Sourcing Laser Equipment – Validate the Supplier
Validate the Supplier
There are two basic questions that are important to validate your supplier:
- How long has this supplier been in business?
- Who are their existing customers?
Similar to a bank’s customer evaluation, the business operation history should be longer than three years (the longer the better). Additionally, the supplier should have a customer base of several hundred at least.
To weigh a supplier’s level of support, the following two questions should be asked:
- How many full-time field service technicians does the supplier have?
- How many full-time electrical and software engineers does the supplier have?
There are two types of laser integrators. One type of sourcing every sub-assembly from the market, including software, and integrating them into a machine. They believe that finding the right vendor will allow them to keep up with technological advancements. The shortcoming to this is obvious, not only will there be compatibility issues between the subsystems, and after sales service will be slow.
The other type develops the controller, software and even the laser source, so that the integration is independent and more controllable. Because of this, the field service response is much faster and effective. To effectively support the customer, the field service technicians must be around 20% of the company’s employees, and they should have a minimum of 4 to 5 full-time software and electrical engineers, so they can support continuous development and necessary field service. Without these labor configurations, and only relying on the sub-assembly vendor’s labor, it is impossible to deliver good support to a laser equipment end user.
Before paying your deposit, the regular D&B credit check should be done. It ensures the equipment suppliers are in a good financial position and can deliver the equipment on time. If necessary, you can also schedule a visit to the supplier’s factory, so that you can see the operations and employees.