Customized or Off-the-Shelf – What’s the Right Choice?

By Lars Winberg, Business Development Manager, GRAS Sound and Vibration

 

The field of noise testing is evolving at breakneck speed. The increasing demand for advanced audio technologies like active noise cancelling and voice-controlled smart systems make high precision measurements to guarantee superior sound quality a necessity. This means that customers (or project owners) tasked with developing consumer electronics, cars, aircraft, or other applications, will increasingly face test situations where business as usual just isn’t good enough anymore. When they reach this point, they will often need to decide whether to go for a customized solution, that caters to their needs exactly, or whether to choose an off-the-shelf product that gets close enough. In my opinion, customers too often choose off-the-shelf solutions. And I believe this is because a few common concerns scare them away from customization.

 

 

We’re too small to warrant their attention

One big misunderstanding about customization is that it's an arena reserved for industry giants. But the idea that smaller enterprises or projects won't get attention and dedication from manufacturers is nothing but a myth. In today's market, customization is not a question of scale, but a tool for solving unique needs. Manufacturers experienced with customization understand that innovation requires co-creation and make it a point to treat companies and projects of all sizes with equal interest.

 

We’ll be on our own if things go wrong

A legitimate concern is whether customized solutions come with the necessary service and support included. To serious manufacturers, customization is based on a deep commitment to the customer's success. Tailored solutions go beyond the point of sale, offering support that matches the unique features of the product. In contrast, off-the-shelf solutions, while convenient and fully loaded with support and service concepts, might not address your specific challenges with the same depth of expertise.

 

Customized products are not covered by a warranty

Warranties are an assurance of quality and robustness, and it's natural to ask if customization obliviates this safeguard. But this is another misunderstanding. Serious manufacturers stand by their customized products with warranties that are designed to reflect the quality of the solutions. The key is open communication. As a potential customer, you can do a lot to remove this concern by discussing warranty terms during the customization process to ensure that your investment is protected.

 

It's prohibitively expensive

Concerns about cost are a fact of life and a significant factor in decision-making. But the idea that customization is automatically more expensive demands a closer look. While it's true that tailored solutions might carry a slightly higher initial cost, their long-term value often justifies the upfront expenses. Customization does away with operational inefficiencies and provides functionalities that match precise needs, potentially leading to substantial savings in the long run.

 

Sometimes, off-the-shelf is right on target

It's still important to remember that off-the-shelf products and solutions have their own merits. Sometimes, they fit seamlessly into the fabric of your project, offering a cost-effective and time-efficient solution. The distinction between customization and off-the-shelf isn't black or white but a spectrum. And arriving at the right choice often comes down to something as old-fashioned as discussion and getting the right input and advice from a serious manufacturer.

 

Dialogue Makes the Difference

In the ever-changing industry of noise measurement and acoustic testing, the one constant is the value of open dialogue between customers and manufacturers. This dialogue acts as the bridge between project goals and execution, enabling a thorough analysis of your project's nuances and a clear understanding of your requirements. Whether you find yourself drawn to customization or opt for a pre-designed solution, it is through dialogue the optimal answer emerges.

 

Customization is Good for Manufacturers, too

But it’s not just customers and project-owners that benefit from customization of noise measurement products and solutions. The ongoing dialogue with customers is crucial to manufacturers, as it keeps them up to date with where the market is headed, and what trends are shaping their industries. At GRAS Sound & Vibration, customization has been our secret to success since the company’s inception in 1994. Practically all our off-the-shelf products began as customization projects that have since become industry standards. Customization and collaboration are key drivers of innovation.

In the end, the choice is not simply a question of "customized" or "off-the-shelf," but a matter of "tailored" and "fit-for-purpose." Through dialogue and collaboration, you can find the solution that integrates perfectly with your needs and ambitions. After all, finding the perfect fit – off-the-shelf or tailored – is the ultimate customization.

 
 

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Sunday, 23. June 2024

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