What does it mean to be “Vendor Neutral?”

Published May 2015



Vendor neutrality is a concept that might not be top-of-mind, but is something to consider when you’re in the thick of planning any large project. It’s especially important to be mindful of this when you are presented with equipment or product options from multiple manufacturers and multiple vendors that you need to compare to make a smart purchase. So, what are the characteristics and benefits of vendor neutrality?
The primary benefit of a vendor that is product or manufacturer neutral is that they are able to use the technology best suited to your needs at any time. They are not limited by a specific product provider or set brands in order to shoehorn a solution into your lighting retrofit project. As a result of this latitude, you, the consumer are engaged in business with a firm that is adaptable, well-rounded, and that has flexibility across the almost limitless lighting scenarios that can exist.The requirements of your energy-efficiency project may be completely unique in the world and working with a company that isn’t restricted by agreements to only buy from specific product manufacturers is a tremendous benefit to you. Steve mentions this in a previous blog about the history of retrofitting. This isn’t a new idea, certainly, but it is important to remember even today.
TRC Sales and Marketing VP, Wendy Fry shares her insight, telling us how vendor neutrality applies to energy-efficient lighting projects,

“Comparing Apples to Apples has just gotten extremely difficult. Gone are the days where a 6-lamp T8 High Bay could be swapped out with 1 of thousands of other options and considered ‘the same.’ With the creation of LED fixtures, optics and design have given buyers a need to bid specific products built to perform in their environment. If you’re choosing between two projects with ’50-watt LED Wall Pack as the only comparison factor, you might be really disappointed in the results of said project.

When considering a purchase from a supplier carrying a few select lines of fixtures, you’re bound to get saddled-up with whatever fixture is the closest match to your needs…that they sell. When choosing a partner in lighting, go with an accredited designer. Then, make sure they are free to choose the solution that will best fit your application. When considering LED, plan to get involved and choose an expert that isn’t bound by what’s on the shelf in a warehouse. Customize.

When you are planning your lighting system, be sure to ask any electrical contractor you consider working with if they have any product or manufacturer limitations. For our guide on other questions you should ask, download our paper, “11 Questions to Ask a Lighting Contractor.”