It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to choosing the best-fit cutting system for your organization. Too often, companies invest in what they believe to be a “safe” choice — when in reality there might be a better solution available, regardless of an IBM caliber label, which could better match their operational needs and benefit their business’ performance.
Even if a business does their homework on the type/manufacturing of a proposed system, it’s important to acknowledge the range of available cutting platforms in today’s market setting. With the emergence of new competition, offering innovative technology, tooling, and software, businesses should evaluate all potential solutions to find the one that best fits their individual needs.
Ultimately, performing a thorough demo, personalized to align with company expectations, materials, and applications, is essential to maximizing your ROI, business performance, and customer satisfaction. In this two-part article, we will explain what prospective investors must do, and need to avoid, to ultimately have the most successful demo experience when selecting a cutting table for their organization.
Plan Materials and Files You Want to Run
Planning is everything when setting up a correct demo. As demos are innately time-consuming, investors in technology must outline what materials and files they expect to run beforehand. By selecting and printing on materials, organizing files, and anticipating shipping time frames and operational setup in advance, you can best prepare your demonstration site for streamlined efficiency upon your arrival.
Further, by performing a demo at the manufacturer’s or their distributor’s facilities, as opposed to a customer site, you can mitigate the risk of interruption, and leverage the thoroughness and prioritization necessary to complete a full demo. As a secondary benefit, by performing a demo at the manufacturer’s or distributor’s facility, one can also receive a clear vision of the latest model or system configurations, and gain a more realistic perspective of the system in action. But be careful, as many materials and designs can be demonstrated in a manner that you will not be able to achieve on your own. To seemingly surpass the efficiency of competitors, for example, a demonstrator might plan and show a demonstration faster than a customer could actually achieve – so looking at the results for your own jobs can be really critical to your success.
Send Files Ahead of Time
Because every cutting table offers unique software and workflows, it’s essential to send your demos files ahead of time. Before wasting print on an expensive sheet of material, ensure the file is correctly set up. If you just arrive at a demo with your printed materials, you not only increase the risk finding a problem with the file but might also face the “can’t-cut” potential, forcing you to return home without even watching the demo that you had wanted. Combat this problem and save time by sending your files early, even before printing so they can be reviewed, so even if there is a problem, the demonstrator can review, revise, and notify you before you arrive at the site with print that doesn’t work well for the cutting demo.
Spend the Majority of the Demo Time Running Your Materials
Want to get a real picture of what the machine can do? Consider bringing more pre-reviewed prints and files for various materials to the demo. This allows customers to better uderstand how the operator sets up the process for different materials. Testing various set-up parameters for such diverse materials can help customers better understand a machine’s capabilities, rather than basing knowledge on a shorter, material-restrictive demonstration. The caveat is to make sure the materials you present are important to your business, and not an unnecessary distraction from your needs. While it’s important to show the versatility of the cutting table, you also don’t want to waste precious demo time on products that you’ll not be expecting to print in a real-life scenario.
Have a Thorough Software and Interface Portion of the Demo
You want to show that the machine can be run to its full potential. With that in mind, you have to show that the software and interface can play nicely with your current workflow, is easy to use, and doesn’t lack important features that are important to your organization. Demonstrating the software and interface capabilities, not just the cutting functions, therefore, becomes important to understanding how the cutter will ultimately benefit the business.
During a demo, if the software or interface don’t align with your current or proposed workflow, are difficult to use, or lack essential features, it may be immensely challenging to your team to run the machine to its full potential. Consider this example; you have a high horsepower car, one of the fastest in the world, but instead of feeding it the racing fuel it needs, you use e-25 fuel and therefore prevent it from gearing up to its potential speed. The same applies to your cutting systems “engine” (it’s system and interface) and ultimately your demo performance. Understanding exactly how this cutter will interface to your current workflow and to your job processing is a critical issue to understand and plan for.
To avoid a lacking demo performance, it might be beneficial to perform a separate demo/sit down on the software. Also, because demos are typically noisy and distracting, pay close attention to the person running the demo and setting up your files. By previewing the big screen, and carefully examining to the software and its features, you can broaden your understanding of the systems and operations.
Don’t Let the Demonstrator Dictate
You’re there to make an informed decision. As such, demonstrators are good at displaying the strengths of their specific cutting tables, but you need and want to know more than that. When considering a variety of manufacturers to demo cutting tables, make sure to keep some of the demo materials across each of the manufacturers the same from demo to demo. Using the materials as a type of experimental control will help you to make direct comparisons in how the machines perform and how usable they truly are.
Don’t Assume a System Can Cut Any Material or Job Without Testing
The truth is this: Every cutting table is different, even when their specs appear virtually the same or at least similar. To make sure the system you choose can deliver the quality and productivity that you expect with your cutting projects, you must test any material or job that you expect to run. Don’t purchase a system on blind faith—test for a variety of scenarios before making a final decision.
When choosing the right cutter for your needs, consider these do’s and don’ts for your next demo. There are even more important factors to consider when purchasing a laser cutter, and we explore them in part two of this article. Stay tuned for more helpful insights.