Choosing a cutting partner
Choosing a cutting system supplier is a significant decision. There are many sellers in the marketplace – and Hypertherm is fortunate to work with the best machine builders, robotic integrators, software resellers and cutting tool distributors worldwide.
As a buyer, here are some criteria to consider:
- Products and technologies. Perhaps the most obvious consideration is what technologies and products the supplier offers. And, more importantly, do they have the knowledge and flexibility to grow you as your needs grow?
- Industries served. Some providers specialize in meeting the needs of specific market segments, and may have extensive experience and expertise helping advise customers who have faced the same business challenges you are facing. Other providers have experience across many industries; this broad view may help bring new insights to your business.
- Motion. Many cutting machines look alike, but the actual motion of different machines varies significantly. As a result, using the same cutting tool – for example, a HyPerformance® HPRXD® plasma system or a HyPrecision® waterjet pump – on two different X-Y cutting tables or two different robots may result in varying cut quality. Both the hardware and the software that the cutting machine manufacturer uses are critically important. Learn more about motion quality
- Integrated offering. Some sellers offer hardware and software from multiple suppliers, and may have their own branded offerings of software, Computer Numeric Control (CNC) or other products; some sell an integrated set of products from a single supplier. An example of an integrated set of products from Hypertherm includes a plasma power supply, torch and consumables, CNC, Torch Height Control (THC), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software, as well as post-sale service and support. Ask questions to understand each seller’s approach and to assess the strength of their business relationship with their suppliers. Make sure that the products you buy are designed to work together seamlessly, and that you know who’s responsible for providing service and support.
- After sales service model. Purchasing a cutting machine is a point-in-time event – but your needs as a customer extend far beyond the actual transaction. Consider the importance of training, access to consumables and parts, preventive maintenance, technical service, and more. Do you prefer a partner who provides proactive service and support, or are you satisfied with having a seller who only responds when you call? Sellers’ after sales service offerings vary widely, and it is important for buyers to understand what they can expect over time.
- Customer satisfaction. Once you have a short list of suppliers, it may be in your best interest to get the perspective of some of their current customers. The most meaningful assessments will come from customers whose needs or priorities closely match your own. Here again, try to get an understanding of long-term customer satisfaction – not just at the point of sale, but also over an ongoing business relationship.
- Cultural alignment. If you plan to develop a long-term business relationship with your supplier and expect them to become a business partner, not just a seller, you may want to assess whether there is a good cultural fit, just as you would when considering hiring a new employee for your team. The basic question is, are your two companies’ visions, values and personalities sufficiently aligned to enable you to become long-term, trusted business partners?
Our experts are always ready to help, and will be happy to help you identify your cutting priorities and discuss potential solutions. Contact us