Many industrial sales organizations do a wonderful job of wooing a customer, gaining the customer’s trust and making the sale. But what happens after the ink dries on the contract and the purchase order is cut? The reality can leave process heating professionals in a state of distress and confusion.
Here are nine tips about what to look for -- and expect from -- an aftermarket support program for critical industrial heat processing equipment such as boilers.
1 Require a Quality ProductThough this should go without saying, the first step to successful aftermarket collaboration is to begin by demanding a quality product from the boiler supplier. A low-quality product may have an attractive initial price tag, but the cost of constant repairs will result in higher costs over time. Quality also is important when considering safety. Industrial equipment often can be unsafe if not operated or maintained properly. If a product is in need of constant repair or breaks down often, it can put facility operators in a dangerous situation.
2 Aftermarket Support Does Not Stop With the WarrantyMany sales engineers move on after the sale, leaving maintenance to a local mechanical contractor. The contractor typically honors the installation warranty for the first year and then goes missing for the remainder of the equipment’s life. Many heat-processing professionals then are left with equipment they know little about. Look for a company that provides training to equipment operators.
3 Insist on ReliabilityMany plants have process equipment such as boilers that can last 60 years or more. This, combined with the significant capital costs that often come with new equipment, is precisely why it is important to have an aftermarket support program that can be relied on. The aftermarket service provider must be committed to servicing the equipment decades from now with the same vigor demonstrated immediately after installation.
To help ensure you are getting a reliable aftermarket supplier, find out how long the provider has been in business. Ask others in the industry about the company’s reputation, and check the provider’s references. Also, factor in longevity. Looking at a company’s history for stability and longevity can provide assurance that the equipment supplier and its service providers will be around for the long term. While these steps will not guarantee success, they can make you aware of potential “red flags” before you sign the contract.