According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, an end user “is the person or organization that uses something rather than an organization that trades in it.” In the world of stainless steel, the term ‘end user’ encompasses a wide spectrum of entities which may use a certain product for a variety of purposes. Typical examples of end users include manufacturers of products (e.g., passenger aircrafts) which incorporate, as a component, another manufacturer’s product (e.g., hydraulic tubing, seat fasteners, etc.); engineering companies responsible for the design and construction of some type of infrastructure (e.g., skyscraper) based on or incorporating a stainless steel product (e.g., I-beams); and service providers (e.g., maintenance) to companies whose assets rely on the high performance of stainless steel (e.g., offshore oil platforms, chemical plants, etc.).
The power of end users resides not only in their cash, but also in the knowledge and experience they possess. When shared, the end-user feedback is of vital importance for manufacturers and distributors as it contains invaluable information which can help companies improve the quality of their product and service offerings, thereby increasing their chances of finding a place on end-user lists of preferred manufactures/suppliers. End-user feedback can concern various aspects of products and services, ranging from quality and dimensions to delivery times and customer service.
Stainless Steel World publications regularly feature end-user interviews containing useful tips. In their interview for the May issue of Stainless Steel World News (pp. 12–13), Ann Fenech-Andersen and Helmut Broe-Richter, Materials & Processes Consultants at the Danfoss Technology Centre, share the following interesting insight:
What would be useful for us as a group is that our suppliers make any technical information they have easily accessible, including information from their own material suppliers. What we often find is that the information available doesn’t necessarily make its way to us. This kind of situation typically arises when the producer of stainless steel is not a direct supplier to Danfoss, but to a manufacturer that produces a component for us. This makes the supply chain longer so we need to make sure that the materials used meet all of our requirements.
Pieces of advice such as this one are invaluable since following them can increase one’s chances of winning a supply contract. Stay tuned to SSW publications and our website for more such gems in the future!