The uninformed end-user is a major concern for the fall protection market, according to strategic research by Frost & Sullivan. As a result, these end-users lack the understanding of the importance of fall protection, forcing the need for education in this market.
There has been an increase in awareness among end users through the help of unions and fall protection manufacturers. However, there is still a need to educate many small- and mid-sized companies.
According to industry analyst Caryn Sykes, manufacturers who are able to educate end-users on how proper fall protection can prevent accidents, liability and downtime and, in the long run, improve the company's bottom line will have an advantage in this market.
Cost is a big issue to more than half the purchasers of fall protection equipment. This is especially apparent in the construction industry where a large portion of end-users, especially the small to mid-sized companies, only purchase fall protection equipment to comply with OSHA standards.
Many end-users are only looking to meet regulations, resulting in a demand for inexpensive product lines. This has led some manufacturers to offer more than one product line. In addition to their original product line, manufacturers are adding minimally priced "compliance" lines.
"This allows manufacturers to be able compete in both sides of the market," Sykes said. "They offer products to end-users making purchase decisions based on price and end-users making purchase decisions based on quality, taking away market share from companies that only offer one or the other."
Research by Frost & Sullivan indicates that the fall protection market reached an estimated $220 million in 1999. Most future market growth is expected to come from regulatory driven sales and an increase in awareness among end-users.
Frost & Sullivan, a global leader in international marketing consulting and training, monitors the health and safety industry for market trends, market measurements and strategies. Its 2000 Marketing Engineering Awards were given to companies that have worked hard to make a positive contribution to the fall protection equipment industry. The Distribution Strategy Award was given to Elk River. DBI/SALA received the Marketing Strategy Award. The Merger & Acquisition Award went to Dalloz Fall Protection.
This health and safety industry research has integrated the market engineering consulting philosophy into the entire research process. Critical phases of this research included: identification of industry challenges, market engineering measurements, strategic recommendations, planning and market monitoring. All of the vital elements of this system help the market participants navigate successfully through the fall protection equipment market.