Thursday, November 10, 2011

The 10-Year 3D Metrology Purchasing Cycle

The world of 3D Metrology capital equipment looks something like this:

Year 1 - 2: a company discovers an opportunity to apply 3D metrology to solve a problem
Year 2-3: the company researches various options, technologies, and solutions, and identifies the "best" one, often through a series of tests and product demonstrations.
Year 3-4: the company requests a budget for the equipment by justifying the Return on Investment (ROI) against the capital cost
Year 4-5: the company receives the budget, and places an order for the equipment. The equipment is delivered within several months, unpacked, set up, and training takes place.
Year 5-6: the company starts using and testing the 3D metrology equipment, and ramps up on its use. They work through issues, perform tests, and start on the path of becoming an "expert" in its use.

THEN, SOMETHING AMAZING HAPPENS (year 6-7) -- either the equipment works, or it doesnt. If it works, then the customer's use of the equipment meets the ROI, and all is good. The company is able to continue its use, and possibly purchase additional systems to further improve productivity. But if it doesn't work or if it "kind of" works (i.e. it doesn't work), then the ROI is not met.

If it doesn't work, then in many cases the technology itself is blamed as "not being ready" or perhaps the project is shifted to a different department, or perhaps the measurement equipment is re-purposed to another task, and the company continues to try to find a new solution (since the original problem has not yet been solved). They go back to Year 1, and the next system is not purchased until several years later. This means that the company does not have an opportunity to solve the problem the 2nd time until 10 years after the original opportunity was identified. Hopefully, this time around they pick the correct technology, or the cycle extends even longer.

But what almost never happens is that if the technology doesn't work, the company asks the 3D metrology company for a refund so they don't have to wait 5 more years for their next budget. We believe this is wrong. We believe that if the 3D metrology equipment does not meet its specification to realize the ROI, then the 3D metrology company should refund the purchase price.

In addition, we are taking additional steps to assist companies in solving their 3D metrology needs the right way, the first time. How are we doing this?
1) By charging the lowest possible price for the equipment, i.e. delivering the highest-perfoming system at the lowest possible price (through innovative system design --there are numerous examples of our approach saving significant money for customers), and therefore improving the ROI multiple, and reducing the size of the budget required for the purchase (and therefore hopefully accelerating the budget cycle); and

Choose wisely.

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