Purchasing assembly equipment is a huge investment, even beyond the upfront costs. It takes time to make an informed decision and there are many factors to consider. Until there is a proven partnership with a preferred vendor, many manufacturers will request quotes from multiple companies in order to make the best decision. While it can be daunting to compare multiple proposals, here are five things to keep in mind:
- List all the requirements and determine which ones are most important. Lead time and budget are often discussed first or viewed as the most important. Sometimes there are other factors of equal importance and need to be considered when comparing proposals.
- Is there a desired outcome or a functional requirement for the part? The chosen assembly process and resulting equipment will depend on if your part needs to function in a certain way, such as meeting a rotational torque requirement or withstanding high operational forces. Aesthetic requirements can also be important if the part needs a certain finished look.
- What are your annual volume requirements? Does the cycle time of the equipment help you meet those requirements? Keep in mind that operator load/unload time, level of automation, efficiency percentages, and hours worked per day can impact if assembly equipment meets your requirements.
- Do volume requirements or labor challenges require a level of automation? If so, it’s important to choose a vendor that has experience with automation and can provide a solution that meets your automation requirements.
- Are there any safety or ergonomic requirements that need to be met? This might include guarding, light curtains, or other custom safety options. The work height of the equipment may also be a factor, along with ease of operator load and unload.
- Compare the features of each quote. Are the quotes considered “apples to apples” – do they have the same features and options included in the proposal? If not, what are the differences? Understanding the differences in the quoted content and comparing that to the requirements that are most important can help better inform decision makers when comparing multiple quotes.
- Consider quality and maintenance requirements. Robust, high-quality equipment may have a higher upfront cost, but require less maintenance in the future. It’s important to understand the maintenance requirements of the equipment and the reputation of the equipment manufacturer.
- Evaluate the total cost of ownership. Beyond the initial up-front cost, are there any additional costs to consider? This might include installation, training, maintenance and repair costs, estimated lifespan of the equipment, and the overall return-on-investment.
- Look for a trusted partner. Are you supported during the sales process? A trusted partner will take the time to understand what’s most important to you and find the best solution that delivers the desired results. What about support after the sale? This includes follow-up after installation, response time to any questions or challenges, availability of spare parts, on-site and remote service options, training, and general on-going support.
Making capital equipment purchases is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Keeping the above considerations in mind can help streamline the process and make the task a little less daunting.
At Orbitform, we understand the importance of making the right choice when it comes to purchasing assembly equipment. We partner with engineers and other key decision makers to fully understand their requirements in order to provide the best solution for them. With multiple permanent assembly processes, the capability to assemble samples in Solutions Lab, the ability to build standalone or fully automated equipment, and our in-house engineering, spare parts, and service departments, we strive to be a trusted partner for manufacturers. Contact us for your next assembly equipment purchase and let us help you make a fully informed decision.