Knowing Where to Buy

Smart purchasing decisions begin with thorough research. Not only knowing what equipment is best suited for your application, but knowing where to shop for that equipment can make the difference between a pleasurable buying experience and a disaster.

I’m interested in buying a new drill. I’m talking about an electric hand drill for jobs around the house. I have a drill, and it’s done a good job for quite a long time. In fact, I’ll likely keep it as a backup. But I’m quite sure newer technology will help to make me far more efficient in my home improvement projects, whether it’s through more power, easier handling, or simpler operation.

Now, I know the basics of a drill, and I’m familiar with many of the suppliers in the market. But because it’s been a while since I’ve shopped for a drill, it sure would be nice to have a single resource that would break down a full list of drill suppliers, along with listings of specific equipment types and related attachments and accessories, all right at my fingertips for easy identification. While I’m doing my research, or perhaps during the course of the coming year, I may be reminded of other equipment that I could use for better productivity. What if I could keep going back to that same resource to quickly narrow my search, regardless of what piece of equipment I need?

Maybe someone else is in the market for a CNC Swiss machine for his or her job shop. And when the machine is eventually ordered, maybe it will also require a bar feeder, tooling, workholding equipment and perhaps some new CAD/CAM software. Where could a shop owner possibly go to quickly find suppliers of such an assorted list of production machining equipment and accessories? Well, Production Machining’s 2015 Buyer’s Guide, of course.

The magazine you hold in your hands is designed to be a resource to last throughout the year, allowing readers to quickly access supplier contact information for whatever equipment they may need for their shops. While this issue is not compiled to help consumers like me in their search for power tools, it is intended to include the right mix of suppliers to meet most of the needs of the precision machine shop.

I’ve been involved in the production of many buyer’s guides through the years. While a project such as this takes a lot of planning and can even be a bit frustrating at times, I still enjoy it for a number of reasons. First, the production of this issue takes me out of my established routine. The cycle of a monthly magazine can get to be pretty predictable after a while. In very simple terms, I search for story leads, I interview, I write, I proofread. Then the process starts over again. When one of our monthly issues takes a completely different form (such as the Buyer’s Guide), it creates just enough turmoil to rejuvenate my inner drive (and perhaps even make me appreciate the normal routine a bit more). I have a feeling that shop owners and those responsible for equipment purchasing decisions might feel similarly about the capital equipment buying process. After all, the majority of their efforts are geared toward making money, not spending it.

I also enjoy the process of putting this issue together because it forces me to reacquaint myself, to some extent, with the suppliers in the production machining realm. After the suppliers are identified and surveyed for their input regarding the appropriate categories for their listings, we editors are responsible for a great deal of proofreading to ensure these listings are clear and accurate. So part of my job is to read every company name that falls under each category that we include in the Guide. It’s sort of like walking the aisles of PMTS and stopping at every booth and asking them to name every single product they market to our industry. While time consuming, the process goes a long way in helping to familiarize myself with these companies and their products.

Smart purchasing decisions begin with thorough research. Not only knowing what equipment is best suited for your application, but knowing where to shop for that equipment can make the difference between a pleasurable buying experience and a disaster. This Buyer’s Guide is a good starting point for that research. Keep it handy. When you’re ready to begin the buying process, find the product category you need, determine which companies can provide that equipment, and initiate the contact.