In theory, the distinction between suppliers, contractor, and consultants is clear. Suppliers provide physical supplies and materials, contractors provide the actual labor, and consultants provide expert guidance and advisement. In a world of complex and interrelated supply chains, however, the lines become less discernable. In the industrial equipment purchasing process it may not always be as obvious what the role of a given vendor should be and what can be considered their actual area of expertise.
Areas of overlap commonly occur within the world of industrial boiler equipment suppliers, contractors, and consultants. A consultant may recommend a particular product or system simply because of a relationship the consultant has with the manufacturer. Similarly, a contractor may recommend a particular supplier because he can subcontract installation work through them. There is not necessarily anything wrong with these relationships, but they are also not inherently the best option for you as the purchaser. When sourcing industrial boilers and boiler work for your plant expansion or construction project, it is important to know what to look for and what questions to ask.
When considering suppliers of materials and equipment, do thorough research on the products and the company itself. Compare competitive options, understand the warrantees, and read as many reviews as you can from a variety of sources. Consider not only what is said about the products but also about the service, delivery, and other advantages that might distinguish one source from another.
As you look for a contractor to do installations, maintenance, or repair work, ask questions such as these:
- Is your company licensed to do the work?
- What is involved in your maintenance inspections?
- What kind of track record do you have?
- Does your maintenance agreement include a safety inspection to make sure the system is installed according to code?
- What does the maintenance plan include, and does it include evaluating the equipment’s performance?
If you need the services of a consultant, research is extremely important here as well. Pay attention to what relationships they have with contractors or suppliers that may impact their recommendation to you. Be sure to ask for client references and call them.
The most important thing in all three areas is that you want to be as educated as possible in your buying process. Look for vendors who will partner with you to educate you and help you develop a comprehensive strategy that is designed to meet your needs.
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