When his firm previously worked with Bridgestone/Firestone, Frank Lauyans, president of Lauyans & Co. in Louisville, Ky., which builds engineered material handling systems, asked the tire company's representative if he always had to buy the lowest-priced equipment. "He told me 'No,' but added that they probably wouldn't ever go 5% over the lowest price," Lauyans reported. "And he added if they ever bought above the lowest price, they'd have to write up a report, which he said they never would have time to do."
Lauyans added that this and other disincentives against buying better-quality/more-costly solutions by purchasers can force builders to initially present equipment to fulfill their specs, but then have to cut out support to meet required costs.
— From "Greater Expectations,"
"Creative people will tend by nature to customize 100% if not coached on the benefits of reusing a percentage of existing designs," said Pat Phillips, engineering manager at Haumiller Engineering, Elgin, Ill., builder of high-speed, automated assembly machines. Sometimes, Phillips added, the customer needs to understand that with some specification concessions, complexity can be reduced and costs lowered. "A simple design change can transform a project from one that's mostly from scratch to one in which many concepts from previous projects are reused. Careful collaboration between the customer and our team will help reveal these opportunities."
— From "Stick to the Playbook,"
This article is part of June 2012's cover story "We Celebrate 15 Years."