What’s Important When Selecting Equipment? Part I – Choosing the Right Vendor

POST DATE Sep 19, 2013

AUTHOR Udo Jahn

I believe vendor selection is one of the most important factors in your decision, with brand of equipment taking a close second. From experience, I‘ve found that you can end up buying the best piece of equipment but if, afterwards, you can’t get the parts and service from the vendor it’s just a liability taking up space on your shop floor. When equipment is down you end up with irate customers, missed deadlines, lost orders and extra costs. This is a very expensive and painful lesson.

4 Key Things to Consider When Evaluating a Vendor

When evaluating a vendor, I look for many things, but most importantly:

  • Do they have local, competent, and available service representatives?
  • Do they have competent parts personnel that are able to get you the right parts quickly?
  • What’s their backup plan if one of their personnel becomes unavailable? Will you be able to get the same level of service and support that you require?
  • Do they have a good reputation in the industry? Do they work to the highest level of integrity?

 

Do they have local, competent, and available service representatives?

All vendors will tell you that they have service representatives available, which is great until you find out that they’re stationed 2000 miles (3200 km) away. This translates to slow service response time, expensive flights, travel time and accommodations. Like me, you may even be lucky enough to pay for the separate transport of their tools. These are substantial costs that add to your service call expense. Plus, they typically they have to come back to finish the job because they don’t have all the parts to finish it the first time. So you’ll definitely want to ensure you have a local service team, but what happens if the local personnel aren’t competent? The best way to confirm their expertise is to ask other customers serviced by the same vendor. Please trust me, these few extra questions can save your company a lot of money.

Do they have competent parts personnel that are able to get you the right parts quickly?

The vendor’s parts department is just as vital as the service team. If you can’t get the right parts quickly then you’ll see longer downtime and higher service bills on your new equipment. I can’t emphasize enough how critical this is. Please make sure you inquire on this and if you have a current vendor that has a parts department that is having an issue, please do yourself a favor and let them know.

 

What’s their backup plan if one of their personnel becomes unavailable? Will you be able to get the same level of service and support that you require?

We know that in business, and everywhere else, people become unavailable for many reasons (I have some good ones). Your vendor will face the same issues. How would this affect your ability to get your machines repaired? It‘s a critical question and you need make sure you know the answer. This information needs to be included in your new equipment decision-making process.

Do they have a good reputation in the industry? Do they work to the highest level of integrity?

Your vendor is going to be your lifeline to keeping your machine running. It’s critical to find out how they are doing with other customers in the industry. Are they honoring the things they promise? Is the vendor charging huge fees for parts and service to make up for discounted equipment sales? Ensure you get the answers to these critical questions before you make a decision on which vendor to buy from.

 

Vendor selection is an extremely important step in deciding what equipment to buy. Making sure your vendor stands behind their sale with a local, competent and available team of parts and service personnel will eliminate or reduce downtime and ensure steady revenue. Is all of this extra effort worth it? Absolutely.

I hope you find these tips useful during your vendor selection process.

Have you ever regretted buying from a certain vendor? How did it impact your business? What do you do now to ensure it doesn’t happen again? I’d love to hear.

Author: Udo Jahn

 

Next article: What’s important when selecting Equipment? (Part 2 – Equipment Capability)

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