19 November 2015 //
by Jon Jossie
Ultimately, we’re all customers — at the store, the gas station, or when we purchase packaging equipment or other high-capital machinery. When we become better customers, and focus on our part of the equation, we receive better results from the vendor. When looking at capital projects, it’s easy to spend countless hours trying to find the best solution for your product and/or processes. This is natural as most of our time is spent working to improve products and processes within our own company.
However, it’s important to remember that it’s the vendor’s job to offer up solutions and recommendations, not yours — that is why you’re paying them after all. To be a better capital equipment customer, and get the most out of your vendor, follow these three pieces of advice:
1. Tell the Vendor About All of the Issues
Providing vendors with all the information you have about the project, product, and process allows them to best use their experience and knowledge to formulate a solution that best fits your particular situation.
If there is a process that isn’t currently working, specific throughput needs, or space limitations for equipment installation, share this upfront to ensure it can be addressed. As a customer, it’s your job to inform the vendor of the items you absolutely must have, as well as those that would be nice to have. Remember, you are engaging the vendor to work on your behalf, so give them all the information you can to help them efficiently create an equipment solution that will meet your needs.
2. Be Open to Comments and Suggestions
As a customer, it’s important to be open to comments and suggestions about your processes and equipment setup. Be aware that a vendor may have implemented a similar project for another customer that has applications to your desired process or set up, so don’t dismiss the ideas just because the other project was for a different type of industry or product.
Also keep in mind that different vendors will ultimately present different solutions. It’s your job to weigh each suggested solution against the others presented, and select the one that best fits your company.
3. Be Available and Responsive
As I mentioned before, it’s your job as the customer to provide vendors all the information you have so they can create that perfect solution for your application. As such, it’s also important that you’re available to answer the vendor’s questions and provide additional information and feedback when requested.
Also, be open with your vendor about specific expectations you may have including communication methods, timelines, status reports, etc. The more you communicate expectations to a vendor, the more likely they will be able meet them. It’s difficult to know what you expect unless you communicate that appropriately.
In closing, here are a couple additional thoughts to help you to remember your role as a customer:
- Would you tell your car dealer how the cylinders get bored out on the engine or only what size engine you would like?
- Would you tell a restaurant where to buy their food or only how you would like your food prepared?
As customers, regardless of the industry we’re in, the more we focus on our part of the equation the better the results we will see.
Are you seeking a secondary or end-of-line packaging equipment solution for your current product or process? Contact us today to discuss solutions that best fit you.