Have you ever lost trust in someone or in a company? Recently I hired a landscaper to extend a retaining wall at my house and he assured me he was experienced. The guy is a local friend of a friend, so I didn’t; check his references, verify that he had the engineering/installation documents from the manufacturer, ask him to explain how he was going to do the job, and, I didn’t ask what tools he was going to use. I simply trusted him for his word.
Guess what, after the first day, it was evident that he didn’t know what he was doing. After a long discussion with him where he aggressively defended his work, I gave him two options. He could either pack up his stuff or start over and do it right. I was lucky because I caught all of the mistakes before it was backfilled and I wouldn’t have known until the entire retaining wall fell over. Thank goodness he agreed to remove the wall and start over.
So, why does this matter and how does this relate to LED lights? Simply put, you can’t just trust the majority of LED lighting manufacturers. As a manufacturer, part of our standard process is to evaluate our competitor’s products. We routinely find that the information on the specifications/technical sheets do not match up with the third party testing companies, such as DesignLight Consortium or Underwriters Laboratory. What makes it even worse, almost every product on the market is manufactured overseas, so there is no recourse.
As a buyer, you need to verify that what you are buying is the right product for your needs. Are they tough enough to stand up to the environmental challenges of the space, such as heat, moisture or dust? Will they deliver the necessary brightness and color spectrum to optimize the performance and experience of the people who are in the space?
Not all LED lights are the same. There are many options available. Different environments and needs require specific products. Before you select products and providers, it is necessary to include pre and post testing to measure; where you are now, what you need, and, confirm that your key performance indicators are being met.
I had another experience six years ago at my engineering company. This time from a lighting manufacturer who deceived our company about their performance, warranty, delivery dates, price, specified components, and the list goes on. We could take the abuse for only so long before deciding to take control of our own destiny. We developed our own Company to build LED fixtures with the goal of not being the kind of company who takes advantage of their clients but instead is motivated to further the cause of our clients.
Like any other major purchase, you must do your research and then trust but verify. The use of systems, processes, research and validation in your LED lighting selection will ensure that you receive the best value and performance. If a vendor balks at providing these steps – walk.