What To Consider When Purchasing A New Tool, Product, or Service


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1. It’s All About The Money

How much does it cost?  Engineers hate to accept this, but cost plays as important a role as any when outsourcing new tools.  You can find the best product in the world for your design, but if you can’t turn a profit because it costs too much, it’s simply not attainable.

2. Spec It Out

One of the most difficult (and often mis-handled) decisions upper management has to make is striking the balance between resource cost and efficiency.  Picking the wrong tool can be a technical disaster for your engineers, causing schedule slips and possibly delaying projects indefinitely.  It is imperative that tech-savvy folks carefully measure all the required specifications for the new purchase in question.  Depending on the industry, this can mean size, speed, weight, runtime, memory usage, dimensions, etc. etc.

3. Square Peg, Round Hole

How compatible will the new product be?  Integrating the tool into an existing or past design project can be a challenge.  Be sure to evaluate specifically the ease-of-integration when shopping for a technical product.  The schedule slip will be blamed on the engineer if the glove doesn’t fit.

4. Future use

At times, this can be lumped in with the required specifications.  But, how long the new product will last and keep your engineered designs on the cutting edge is an important enough factor to have its own bullet.  I like to think of it as a tool’s shelf-life.  Will you still be using this in one year’s time?  Two?  Ten?  It helps to learn everything there is to know about the product you’ve chosen AND its competitive offerings.  Go to trade shows, read technical magazines and offerings, and occasionally meet up with local salespeople to gauge what else is out there.  Doing this at the onset of your product choice may clue you in to how long it will be before you are shopping again.

5. Customer Support

This is an often underrated consideration when looking for a new tool, product, or service.  How comfortable are you with the technical salesperson?  Can the outsourcing company be counted on when trouble arises?  Make sure to get the technical support you need for your high-tech designs.

Now, if there were only somewhere an engineer could go to get help when making these expensive, technical choices.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t drop at least one shameless plug for Industrial Interface.  This is the optimal resource for engineers looking for technical products and services.

What is the most important feature you consider when purchasing a new tool, product, or service?

Category: Efficiency, Engineering & Design, Industrial B2B Sales

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