Ahead of the current™
Equipment Sourcing
Posted on: February 1st, 2010 by Bill

I can hear it now. I got equipment from People’s Republic of East Bejesus and I’m worried it will fail!

Well, most of what we buy is industrial-grade equipment that bears a lot of 3rd party scrutiny, such as UL or independent lab, not to mention the commissioning we do to systems before we turn a job over to our client.

In the past three years, there’s been some real failures in OEM quality control or in assembly control that we’ve seen result in catastrophic equipment failures. In this day and age when everyone feels we’re circling the drain in Dante’s Inferno (much better in the original language, by the way), we tend to overreact.

What we forget is that, while repugnant and you hope it’s not on your job, there’s no such thing as a perfect manufacturing or OEM sourcing operation. So what are we going to do without tossing nuclear-level testing into the mix.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Check your “Buy American” clauses for OEM parts allowances.
  2. If you want something tested in the factory before the system assembly, simply specify the part and testing method before it goes in. Right now, we’re really watching circuit breakers (as they are coming for a host of sources as opposed to one factory for a given system, like a paralleling gear or a UPS power module, as well as wiring harnesses.
  3. Ask for the source quality program for the OEM supplier of interest during the purchasing process.
  4. Financially handicap poor or good performers to level your bid field.

And finally, expect things to fail. Keep enough time in the factory and field testing to allow for rework time.

And remember, there’s no better time than uptime.

Next blog – Where’s there’s smoke, there’s EPO.

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