The customer has three options when purchasing a lift table . He buys directly from the manufacturer, through the retail trade or he commissions an engineering firm to design and procure the scissor lift table. Does the qualified engineering firm offer the optimal balance between coordination expenditure and independence?
An earlier article already dealt with two sources of supply: the lift table manufacturer and the dealer. Acquiring lift tables through dealers is usually only worthwhile for standard lift tables. Buying lift table variants, customised designs or for special installation situations is best done in close consultation with the lift table manufacturer.
If you do not want to do without the independence from the different suppliers, but still only wants to coordinate with one party, procurement via an engineering firm could be a sensible option.
In this article we want to take a closer look at the individual advantages and disadvantages of engineering firms compared to direct purchase and purchase through the retail trade.
Advantages of the engineering firm
As a rule, engineering firms have a high degree of technical know-how. This reduces the risk that a scissor lift table is recommended solely based on the quoted price. If the employees of the engineering firm deal diligently with the individual requirements of their customer and then evaluate the various offers of the lift table manufacturers, a scissor lift that fits the customer’s needs perfectly can be procured.
If an engineering office takes the customer's requirements seriously, it also deals with the various regulations that apply to the design and installation of lifting platforms. This should help to avoid unpleasant surprises during the actual approval process of the lift table.
Disadvantages of the engineering firm
But even the engineering firm as a source of supply also has some disadvantages.
The higher consultation costs and the longer response time can be mentioned, for instance. The following should be taken into account in this regard” a dealer will normally be able to provide you with a quote on a lift table relatively quickly, as he can base it on an existing range of standard lifting tables.
In contrast to this, an engineering firm will request quotations from various lift table manufacturers and then check them according to technical and commercial criteria. The offer with the best price-performance ratio will then be recommended for purchase. The engineering firm of course charges for this additional work or, better, this added value, so that higher ancillary procurement costs can be expected compared to the retail trade price.
Provided that the engineering firm has sufficient experience with conveying and handling equipment, these higher consultation costs will certainly pay for themselves in the time and effort saved.
The engineering firm in comparison to the lift table manufacturer
In almost all cases, we recommend obtaining the lift table or lift platform directly from the lift table manufacturer. Additional middlemen only increase the price and add to coordination problems.
If, however, in the case of direct purchasing, internal costs are also taken into account in addition to the pure payment flows, procurement through an engineering firm can be quite attractive. A good and experienced engineering firm will take care of the search for an inexpensive and high-quality scissor lift on your behalf. All procurement activities can be handled independently by the firm, so that you can use your valuable time for other work.
However, we do recommend that you formulate the individual requirements for the lift table yourself and record the installation situation using descriptions, photos, drawings and/or sketches. An engineering firm or an experienced lift table manufacturer can of course assist you with this.
Once you have your requirements and your installation situation in writing, the enquiry to the various lift table manufacturers does not take long, again changing the perspective on this advantage of using an engineering firm.
All that is then needed to get a suitable, high-quality lift table or column lift is to select the right offer. Below, we would like to give you a few tips on choosing the right manufacturer.
The deceptive offer price
The real problem with direct purchase only arises when the offer is evaluated by someone outside the industry. Of course, no employee can be familiar with the laws and standards in all areas of expertise. For this reason, the manufacturer that is seemingly the cheapest is often selected, even though this manufacturer has not, for example, included all the necessary safety equipment.
We recommend the procedure below for the final selection of the lift table or column lift.
1. Sort the offers according to price
Especially in times of increasing competitive pressure, costs are an important criterion, as they have a direct impact on profitability, cash flow and return on investment . And as a private person, you understandably want to buy a lift table at the lowest possible price too.
For this reason, the price is set as the most important selection criterion. The only secret is not to stop at this point but to continue and look for differences between the offers. (We assume that the remaining conditions, such as the delivery time of the offers, are acceptable).
2. Identification of technical differences
When the prices differ significantly, there is reason to believe that the different lift table manufacturers did not quote on comparable lift platforms. Because if there is a large price difference between identical products, the more expensive supplier would otherwise not exist in an ideal market.
Unfortunately, the offer normally does not provide sufficient information about the significant differences between the different products. Every manufacturer praises his product as the best. Also, the real advantages of the products are not always listed in writing, as they can easily be passed on to the competition.
Therefore, we recommend simply calling or writing to one of the more expensive (and, at best, established) manufacturers. In our experience, the sales staff of a good supplier can explain in detail why the higher price is justified.
The most common reasons for large price differences are missing safety devices or reducing the lift table to the minimum equipment.
The reason for a missing safety device is often a wrongly offered product. For example, some lift table manufacturers offer a simple lift platform, although special equipment is required for this due to the special installation situation. However, the operator of the lift table will suffer the consequences, as the approval is refused. Also, it is difficult to prove a fault on the part of the manufacturer, as so often the request was for a simple lift table.
In addition, some suppliers from the upper price segment offer their lift tables with better equipment to increase the ease of use later. This can include rubberised locating pins, which are still not provided as standard equipment by all lift table manufacturers.
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