Outsourcing can be a very sensitive topic for many organizations. Getting burned once can leave a lasting impression, but getting it right can lead to that smooth-sailing feeling you get when your control panel partner steps up to ensure a project's success.
When evaluating a panel building partner, keeping these 4 C’s in mind and how your potential suitor stacks up can really make a world of difference in the end result.
We hear it all the time, “my last panel builder just wanted me to send them drawings and a box of parts, nothing more." That makes us cringe!
Having a solid electrical understanding when performing panel assembly can quite literally save a life if the design is wrong. Many people can be trained to read drawings and build according to the drawings, but it takes a more competent eye to identify potential inaccuracies in design and know when something may present a dangerous situation.
It makes a profound difference to have an engaging conversation with a panel builder to help them understand the application of your panel, as well as confirm familiarity with the components. With a clear understanding of panel function at the start, you can feel confident in the completed panel being correct.
You may even end up getting truly lucky and get a design suggestion that could make your custom control panel more efficient or cost effective!
How many control panels do you go through in a given year? 10? 100? 1000?
Knowing the capacity of a potential panel building partner can directly influence how much or how little you can rely on them for your particular needs. Be sure to consider not only your current panel needs, but what your future needs may be when it comes to capacity. There are thousands of panel builders in the U.S. alone, but can the one you have your eye on handle an influx of work? Will they return your call if you only need a one-off produced? Maybe they have no problem cranking out 300 panels in a short period of time, but are they also able to store them and ship them to you as-needed? These are all important questions to keep in mind.
Certifications = credibility. It is truly that simple.
Whether talking about a college degree, an organic label on a wheel of cheese, or a UL508A file number, certifications mean something when being evaluated.
Those certifications translate into peace of mind when it comes to aptitude, quality, and overall reliability. A panel builder without any certifications certainly can still build a quality product, but faces a greater challenge in proving it to a potential customer.
Is your current panel builder just interested in getting your purchase order? Are they more of the mindset that you need them and they don’t need you? Commitment in a panel building partner should be a two-way street. An ideal partner will emotionally invest in your business and want to contribute to helping your business grow.
This can be evident in a number of ways.
Financially, offering a customer favorable terms with a line of credit may be a sign of commitment. Operationally, a strong panel building partner may dedicate a specific production area or personnel to handle your business.
There are even levels of risk a strong panel building partner will take if their commitment is strong enough to a specific customer. Stocking customer-specific components for future panel production is one way risk can be taken in the name of commitment to a customer.
This goes above and beyond a relationship of just accepting a PO and delivering a product. There is a real investment made for the sake of the partnership. Single source solution providers are often the best positioned to leverage the strong buying power needed to take this risk successfully.
Choosing Your Custom Panel Building Partner
These 4 C’s are not bulletproof evidence of who your panel building partner should be, but evaluating these key considerations can save you a whole lot of time and money down the road. Do your research upfront and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions!
We even have a Custom Control Panel Checklist of questions to help you get started.
PanelShop.com takes pride in delivering custom control panels with concept-to-completion engineering support. Whether you know exactly what you need or you're seeking a partner to help develop and accelerate your project, PanelShop.com can help. Call us today or submit a quote and our knowledgable support staff will be happy to help you in any way we can.
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