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Lifetime! – Warranty for as long as you own the product

Warranty is an important element for small businesses to control costs of network maintenance. Now, if the manufacturer provides a warranty time that is longer than the industry average it shows confidence of the manufacturer in the quality of its own products. I would expect that products with a longer warranty are less likely to fail and as a consequence the probability of network outages is smaller.

 

However, the duration of the warranty is only one part of the equation. My first computer e.g.. was an Atari ST (with a very nice graphical interface even though the screen was monochrome) and I remember how I suffered when it was broken. The device was still covered by warranty, but I had to send it in for repair. And then I was waiting. Six weeks and many phone calls later the repaired unit returned back to me. My experience: even if the unit is covered by warranty -  there are more facets to warranty; for example how it is delivered.

 

Not long ago Paul Albrecht, HP Networking Warranty Manager, wrote about the context of warranty and RoI on  this blog. So I decided to ask him some questions and he replied immediately.

 

 Paul Albrecht.jpg

 

Gerhard: Paul, HP has pioneered lifetime warranty for networking products. Some networking vendors are offering lifetime warranty as well. Is this a trend for more quality across the industry? 

Paul: I think you do have to have a high degree of confidence in your product to offer a lifetime warranty, but I am not sure if the real driver is quality.  Offering lifetime warranty is new to many vendors, so it's hard to believe that competition is not the main reason.  Since offering lifetime warranty does have a cost, newcomers will have challenges offering a robust warranty like HP.  Many received the desired press attention by announcing these enhancements but all customers will not experience the same coverage or support experience.  Advance hardware replacement, true technical support and software upgrades have always been included on all lifetime coverage HP products.  Not all Lifetime warranties are the same.

 

Gerhard: How can HP afford to provide real lifetime warranty? What are the pre-requisites, the requirements on the products as well as on the service organization?

Paul: HP began offering lifetime warranty in 1998 and the costs were definitely considered.  Looking at process and component design efficiencies and evaluating support methods, HP ProCurve decided they could really make a big impact in the networking industry by offering a customer focused, no “nickel-and-dime”, lifetime warranty.  This was truly ground breaking and has continued to be industry leading - even after many large competitors have tried to sway the attention away from the buzz around "Lifetime Warranty."  Lean HP business processes, true open standards technology at a great price along with respected HP support has allowed HP Networking to continue its growth - even during the recent economic challenges. 

 

Gerhard: When my networking product is broken, how does it work to have it replaced? Can I count on next business day exchange?

Paul: When you have an issue with your HP Networking product, you will want to work with our networking support centers for troubleshooting.  Once a hardware issue is determined, the agent will process your advance hardware replacement and it will be shipped out in the next shipping cycle for the one business day delivery.  All HP E-series and V-series switch products have a Next Business Day advance replacement policy that is available in most countries throughout the world.  You can contact your reseller or your HP sales representative to get the specifics on hardware delivery capabilities in your area.

 

GATH_lres.JPG

 

Gerhard: What customer and partner feedback has there been on the HP networking warranty?

Paul: Not surprisingly, customers still like lifetime warranty.  It helps them reduce maintenance cost and avoid the risk of downtime. Early after the 3Com acquisition, press articles were asking what the new HP Networking warranty was and if the ProCurve Lifetime Warranty was still around.  The answer is a resounding yes - lifetime warranty is still alive and well at HP Networking - check out the E and V-series product warranty in the HP Networking product warranty summary at our updated our warranty page - http://www.hp.com/networking/warranty.

 

Gerhard: Thanks for the infromation, Paul! 

 

 ControlRoom.jpg

 

So what does it take to provide real lifetime warranty on any product? – It requires design for longevity, picking high-quality components to finalize the products and have scrupulous quality tests in place to ensure the product doesn’t fail. I did accompany numerous customer visits to the HP networking R&D center in California and was especially impressed with the “shake & bake” tests that are taking place in the Roseville Hardware test center:

 

 SwitchBakeOven.jpg 

 

Products are tested for electronic or radio frequency emissions. How well they survive a “deep-freeze” or being over-heated and how they function after being tossed and dropped from 3 or 5 feet. Products that don’t pass these tests cannot have life-time warranty.

 

 AnyNoiseQ.jpg

 

My learnings: products with lifetime warranty are not likely to fail and if they do so, you better watch out for a vendor making it easy to get it fixed. 

 

Are you confident with your products? Check out what happens if they fail. If there is a risk, you need to work out a rescue plan.  Don’t lose business because a faulty IT infrastructure may let you down!

Comments
Thato(anon) | ‎11-01-2011 08:38 AM

Background Information

 

Currently working for Government . We procured VOIP solution ( switches , Gateways , switches ) through one of the HP Resellers in our country.Going through the documentation suppiled by the Reseller ,we discovered that some of the equipment procured fall under life time warranty category. This means some of the serila numbers of our equipment are E and V series.

 

The person who was doing the procurement was not aware about HP warranty cover and the reseller took advantage of that. Over and above the amount paid to the Reseller for installation , configuration and Commissioning of the abovementioned equipment. Government paid an amount of R1. Million for three year warraty on the equipment to the Reseller.

 

the question is , Is this Ethical or is it fair for Government to pay double to this Reseller.

 

Regards,

Thato

 

 

 

paul.albrecht | ‎11-03-2011 05:08 PM

Thato, 

 

To answer your question, it is definitely not ethical or good business for a government or any other customer to pay double for support.  I would hope that this situation is only misunderstanding and that the HP reseller is dealing fairly with all of their customers, especially the local government. 

 

As VOIP solutions are critical to any business, ensuring the proper level of support will be available should always be part of the solution so that when problems arise, they can be dealt with as quickly as possible.  These support level requirements often are not met by warranty coverage alone. 

 

I am not familiar with your specific VOIP solution design but it is very possible that it includes many different products from HP Networking – some with lifetime warranty and some with 1-year or even 3-year warranty coverage.  The warranty coverage for HP Networking products is presented in the HPN Product Warranty & Support Summary document.  Some E- and V-series products are often used in VOIP solutions and many do have lifetime warranty coverage.  A-series switches or routers may also be chosen to provide key routing and not all are covered by lifetime warranty.  The HP VCX voice and IP phone products are covered by a 1-year warranty so additional support would definitely be needed to provide three year support coverage.    It is also possible that all products, even those covered by lifetime warranty, may need 24x7 access to support which is an “uplift” to the included business hours technical support.  Without knowing all of the equipment in this solution, it is difficult to calculate if the fee paid for service is too high.

 

HP has gained customers in networking by competing fairly and ethically so if you still feel a concern around the cost of support, I encourage you to ask the reseller to provide an explanation on the services pricing.  You may also request to be contacted by our local/regional HP Networking sales team to discuss your specific situation.  Use this link to submit your request: Contact an HP sales expert.

 

Best Regards,

 

Paul Albrecht

HP Networking Warranty Manager

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