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How to Combat Value Engineering in Building Products

  |  Posted in Sales

How to Combat Value Engineering in Building Products

Value engineering is one of the most dreaded terms in commercial building materials sales.

You can invest a lot of time and effort meeting with architects and getting your products specified, only to lose the spec to value engineering. It happens all the time, but most building material companies treat value engineering like the elephant in the room – the big issue no one wants to talk about.

I was very impressed by the way dri-design architectural metal wall panels addresses the elephant in the room by calling attention to their value engineering solutions on their website.

dri-design value engineered product

Architects are interested in this. Every time one of their specifications is value-engineered, it can make the owner wonder why they didn’t choose a lower-cost option in the first place. Architects are also concerned that a value-engineered solution may lead to problems they will be blamed for.

Contractors are interested in value engineering, too, because it can make them look like they are trying to save the owner money while putting some of it in their own pockets.

Owners and developers are also interested in value engineering because they don’t want to spend more than they need to. They are also the ones who will suffer if the wrong product is used only because it costs less.

I was further impressed by the way dri-design reminded or re-educated people about the purpose of value engineering on their website.

Definition of value engineering

Contractors may define value-engineering as cheaper but architects and owners are more likely to define it as it was originally intended.  

“Value Can Only Be Created if Functionality and Durability Remain the Priority.”

While many companies have a lower-cost solution that could be viewed as a value-engineered solution, dri-design went even further by developing a line of env (engineered for value) panels.

This isn’t about creating a cheaper panel. There’s a whole story that also involves saving on installation costs.

If value engineering is now part of the customer’s language, why aren’t more manufacturers able to address it proactively?

When you address it, you’re more likely to be part of the discussion and not be surprised when you lose the business. You’re also able to defend the spec by restating the value that your product provides.  

Owners and architects don’t want to save their way into a building with problems.

When you’re comfortable talking about value engineering, you can even describe your higher-priced product as being value-engineered based on the original definition.

While I think dri-design was very smart in the way they positioned this wall panel, you don’t have to go that far to turn the tables on value-engineering and use it to your advantage. 

When contractors are looking for savings, they are looking for the low-hanging fruit. They cannot afford to look at every product that has been specified. If you can’t show how your product is value-engineered for a project, you are at risk of being the low-hanging fruit that loses the sale.

If you want to keep more specs, change the meaning of value engineering. Instead of cheaper, value engineering should mean that your product has been engineered to provide the maximum value for a project.

Contractors stole the term value engineering so they could use it as an acceptable way to say cheaper. It’s time that manufacturers took it back. If you truly believe that your product is the best solution and can make the case for it, your product is already value engineered.

Your websites should have a headline like one of these:

Value Engineered to Save Time and Money*

Our (Door Frames) Are Value Engineered For Each Project

We Value Engineer Our (Cladding) So You Don’t Have To

Let Us Value Engineer Your (Insulation) Specification

* Your product can cost more and still save time and money.

If you’ve ever bought a German luxury car you’ve been sold a product that has been value-engineered. If a higher-priced car can combine value and engineering, why can’t you present your product the same way?

If the industry is trying to reduce waste and inefficiency, doesn’t it make sense to choose a product that has already been value-engineered? There’s no need to waste time searching for an alternative.

There are many good reasons to deal with the elephant in the room of value engineering.

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About The Author

I am the leading sales growth consultant in the building materials industry, I identify the blind spots that enable building materials companies to grow their sales and retain more customers.  As I am not an ad agency, my recommendations are focused on your sales growth and not my future income.

My mission is to help building materials companies be the preferred supplier of their customers and to turn those customers into their best salespeople. Contact me to discuss your situation.