Sanitary Process Equipment Buyer’s Guide- What to Consider when Selecting an OEM

Our company, Triplex, is located in Schaumburg, IL. We’re close enough to the future home of the Chicago Bears in Arlington Heights that we’ll probably be able to sell parking on Sunday’s. We’re all big Bears fans at the office- and Packers haters of course- so when word leaked Monday that both General Manager Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy had been fired and the Chairman, George McCaskey (pictured above) held a press conference outlining his future for the Chicago Bears and his search for the next leadership regime, we got to thinking- if we were going to “hire” a Sanitary Process Equipment OEM, what would we look for? What would we suggest our customers look for? Here is what we came up with.

Technical Fit

If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that we’re all about going from “Can Do” to “Can Do Better”. We don’t want to sell you just any pump for your application, we want to sell you the best pump for your application.

This same thought process can be applied to selecting an Equipment OEM. Do they offer a piece of equipment that will probably do the duty? Do they exceed in making square pegs fit in a round hole? Or Is the equipment purpose built for your application?

While a Waukesha Universal 3 Pump may have a slightly higher MSRP than a Universal 2, after considering in the standard stainless steel gear design and modified cover design to eliminate pucking and enhance cleanability, you realize incredible ROI on lost downtime.

Have you considered that while a Universal Twin Screw Pump is quite a bit more expensive than a Universal 1 or a Universal 2, you’ll be able to eliminate an auxiliary CIP pump and get enhanced product integrity?

Both of these questions are really the same- is solution you’re considering technically the best for the application or just what the vendor has to offer? If the answer is “Yes”, you’re off to a great start and you’ll save a huge amount of heart burn down the road. If the answer is “No”, read on.

Track Record

In today’s high purity process equipment market, it seems like every time someone brings something new to the market that gains any traction, every other OEM rushes to bring a similar solution to market. Take Twin Screw Pumps, for example. About 7 or 8 years ago, there were only a handful of Sanitary Twin Screw Products on the market- Bornemann and Axiflow come to mind. Fast forward to 2022 and everyone has a twin screw- Waukesha, Wangen, Ampco, Alfa Laval, and Fristam. The same applies to ECP pumps. In many instances, these “me too” products haven’t been fully flushed out and are under supported by the OEM and Distribution network.

The bottom line is when selecting an OEM, we strongly encourage customers to look past price and choose manufacturers who have long records of building and supporting the pump technology that is the best fit for their application.

Distribution Network & Aftermarket Support

You didn’t think we’d leave out Distributors, did you? The reality is that it is impossible for OEMs to support all of their end users. That would be like Ford or GM trying to sell and service every single car directly to consumers. They just don’t have the horsepower.

Sure, an OEM can come in at the 11th hour on a big project and through you a low number to win the job, but are they going to be around when you need to replace switch packs or change out diaphragms at Christmas? Do they have a field service technician within 500 miles of your facility? Probably not.

This work is left to Distributors like Triplex, who are increasingly offering value added services that minimize your total cost of ownership by supporting products throughout the entire life cycle.

Price & Delivery

Let’s face it, a lot of times, it comes down to price and delivery. And while we intentionally left this last, it should be mentioned. While we never aim to be the lowest cost provider, good distributors and OEMs know that they need to be able to deliver value to their end users. This is done not only through initial purchase price, but also with aftermarket parts prices, loaner programs, and equipment refurbishment.

And when evaluating delivery, let’s not forget about track record. Has the vendor or distributor historically been able to deliver when they say they can deliver? Or is there a consistent stream of excuses and pushbacks? It’s easy to tell a customer what they want to hear. It’s much harder to tell them the truth and then work together to find ways to meet their needs.

To close, if we were to hire a new Equipment OEM, we’d first and foremost look for the manufacturer whose products are the best technical fit for our application. We’d want to understand their track record and know where they have exceled in the past. We’d want to know who we need to reach out to down the line for spare parts and service, and, of course, we’d want a fair price and honest delivery. If you consider those four factors, you’re all but guaranteed to have a positive buying experience and realize on ROI on your project. And as always, if you have any questions about who the best OEM’s are, contact a Triplex Sales Engineer today. And if you need to know who you should hire for your next Head Coach or General Manager, don’t ask George McCaskey.

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