Going to a trade show can give you insight into your industry. The knowledge and exposure to products and resources is of great value in itself. But if you’re attending a trade show for more specific information about a solution, where do you start? There are many exhibitors who may be offering the kind of solution you want, but in a decades-long commitment like a material handling solution, it is crucial to find a company that you’ll want to work with in the long run. This list of questions can help you find the partnership you’re looking for.
Have you had experience with the solution I need?
You may know a lot about the solution you’re seeking, or you may have just a few details. Either way, it is imperative that your material handling supplier has experience with your solution to ensure that they can meet your needs and overcome your challenges; the more experience the better.
How do I integrate your solutions?
Are you starting from the ground up with your solution, or are you integrating it into a system that you already have? If you already have some equipment, you should make sure that your solutions expert can provide the answers you need. This will save you time and money down the road.
What is your lead time?
If you have an immediate need for a new solution, lead time is key. Find out what lead time guarantees the exhibitor has available, what their average lead time is, and their on-time performance. Make sure that lead time can satisfy your requirements.
How much of your product is outsourced?
Offshoring may save a company money in initial costs, but the long-term quality and production can suffer. A business that onshores production has some distinct advantages:
- Production can respond to your changing needs immediately
- They perform quality control within the production process—not after—so you won’t be paying for the production of any faulty equipment
- Their accountability to customers increases
Who is my main contact?
Telling you to call the company line isn’t enough. You should always have a main contact to walk you through each step of the process. They’ll handle any concerns, and be tied to the completion and the success of your project.
Do you offer equipment testing?
Investing in a material handling solution is a large transaction. The exhibitor should be able to offer testing for your product to make sure the integration is seamless, from start to finish. Ask if product testing is part of the process.
Where can I find references?
Some of the best resources you’ll find aren’t just statistics; they’re the experiences of those who have found success in the same kind of solution you’re looking for. Companies should have online reference materials, whether in video or written content, that you can peruse to expand your own understanding of the solution you require.
What kind of after-sale support do you offer?
A good business’s service doesn’t stop at the sale. After-sale support should be efficient, effective, and easy to access. Not only will this help your operation—it may save you some headaches down the line. Ask specifically about product guarantees, equipment training, and customer service data.
Many companies build material handling solutions. Finding the partnership that’s the right fit for your business can positively affect your bottom line for years to come.