Value-driven buyers

The annual National Plant Engineering & Management Show conjures up all kinds of images of plant engineers checking out products and making buying decisions. What kinds of factors are considered in those de- cisions?

03/01/1998


The annual National Plant Engineering & Management Show conjures up all kinds of images of plant engineers checking out products and making buying decisions. What kinds of factors are considered in those de- cisions? Here's some insight.

Not surprisingly, price and quality reign supreme. Responses to 12 surveys conducted over the past year show that, on the average, 53.1% of plant engineers rate price as an important factor. Close behind is quality at 52.8%. Since "value" is typically defined as a combination of price and quality, it's fair to say that above everything else, plant engineers are looking for high value in the products they buy.

To be sure, the methodology of our research is not scientific. But responses represent 2643 Plant Engineering readers who chose to answer our survey questions about the factors they consider most important in their buying decisions.

Not far down the list is service support (45.8%), maintenance considerations (39.7%), and availability (37.3%).

We asked about total life-cycle cost on only six of the 12 surveys, but it showed a respectable 35.9%. Take this factor into consideration with price and quality, and we begin to get a picture of where plant engineers are putting their priorities.

Just as interesting are some of the factors that don't appear to be very important. For example: Although much has been made of ISO certification, only an average 12.8% of plant engineers pay much attention to it in the buying decision. Nor do they care much if a supplier is big in the world market; "global presence" was a major factor for just 16.3%.

And what a fickle group you appear to be. The evidence? Brand preference was rated a major factor in buying decisions by just 17.2%; installed base by 23.6%; and inplant standardization by 30.3%. With all that potential brand switching going on, does the dealer count for much? Nope. Only a scant 9.8% say the dealer is a major factor in their buying decisions.

I should point out that the results to our questions sometimes varied widely from survey to survey reflecting different priorities for different kinds of products. And we know from other research, for example, that when downtime is a factor, price becomes less important and availability becomes more important. Even so, most NPEM Show exhibitors would do well to remember that value is uppermost in their customers' minds.





Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me