If you’re using Swagelok products and thinking about switching to a different manufacturer, then you’re in the right place. Here are 5 things to consider before you switch to another manufacturer.
1. Interchangeability & Quality
Most manufacturers understand by now that in order to be successful, they have to play nice with Swagelok. You should be looking for a manufacturer that can support their claim of interchangeability with Swagelok – preferably with a 3rd party certification. Ask them how & if they support an actual claim, should you encounter any leaks or performance issues with “mixed” fittings.
Naturally, no switch should ever be made without a full understanding of their manufacturing processes and quality system. First and foremost is the quality discussion.
2. Certified Material Test Reports
CMTRs can be a tremendous cost to a project when it involves multiple tube fittings and valves. CMTRs to EN10204 can cost up to $45 per line item but some manufacturers are now offering a crisp, concise 3.1 at no additional charge.
That’s quite a lot of savings that can really add up over time. So make sure you ask if they charge for the report or offer it for free and take advantage of that incredible savings.
3. Average Lead time
Longer lead times can lead to late projects, so make sure you ask what their average lead time is and where they are located so you have an idea of how long it will take them to send you parts and how it compares to Swagelok’s average lead times.
You should be looking for a manufacturer that can say their average lead time is 1-3 days.
Some manufacturers advertise they are 20-30% less expensive than Swagelok. If you’re thinking about switching based on price, make sure your quote includes the correct size, length, temperature, application, media, ends and/or delivery, etc. because any of these variables can lead to a difference in price. You want to make sure you’re getting all the correct information up front so you’re not wasting your time.
5. Emotional Connection
In all likelihood, you are working with folks that have been bending tube and installing Swagelok fittings for many years and consider themselves true American Craftsmen – artists if you will – and for good reason.
Many of them grew up with the brand so a switch may come hard to them. Make sure you talk with your installers and that they’re all on board with changing before you pull any triggers.
In fact, ask for free samples so your team can see how they look, feel, and fit with other parts. Their buy-in is essential!
I know it’s not an easy decision to make but in this era of shrinking margins, maybe this will help you find an edge and win more projects or be more profitable. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.