To Repair or Not to Repair: So Many Options, Which is the Right One?

Choosing the Right Vendor for Your Repair

One attribute of today’s connected world is that there are now seemingly endless options for where and how we purchase our goods and services. 

This is true in both our personal lives and business. We research online offerings and compare key factors to purchase what appears to be the same goods or services, while expecting the same level of customer experience.

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But what might initially seem like the most convenient or cost-effective option is not always the case in the long run.

As with most services, there are many options available when your automation equipment has a failure. It is important to look at all aspects of the repair, from the product, to your repair provider, to how you need that piece of equipment to perform.

Local repair houses tend to focus on specific technologies, while regional or national vendors generally serve a wider breadth. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) often provide repair or remanufacturing services as well. 

And of course, there is always the question of whether to repair or buy new.  Choosing the right service can mean the difference between additional benefits and unintended consequences.

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When deciding to repair your industrial automation equipment, there are key things to consider, and it starts with being clear about your priorities.

What is the original purchase price of the equipment? If the cost of repair is equivalent to or higher than replacing with new equipment, the choice is simple.

If you have a high value asset and the cost of repair is less expensive than a replacement, you will most likely choose a repair.

But be careful not to focus exclusively on price – the old adage “you get what you pay for” can be especially true when dealing with non-OEM or salvage components that may get the product running again, but can lead to serious issues with safety, reliability, and performance. 

When you choose a repair vendor, make sure you understand the process they use and their commitment to returning your product to the original manufacturer’s specifications. Vendors that use certified parts, follow correct repair procedures and provide a warranty will garner the best results.

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Credibility is also key when selecting a repair vendor.  Many online repair vendors have sprung up following the boom in surplus inventory and the ease of access to it with the Internet.  As you choose your vendor, understand how long they have been in business, what products they are authorized to service, what the repair procedure is and where they are located.

There can be some very serious unintended consequences from choosing the incorrect vendor. With equipment that stores production information and runs your critical assets, there is the risk of virus infection and potential copyright infringement. And as applications and factories become more connected, a single access point can lead to widespread problems. Information security must be a factor in choosing a vendor.

Finally, consider the vendor’s responsibility to the environment and sustainability. As more countries enact regulations around hazardous substances, your repair vendor should have processes in place to dispose of these substances correctly. Make sure your vendor facility has ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications.

When choosing a repair vendor, remember that while price is important, it’s the full value of the repair you receive that counts.

Wayne Kraszewski
Posted 21 March 2018 By Wayne Kraszewski, Project Manager, Lifecycle Extension & Migration Services, Rockwell Automation
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