The Purchasing Process Involves Strong Communication, Teamwork and Creativity
By Gary Kohlnhofer & Nick Anton
3DT strives to find a highly effective and dependable solution for every client’s unique surface treatment application and adhesion challenge. Whether that solution lies in our line of standard products or engineered through our application development process, we utilize a collaborative approach to produce a successful, “real world”, proven solution. Typically, the process for purchasing a system follow the steps below. Standard systems ensue a shorter process and, if the item is in stock, it can be shipped within days. Custom systems follow the same initial and final steps but incorporate additional steps collaborating with customers and our team to develop the correct solution. Additionally, it’s not unusual for customers to visit 3DT at some point along the process. Please see the flow chart below.
Purchasing a Standard System-
- Reaching out- Typically, a customer calls, emails, or sends an RFQ sharing a need for better adhesion on their component.
- The application is explored– Our sales engineers discuss the application with them gathering more details on the type of material, process parameters, cycle time, material handling considerations, etc. Photos and samples are often sent to 3DT to provide more information about the component.
- Samples are surface treated- Samples are precisely tested and documented with the appropriate surface treatment system utilizing the customer’s process specifications. A detailed lab report and photos are provided by our engineering assistants assuring the customer’s surface treatment needs are met. This step is not always necessary.
- System selection- If 3DT’s experienced sales team determine that a standard system rather than a custom system will provide a solution to the customer, that information is provided and explained in greater detail along with sharing tech data sheets, videos, drawings and/or photos. Please see below where the additional steps to purchasing a custom system are discussed.
- Quotation- Once the customer and 3DT agree upon a practical solution, a detailed quote is provided including a description of the equipment, price, payment terms, and estimated delivery time.
- Customer purchase order – Approval of the final quote is certified with a purchase order.
- Production- Once a purchase order is received, the equipment is put in the production schedule and built in-house in Germantown, Wisconsin by our highly experienced team. Alternatively, many standard systems are kept in stock at 3DT for quick delivery.
- QC Testing- The system is tested by Quality Control to assure that all aspects of the equipment are functioning to our design specifications.
- Ship it- The system is then packed, crated and shipped along with a comprehensive instruction manual.
- After sales- The sale does not end here. 3DT stocks all replacement parts for their systems. Our service team is readily available to assist if needed. Your salesman will be in touch to assure a smooth transition into successful production. Training and installation can also be provided.
Purchasing a Custom System – Custom systems follow the same steps above but incorporate these additional steps.
3. Custom system- Conversations continue with the customer to determine process parameters, production details and more. After further discussion, sample testing, and analysis the team determines a custom system best suits the customer’s need.
4b. Application development- With adhesion results on the customer’s sample proven out, an Application Meeting is held with 3DT’s sales engineer and their mechanical and electrical engineers to develop a concept and surface treatment method. Once the concept is designed on paper a conference call is held with the customer and 3DT’s team to discuss the design. Changes, adjustments and more calls are made until a successful solution is found and the customer is comfortable with the concept.
6b. Approval drawing- A final concept drawing is developed then signed off by the customer before production begins.