From a very broad perspective, GRC planters can be either sourced as a commodity or as a solution and both approaches can be appropriate depending on the circumstances. Let’s have a closer look at each of these approaches.

The Commodity Approach

With this approach to sourcing GRC planters, the buyers have (or believe they have) a clear understanding of exactly what planters they are looking for or their requirements and/or expectations are open to compromise on the planter sizing. The planters are basically seen as a commodity and the selection and sourcing process is generally centred around price and availability. Therefore, this approach is typically well suited to smaller and/or less complex projects and the planters can be sourced from whoever has the appropriate stock on hand.

The Solutions Approach

With this approach to sourcing GRC planters, the buyers are generally looking to source GRC planters for larger, more complex and/or more exacting projects. Therefore, they are looking for a solution to the problem of managing the specification, costing, purchasing and delivery logistics for a project’s specific GRC planter requirements. For this approach to be successful, it requires a greater level of communication, cooperation and project planning between the customer, the supplier and potentially with the manufacturer if it is different from the supplier.

The solutions approach integrates the supplier into a project by incorporating the supplier’s responsibilities into a project plan and therefore adding the supplier’s specific expertise and resources into the project. Let’s face it, if you have a trusted supplier and it can provide valuable experience to a project, why not? This is good project management methodology and can help to avoid last minute surprises in supply that can adversely impact completion dates. The installation of GRC planters is usually one of the last things that happens on a project. Therefore, late deliveries, damaged planters, miscalculated planter specifications or lack of delivery planning are all things you do not want to hear about at the back end of a project.

The complexity of sourcing and installing GRC planters on large projects can often be underestimated resulting in costly mistakes and project delays. Even experienced project managers and estimators are often not completely familiar with all the critical issues associated with getting GRC planters sized, sourced and delivered in accordance with a project’s design intent and site logistics.

Satu Bumi’s Solutions Approach

Satu Bumi has developed a “solutions approach” for the supply of GRC planters which includes the following six elements at no additional cost: 1.       Assistance in sizing and costing GRC planters.
Satu Bumi’s customer service team is available to provide quotation costings and practical suggestions that may not always be apparent to estimators that don’t spend their whole life specifying GRC planters. Even on high-end projects, it is always commercially healthy to have a balance between design intent, cost and practicality when sourcing GRC planters. However, without a clear understanding of the manufacturing options with GRC planters, it is not easy for estimators and project managers to efficiently estimate or source the best GRC planter options in terms of size, shape, finish and cost. Use of this service at the front end of a project can save a lot of time and be helpful in avoiding estimating mistakes.

2.       Product engineering for tailor-made planters
As the manufacturer, Satu Bumi offers the services of a product engineering team with the expertise and experience to provide shop drawings, design suggestions and even samples for tailor-made planters. This service cannot be provided by a distributor that is not also the manufacturer.

3.       Access to a catalogue of standard size GRC planters
Having produced GRC planters for years, Satu Bumi has built up an inventory of precast moulds for many GRC planter shapes and sizes that it makes available to its customers. Re-use of those moulds enables very competitive pricing and faster production turnaround. And these standard shapes and sizes can be conveniently mixed and matched with any tailor-made planters made by Satu Bumi.

4.       Direct communication with the manufacturer
The convenience of being able to talk directly to the manufacturer, particularly when custom-made GRC planters are involved, can improve the efficiency of most GRC planter supply projects.

5.       Direct supply from the manufacturer
Direct product supply from the manufacturer removes the on-cost of a middle-man and enables more competitive pricing.

6.       Project management on larger projects
Project management at the supplier end on larger GRC planter projects is often not considered and this can often be a significant mistake. The logistics of supply for GRC planters on larger projects can be complicated and are often time critical because the planters are generally delivered towards the end of the project. Therefore, Satu Bumi offers the services of a project manager on all large projects to work directly with the customer’s project manager to ensure that the supply process is efficient.

Satu Bumi’s six element solutions approach to the supply of GRC planters is a unique offering to the Australian market and can provide significant benefits to its customers. It is relatively easy for a GRC planter supplier to take an order and arrange a delivery date for the supply of GRC standard off-the-shelf GRC planters. However, once you throw in the complexity of large quantities of different sized planters and/or custom-made planters and the issue of delivery logistics, having a single project manager at the supply-end can be the difference between a smoothly run GRC planter installation and a mini-disaster.

Conclusion

If you are sourcing a small number of GRC planters and you are comfortable to compromise on standard size planters, then treating the planters as a commodity is probably the best approach for you. Alternatively, if you have a large GRC planter project or you require custom-made GRC planters, you should seriously consider taking a solutions approach to the sourcing of the planters. However, whether you chose to use either the solutions approach or treat the GRC planters as a commodity, the selection of the right supplier is the most critical element in the whole sourcing process.