Don’t Get Bent Out of Shape with Machinery from the Wrong Supplier
You find you need a new press brake, so you look online for fabrication machinery providers close to your location. “Hmm,” you say as you scan the listings, “Big Bubba’s Whiz-Bang Machine Emporium is just a few miles away. They are probably as good as anyone else—I’ll go see if they have a brake I can buy today.”
Now Bubba might just run a quality establishment, but even if you are in critical need of a machine to meet a pressing deadline, it’s essential to check with a variety of dealers and evaluate not only the equipment they sell but their individual reputations in the industry. Even if a machine works like a dream for you, it will eventually turn into a nightmare if the company you bought it from isn’t willing to support it—and you—down the line. From warranty to service work to replacement parts, there are many factors that separate good suppliers with less-than-ideal ones.
The Key to a Quality Machinery Dealer
The single critical distinction between an excellent and a poor machinery provider can be summarized in one word: “partnership.” If you find a seller who considers themselves to truly be a partner in your business success, almost any other concern is secondary. The poorly stocked dealer who is always willing to go the extra mile to help you is usually a much better find than the big distributor with dozens of lines whose staff act like impatient used car salesmen ready to make a fast deal when you walk in the door.
While shopping around to different dealers for different machines may be necessary at times, finding one who can supply most of your metalworking needs while viewing you as a someone with whom to build an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship should be your goal. The dedicated machinery provider will get to know your company and concerns and be able to recommend new machines, upgrades, tooling, and accessories that are appropriate for your situation, rather than simply wanting to make a quick buck at your expense.
Some Considerations for Finding the Perfect Fab Machinery Provider
Along with their dedication to the success of the end user, many other factors should be looked at when locating the very best metal fabrication machinery provider for your specific needs. Start with the suggestions below and add your own criteria to create a master checklist of what the ideal machinery provider should look like. Then compile info for as many distributors as you can and see how many boxes they can check.
Look at the company itself:
- How long have they been in business?
- Did the owners work in the industry previously?
- Do they have a good track record in the marketplace?
- Does the company have many legitimate complaints filed against them?
- Do the owners or managers have any certifications (such as being certified appraisers)?
- Have companies in your local market bought from them, and if so, what do they think about them?
Look at the sales staff:
- Do they offer a pre-sale consultation where they take the time to understand your products and processes to make sure they are recommending the right solutions for your specific needs?
- Do they offer a site evaluation to determine if your existing manufacturing environment will work with the machinery being recommended, or if changes to the shop layout, utility lines, or other factors will have to be addressed?
- Do they have sufficient training and experience in the industry to be able to recommend the right equipment for you?
- Do they answer all your questions in a straightforward manner and with complete transparency about the equipment and the sales process?
- Are they willing to demonstrate why a larger or more advanced model might work out better for your needs rather than just selling you something off the display floor?
Look at their inventory:
- Do they offer the basic fabrication machines, namely press brakes, shears, plate rolls, angle rolls, band saws, and ironworkers?
- Do they sell machines from reputable manufacturers with a good track record?
- Do they have a wide range of models, capacities, and styles within each line of equipment?
- What kind of warranties are offered with the machines?
- Do they provide an adequate selection of optional accessories and upgrades for the machines they sell?
- Can they order custom-built machines for different capacities or needs?
- Can they provide more obscure machines for their customers (such as plate rolls for aerospace needs)?
- Do they offer used machines, and if so, what condition are they in?
Look at their support services:
- Do they provide shipping?
- Do they offer machinery rigging and installation?
- Do they offer training on new equipment?
- Do they have an inhouse service department?
- Can they help you program CNC machines?
- Do they offer remote after-hours troubleshooting assistance?
- Do they offer affordable preventative maintenance contracts?
- Do they have an inhouse parts and tooling department?
- Do they offer financing and leasing?
- Do they take trade-ins?
- Can they consign or otherwise help you dispose of old equipment?
- Do they offer additional services such as appraisals and auctions?
Partnering for Productivity
Partnering with the right metal fabrication machinery provider will help your shop gain the best metalworking solutions for your current and future jobs. The leading distributors know that as they help their customers become successful through greater productivity that their success is also guaranteed. They know that selling equipment the right way not only helps end users, but also firms up the industry and the overall economy in the process.
By carefully choosing a quality dealer, you will find more than just good equipment at a fair price—you will be surrounding yourself with a support team that will keep in touch long after the sale is over to make sure that they are doing everything they can to keep your profits high and problems low. You’ll confirm your choice of the perfect dealer the day you realize that you have long stopped thinking of them as just a vendor but consider them friends that you can count on to help you succeed.