When Custom Transformer Component Supplier Imperils OEM’s Customer Relationships, Change Is for the Best

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To OEM providing motors and controls for rugged oil rig applications, breaking up with long-time custom transformer supplier made good business sense.

I’d say that describes it

Like most OEMs, Houston-based Oilfield Motors & Controls (OMC) has had a relationship with its component suppliers – including its supplier of custom power transformers – that many liken to a long-term marriage. “I’d say that describes it,” says OMC President Watts Cutter. “It’s a team effort. A good supplier is like a business partner, and your relationship with your suppliers is ever-evolving. You develop a comfort level.”

Then, one day, the marriage turned sour. The power transformer supplier was sold to a new owner, and its services soon deteriorated. Delivery dates were sometimes missed, and the customized products did not always meet OMC’s strict technical specifications. With that downturn, the company had the potential to threaten OMC’s business.

OMC faced what many OEMs face – a suddenly unresponsive supplier whose decline in quality, performance or service can threaten the viability of their own business.

Reluctant to change their long-time suppliers, many OEMs simply soldier on, hoping their supplier will ratchet their service back up, but not OMC, which provides customized motors and controls for prototype and “short runs” that stand up to the rigors of oil drilling under very adverse conditions. The product they supply has to meet the challenge every time.

To most OEMs there is a cost and a risk associated with changing component suppliers. On top of that, a reluctance to change stems from the fact that most OEMs have multi-year relationships with their suppliers that can last decades. As the saying goes, “breaking up is hard to do.”

There is, however, another side to the story – the high risk of staying with a supplier with increasing service, quality, reliability or performance issues. Today’s increasingly competitive environment is unforgiving, and an OEM’s dissatisfaction with a component supplier can quickly translate into a customer’s dissatisfaction with the OEM.

To Cutter, however, the decision was easy – he knew what he needed and began asking his other suppliers for the names of companies that produce custom transformers. He received several, including Nicollet Technologies Corporation, a firm that specializes in prototypes and short runs of electrical transformers. Since 1969 Nicollet has produced more than 3,500 different OEM power transformer designs across a range of industries.

Cutter switched to Nicolett and has never looked back.

Since the beginning of their relationship, Nicolett has provided reliable custom transformers, delivered on time, that conform to OMC’s exacting technical standards, even if that means completing orders on weekends, or after regular business hours.

“A good supplier provides a quality product at a good price, and has a real commitment to service,” Cutter explains. “Nicollet has exceeded our expectations. I quickly learned that I didn’t have to worry about the custom transformers they ship.”

When asked how Nicollet performs with respect to turnaround of custom transformer orders, attention to detail and customer service, Cutter is unequivocal. “Excellent,” he notes. “They understand my needs. I wish all suppliers were like Nicollet.”

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