There isn’t a system out there that shouldn’t be sold with a complete set of spares. Spare diaphragms, transducers, and recone kits are a must.
Demand them in the initial delivery. They should be purchased on generous terms: net 120, at least. You’re depending on the system’s performance and reliability.
Without spare parts it’s impossible to repair something in the field. It’s a known issue that most new products will have some sort of failure or issue.
It can be a rigging part that doesn’t fit just right, or a compression driver that passed QC but the diaphragm fails during its second show, or whatever. There are a myriad of possibilities, and you don’t want to struggle for solutions.
I want to raise a point on behalf of manufacturers. Getting parts from subcontractors (transducers, chips, etc.) can be fraught with problems. It’s not uncommon for the best driver manufacturers to have gaps in production due to shortages, and the same goes for electronics.
We’re seeing shortages today with the huge swell of consumer electronics and the components that populate them. Long-lead components can take 12 weeks to deliver. Something’s gotta’ give, and smaller industries like pro audio lose out to the PCs and iPads.
My point is to investigate and understand how your potential manufacturer schedules production and stock parts, be it for production or as spares. Companies that are timid in this part of the process will forever suffer the repercussions from you, the buyer.
Distributors (as opposed to sales reps) typically hold a unique position in the sales organization. They’re not located in the country of the “mother ship” (manufacturer). They’re almost always provided with the best pricing and consideration.
With that benefit comes the responsibility of full representation and support; everything from in-country marketing, in-country product inventory and perhaps most importantly, in-country parts and support.
There is a smart exception, which is the manufacturers that establish their own offices, staffed by their own people, in key strategic countries. This is a great way to maintain corporate structure and visibility in foreign countries, establishing missions and directives under their control. Having full language and cultural connection in outlying countries is essential to the position and prominence of the brand.
I mentioned responsibility above. It’s my experience that the most successful distributors are those that understand their responsibilities and engage them. One of the most important responsibilities is stocking inventory and parts.
Since they’re often on the other side of the world, there must be a well thought-out stock of critical components, parts and inventory to quickly assist dealers and end users.
If you’re dealing with a distributor, the first issue to clearly understand is what they hold as inventory. How regularly do they restock? Do shipments come in via ocean or air? If you’re told that they can get what you need any time, you might be a bit circumspect.
What you’re looking for here is a robust reflection of the products you are interested in owning. Remember, they’re charged with the initiative to be your provider in your country.
If the company is not based in your country, it’s vital to clearly understand this issue. How deeply invested in that brand is the distributor? How deeply invested in the distributor is the brand? Got parts? How is the company’s marketing executed in your country? What are service and support options? Who (and where) are the key “go-to” people?