying premium quality, reliable, technologically advanced instrumentation for use in nearly any application. Our Bristol, CT manufacturing facility embodies over 40 years of engineering, fabrication, and customer service expertise, serving both end-user and manufacturing customers nationwide through direct and distribution channels. Our values drive us to provide the highest level of servant partnership that you can find.