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When you purchase machinery or tooling, what one factor matters most to you and why? 

  • Brand name
  • Customer service/technical support
  • Price 
  • Supplier’s reputation

As to your question – in order of priority:Customer Service: It’s always all about the level of service and support. If that is where it should be, then I have absolutely no worries and know that my supplier will be more concerned for my “wellbeing” than I am, so I can focus on other challenges 

of running the business. I approach this level of decision as the same level of partnerships in business ownership.

Supplier’s Reputation: Inextricably linked to the first point. People do business with people they like, trust and have heard about. It works both ways and this is a crucial matter of understanding in “partnership” approaches.

Brand Name: Must consider this as it is at times very important to our customers,not the least of which aerospace expects a certain continuity across the board.

Price: Et voilà – all else being equal, then pricing. But this is the last factor in a weighted analysis I do with respect to the first three items mentioned.
—A. van Zuiden, business development, SECM-GT International Inc., Sherbrooke, QC 


Supplier’s reputation
—Dan Moynahan, president, Platinum Tool Technologies, Oldcastle, ON


All of the factors matter but in this order,

  • Customer service/technical support
  • Price
  • Supplier’s reputation
  • Brand name

—Nigel Burbidge, VP operations, Footage Tools, Vaughan, ON


Price is what gauges where to start looking. From price you can decipher what brand name/customer service/suppliers reputation that is available at your budgeted price.
—Greg Nichols, operations manager, Standard Machine & Manufacturing, Stoney Creek, ON


That’s a tough one but if we had to pick only one….The first factor that matters to us out of the four is customer service and technical support.

Why we chose this: You can spend all the money in the world on a machine tool but ultimately it will fail, nothing is 100 per cent. So paying more doesn’t mean you’ll have 100 per cent troublefree operations. (Having a plan to keep it running is a good thing)

2) Brand name is as good as the painted letters on the side of the machine, it doesn’t do anything for you unless someone is supporting it.

(I have a lathe made in China; most people would say it’s no good, but if you used it and saw how well it worked, you would be surprised! Never judge a book by its cover.)

3) Supplier’s Reputation is closely tied to service and support because this is what you hope you’ll be getting once you buy their product. But, what is that reputation built on?

(Hopefully good customer service and tech support!)  

In the machine tool end of things, to us, a machine tool is an end product made up of many technologies i.e. computer, mechanical assemblies, hydraulic, electrical, etc. The machine tool builder is the one who brought all of these together to create the final product. As a shop owner, my goal is to keep their final product working for me continuously day in and out. Unless you are diverse in each one of these backgrounds, it is very hard to troubleshoot your own piece of equipment to keep it spinning when it fails. And it will fail.

You have to reverse engineer what they did to figure out what it’s suppose to be doing and make it function properly. Not an easy task sometimes.

Hence having a strong and reliable customer service and technical support team to keep the machine running is very important.
—Spyros Chaidemenos, owner, Speedox Custom Machining Inc., London, ON.

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