It represents a marked change for the century-old sight system
If De Beers’ old policy for an allocation was “take it or leave it,” it is now increasingly “have it your way.”
In a marked change from De Beers’ standard practice—it prefers to call it an “enhancement”—the miner is experimenting with offering sightholders boxes made to order for their needs.
Traditionally, De Beers has separated its product into 120 standard assortments. And while that continues, it is also working with certain clients to create tailored mixes.
This represents a significant break from how things have generally worked in the century-old sight system. In the past, clients would buy boxes with goods they didn’t want in order to get the ones they did. (Creating a well-balanced assortment has always been one of the “arts” of the diamond industry.) The new customized boxes will include only what the clients want.
“We want to hit our clients’ sweet spot and ultimately create more efficiency,” says Nigel Simson (pictured), head of De Beers’ new product planning department.
So far, the new program involves only a small percentage of goods, but it is designed to be scalable. De Beers “doesn’t have a target” for how many goods will ultimately become part of this system, says Simson.
“It is very early days,” he adds. “We have half a dozen nonstandard products and are really assessing the merits of those as we go forward.”
Ultimately the tailored assortments could become part of customers’ ITO (intention to offer) plans.
As with any customized product—from suits to engagement rings—the new assortments will cost more.
“There will be an additional cost to us for producing this,” Simson says. “We would have to take that into account. [But] we are not looking at this as an additional revenue stream.”
Instead, he says, De Beers sees this as a value-added service for its customers—and, given that no other producer offers a similar service, it may provide clients additional incentive to stay in the De Beers fold.
“It is all about our long-term customer centricity,” says Paul Rowley, executive vice president of global sightholder sales. “It is all about relationships, offering the right service to the right customers.”
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