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Re: Neon / LED

Posted By: SVP Neon Equipment
Date: Tuesday, 16 September 2008, at 10:44 a.m.

In Response To: Re: Neon / LED (Sean S)


> We (EGL) do fight the fight against LED's We
> are the only ones that show side by side
> demonstrations at the shows, provide
> literature on power consumption, ect.

I don't think anyone can argue that EGL has not made an effort in this regard (though I'm not sure the path they have taken is the one I would have). But please don't make it sound like EGL is doing everyone a big favor. The reality is, it is in EGL's best interest to make the effort. If the neon industry ceased to exist, so would EGL. However, I must also say that it should be disconcerting to us all that the other "big boys" have not *openly* stepped up to the plate. But that does not necessarily mean some of them are not doing anything though.

> People thank us for helping promote neon and then
> when we visit they use our competitors product.

And the problem with that is what? It sounds like just because EGL claims they are "fighting the good fight" against LED's, implying they are doing it alone, it should be mandated that every neon shop should automatically use their products - no questions asked. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way in a free, capitalist society such as ours.

> We go to shops on a constant basis
> and talk to the benders. Most responses from
> the benders are "we have no say in what
> is used". Purchaseing only wants to
> know "how much".

And the problem with Purchasing wanting to know "how much" is what? In today's economy this is a surprise?

What I am reading is, your rep has gained entrance into the sign company. They talk to the benders about using EGL products. Have they been refused an audience with the purchasing agent to talk to them?

> Salespeople push LED because they cost more
> and they get more commission on them.

You cannot categorically fault the sales people for doing this. If there were more incentives for them to push neon, that is what they would push. Most sales people (at least the ones I've known) are only interested in one thing: Making money. That is what they were hired to do - sell products and make the company money.

I have some thoughts on how to rectify this situation to some extent, but it would not be in my best interest to divulge such things to you and EGL wouldn't do them anyway.

> One thing that sign
> shops who use wholesalers hate is having to
> wait for thier glass when they can just pull
> it off the reel and stick it in. They dont
> care how it looks or how long it will last.
> Their vinyl jockies can stick them in when
> they are done weeding the vinyl.

I think there is a lot more to it than that. It is not that cut and dried.

> We promote neon to the fullest but it takes 2.

As they say, perception is everything. Personally, based on what I know, I don't see it. Others may.

> You see the work that is coming in your shop.

That may not necessarily be true. The neon shop may not see anything until the neon patterns are ready. It may already have been decided what type of lighting will be used long before the neon dept. knows anything about it.

> Do your own inhouse tests.

What will this accomplish? You have already said that EGL has done side-by-side comparisons at every trade show and offers various information on the subject. For the most part, doing the same thing in-house would be redundant *unless* a potential customer is truly interested in such a thing and would like to see it first-hand. In that case, by all means, do the comparison tests. Otherwise, use what information is already available.

> We will gladly provide you with samples for a letter
> but we need to know what program it is for
> and who the contact is so we can follow up.
> Most sign shops hide that info

If "Most sign shops hide that info", why would you expect a neon bender in a large sign shop to have access to that information to pass along?

> You do not know how many times we
> have contact corperate offices and shown
> them designer white and are told they were
> only shown 6500SW. Why, because it costs
> more and the shop does want to cut into the profits.

Try a different approach. But again, in order for it to work EGL would have to do some things that they are not willing to.

> Olive garden who uses exposed green. they were
> shown green LED behind plex and shown Tropic
> green behind plex. The neon blew it away on
> brightness and energy consumption. I was
> told that they will most likely be going
> with the LED because it is easier for them
> to do and do not have to have a wholesaler
> do the glass. They also have thier own line
> of LED. Will it last??? I dont think that
> they care.

I think the key here is, "They also have their own line of LED". Expecting them to promote anything other than their own product would be like someone asking EGL to promote the other company's LED's.

> Southern California Edison has done
> extensive testing on channel letters. Ask
> them for the findings. I bet you will not be
> able to get them. I wonder why?

I wonder why too. Was the Freedom of Information Act eradicated when I wasn't looking? The Federal Statute may not apply directly to Southern California Edison because they are not a Federal organization. But they are controlled by the state of California and most states have their own equivalent. I would be surprised if California doesn't.

Most suppliers/manufacturers rely on the various sign supply distribution houses (distributors) around the country to stock and sell their products. In this relationship the distributors are expected to have sales reps go out and visit the local sign companies, including neon shops. On the surface this would seem like an ideal situation: The sales reps become familiar with the local clientele and in some cases even know them on a personal level. The incentive for the distributor is they are allowed to buy product from the suppliers/manufacturers at a discount, thereby allowing them to make money for their efforts. In return for the discount, the distributor is expected to *promote* the suppliers/manufacturers products. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case regarding neon products. When is the last time a rep from your local distributor stopped by to actually *promote* a neon product, or make you aware of something new that was available? There may still be a select few distributors who still do this, but for the most part they are not interested for whatever reason. They are too busy promoting the latest and greatest LED product. So why do neon component/equipment suppliers/manufacturers still allow this failed business practice to continue? Why are they still giving the incentives to the distributors when the distributors are not doing anything to earn them and are seemingly doing everything to help the LED industry?

When things get tough you have to look out for #1, not someone who is just there to pick the bones clean.

Mark


SVP Neon Equipment

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