Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seeking support

When discussing the design of any new vision system with systems integrators, I'm always intrigued to discover what specific hardware and software they chose to implement their systems.

More often than not, the two key reasons any product is chosen, of course, is based on its technical merits and its price. But there is always a third, and perhaps more important reason, that systems integrators opt for the products that they do. And that's the support that they receive from the distributor, or reseller, that sells them the product.

As one might expect, the distributor or reseller that fully comprehends, and can explain both the advantages -- and the disadvantages -- of his products, is more likely to win an order than one that is simply shipping products without much of an idea of how they work or how to integrate them into a system.

But these days, there is more to winning a sale than that. The distributor or reseller that also has some understanding of how his products will fit into the bigger scheme of things has an even greater advantage over those that simply have a basic knowledge of one or two product lines. Indeed, it is this more holistic approach that will almost guarantee that a product is specified into a new machine.

In one recent conversation I had with a systems integrator, he stated quite clearly that his choice of camera, system software and lighting products had been heavily influenced by the reseller that he discussed his machine vision needs with.

That reseller was obviously not only knowledgeable about many aspects of image processing, but was also wily enough to be able to leverage the expertise he passed along to the systems integrator into quite a lucrative sale.

In these strained economic times, however, many companies are reducing the number of experienced folks that they have on board in favor of younger, less well-paid individuals. Naturally enough, however, these folks haven't had enough years in the industry to be au fait with anything other than a basic understanding of their own company's product lines.

Fortunately for the systems integrator that I spoke to, he had been fortunate enough to find and work with a reseller that clearly understood the merits of hiring and keeping experienced multifaceted individuals who could assist him with the task of developing his vision system.

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