Making the decision to purchase new labeling equipment that will help you meet enhanced efficiency goals cannot be achieved quickly or lightly; there is a lot to consider when it comes to finding the optimum solution. That’s why it pays to establish a set of vendor evaluation criteria, such as those listed below, to measure against when weighing labeling equipment suppliers.
- Start with Internal Criteria: In order to select the most appropriate labeling machine, you need to have specific efficiency objectives related to what you want to achieve from your production processes. Criteria should to include volume and revenue as well as expenses, don’t forget the label cost, that will fit within your budget and address areas, such as labor, training, maintenance and downtime.
- Create a Requirements Document and Formal Request for a Quote: These internal criteria will form the basis of a requirements document that is essential to use when selecting a vendor. After all, this is not just simply shopping for a copier or some other office equipment; this is an important, long term investment you are making in labeling equipment and your ability to meet specific requirements for various product packaging and labeling depends on making the right choice. Writing out a requirements document and formalizing your request for an equipment quote also helps you focus on ensuring you have considered all your internal criteria and even addressed your challenges and concerns. This also helps a vendor know what they need to pitch to you about their equipment so it is centered on what can help you the most.
- Interview Vendors and Other Customers: Go through your requirements document with each vendor you are considering to assess their responses and see where they may or may not meet the criteria you have listed. Be sure to account for everyone’s answers so you can review and compare them later on. At this stage, it’s also prudent to ask the vendors for customer references who operate like equipment and are available for interview to determine their experiences with their equipment. Hearing from others will give you a real-world perspective from which to compare your criteria.
- Conduct Your Analysis: It’s time to put all your research together. The best way to do that is to create a spreadsheet so you can see each vendor, side by side, against your established criteria. This will help you visualize where the differences are and which criteria will be more important to you. The decision at this point may just come down to a few factors, such as price and comments from other customers who have used the equipment in question.
Here is a summary of the main points to consider that will shape your evaluation of labeling equipment before you buy:
- Make a list of your criteria first so you know what to ask and what to compare.
- Formalize your request for a quote and provide a document with all your requirements to each vendor to see how they respond.
- Don’t just accept your information in writing; feel them out by talking to them and asking to speak to some of their customers to get that real-world perspective.
- Take the time to enter the information into a spreadsheet and analyze the information before making your final decision.
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