David Peacock: Attributes to Look for in a Material Handling Integrator

David Peacock

A material handling system is a huge investment and often establishes the performance capabilities of the organization.  Consequently, experience and communication are key attributes to look for when choosing a partner that will aid you in designing and implementing the appropriate solution for your business.  The right integration partner has the experience in your application and is a strong communicator.  They must be if they are going to be your point person, your translator, your expert, and your teammate.

Hytrol works solely through a curated list of integration partners and has done so from the beginning.  Our integration partner network has been built over a 60+ year period.  Each partner is different—they focus on different industries, different scales of projects, and have different capabilities for their customer networks.  Yet they all must possess certain key attributes. Working with them, we have learned over the years which of these attributes increase the probability of a successful project and a successful relationship.  We are glad to share the insights we have gleaned throughout our years in the industry.  These are the most important attributes you should look for in a material handling integrator.

Experience

The integrator you choose must have experience in the type of solution you want to implement. Just like you wouldn’t choose an eye doctor to fix your broken foot, you shouldn’t choose an integrator whose training and experience only prepare them to integrate a different solution than the one you need.

And, they should have access to training to keep their knowledge base up to date. This will allow them to have hands-on experience with the most innovative equipment possible and access to leading minds in the industry.

Communication

This is a critical component that an integrator brings to the table. Our integration partners go beyond cookie-cutter solutions or the one-and-done sales calls. Their value resides in taking the time to understand your business, your processes and your culture, and to couple that knowledge with their industry knowledge to develop the best value solution available. They bring this value to your project by providing assistance from consultation to life cycle support. Key components of their value-added services include:

  • Design review
  • Product testing
  • Engineering for specialized items
  • Project management
  • Guaranteed shipment dates
  • Performance commitments

The Hytrol Integration Partner Network in particular gives a competitive advantage to our customers by working as our sales force—this relieves overhead costs while maintaining the local and market segment relationships that they’re known for. Integration partners provide the highest level of support through start-up assistance, feasibility studies and simulations, training, and competitive pricing.

So you’re ready to make a decision on who to partner with… not so fast!

Experience and communication are important and your selection process has gotten to this point.  Now you need to determine who has those less tangible skills necessary to best fit with you.

Objectivity

Rather than focus solely on the products of a specific company, an integration partner should be a best-of-breed solution provider focused on getting you the best equipment and service at the best price. Technological advances can change the way products are handled throughout your material handling system. Implementing a solution that is not only dependable and innovative, but offers versatility, is where our integration partners excel.  Everyone involved has peace of mind knowing that this solution is truly world-class.

A desire to help

This soft skill can better your experience with purchasing a solution exponentially. Characteristics like being accessible, helpful, and dependable are part of Hytrol’s values, and we seek integration partners with those same values. Sure, an integrator should want your project but they should want to build a strong relationship with you so they understand the challenges you face and are a resource to you as you begin the process of taking on that next challenge.  Understanding that rushing to close this project so they can move on to their next project is a shortsighted approach that does a disservice to you: the customer. When the customer is the top priority, everyone wins.

There are several sources for material handling equipment; taking the time to understand the best person to integrate that equipment will go a long way in ensuring your project is a complete success.

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