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Olympus buys microscope distributor business

I have observed some microscope companies moving slowly away from using regional distributors to sell their products, opting instead to work directly with their customers. In line with that trend, Olympus America Inc. today announced an agreement with Optical Analysis Corp. -- a company based in Nashua, NH that distributes and resells scientific instrumentation and systems. As of April 1, Olympus will have acquired the company's microscope, imaging and image analysis business. This means that Olympus will begin selling microscopes directly in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Indiana and parts of Illinois and Michigan, and it will work directly with current Optical Analysis customers. Olympus uses direct and dealer sales, depending on the region.

While I know many distributors have great relationships with their customers and with microscope companies, if I were going to spend significant money on a microscope system I would want to work directly with the manufacturer. The complexity of today's microscopes, software, and accessories makes it difficult for anyone to know it all. This complexity added to tight budgets mean that customers want to be fully informed. They want to be sure they are getting the very best setup for their needs and for their money. A microscope company can have employees that specialize in certain types of microscopes or in specific methods, whereas, distributors may not have the number of employees needed to develop this type of expertise. Plus, the microscope manufacturer can make the decision of when a customer's interest warrants a visit from a more advanced expert - whether it is a matter of money or an innovative application.

What are your experiences with distributors vs. working directly with a microscope company?

News Source: Olympus Press Release


Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy,

It's interesting to see companies like Olympus adapt their business model to have closer relationships with customers. Is this a shift on the consumer, academic or both sides? Would you also say that this is current within the confocal business? I'm not aware of the major confocal distribtuors or how customers interact with industry in this arena...can you enlighten me? Thanks!


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