Comparing Apples with Oranges


In our business and private lives we are often faced with choices about the products and services we buy. Some are bought on brand reputation, others on reliability or third party recommendation, but quite often we make our purchases based on cost.

Whilst cost is always a factor to consider when opening your wallet or purse, it’s always useful to make that all important comparison and judge whether the goods or services on offer really do offer value for money.

In the construction industry, firms are almost always asked to justify their prices and to make sure that costs are the lowest that they can be. But often cheapest isn’t best. How many corners have to be cut to make sure that costs are kept low?

Take materials as an example. We are all aware of the growth of imported products being used on construction sites all over the UK. In the past there was a view that some imported materials were of questionable quality and the drive towards keeping their costs very low did nothing to dispel this. However over the years materials and manufacturing processes have improved and this has led to an overall improvement in the finished goods. But, as above, we always have to compare and make a judgement that the goods really do offer value for money.

Comparing what your trade association, SELECT, does against other organisations is also something which many businesses will do. We are aware that there are other bodies in the marketplace offering some of what we do.

The following series of questions and the Yes and No answers about what SELECT offers its Members will hopefully demonstrate to you where your best interests lie:

  • Is the organisation you are a Member of the trade association and employers’ organisation for the Scottish electrical industry? Yes

  • Is it a not for profit organisation? Yes

  • It owned by its Members? Yes

  • Is it committed to providing a range of value added services for Members, most of which are provided free of charge? Yes

  • Is it the leading industry training body? Yes

  • Is it responsible for running all the additional organisations that support the Scottish electrical industry (SJIB, SECTT, EETF, SECI etc.)? Yes

  • Is it headquartered in Scotland? Yes

  • Is it committed to a personal and local service? Yes

  • Is it actively involved in representing the interests of Members? Yes

  • Is it a commercially focused profit making business that charges for services? No

  • Is it a commercial accreditation business rather than a Membership organisation? No

We are often told by those wishing to get us to change suppliers that what they offer is the best and most competitive on offer. Some even offer incentives to entice us to move, but remember even when it comes to comparing your SELECT Membership with other alternatives, make the comparison on an Apple - v- Apples basis, not on Apples versus Oranges!

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