How do I buy an operator console that meets my needs? What is the best control room furniture on the market? How do I choose a control room console manufacturer that will do the job without taking advantage of me? How much should I spend on a control room console?
These are all valid questions. I know from experience that my customers understandably need a lot of help to make the right decisions. I provide the answers that move my customers from their vision to a final product that they can be proud of and confident that their money is well spent.
Let’s start with the concept of operations and requirements for your control room. Be ready to discuss your control room’s day-to-day operations and your goals for improvement. Unless you are only looking for a single console and you already know how much space you have for the console, it’s best to send me a dimensioned floor plan to ensure that the product will fit the allotted space. It doesn’t have to be an AutoCAD product; it can be Visio or even a hand-drawn version that is adequate to provide recommendations.
Outfitting a control room comes down to understanding space, functions, equipment and ergonomic requirements. After an introductory conversation, I can send product information, and then with your feedback, send drawings from previous projects of similar size and scope as ideas. Then we discuss budget. This is important because it serves little purpose to go down a road that in the end is unaffordable. This means wasted time and resources for both sides and potentially starting the process all over. I don’t have to have an exact dollar amount, but a price range would be helpful especially when designing a video wall where expensive planning and electronics are involved. With the budget question out of the way, we then agree on the way forward. I provide a plan drawing to show you how our proposed design will fit the space. Then I send you either a quote or budget estimate, depending on your need, and a 3-D model in most cases to demonstrate what the product will look like in final form.
At this point in the process, it’s important that we have a candid conversation. In a competitive situation, I know how much price flexibility I have to win your business and hope that this can be discussed in an open manner. Is the price acceptable and if not where do adjustments need to be made? I will ask if your comparison of our proposal is “apples to apples” to our competitors thus making lowest price the deciding factor. This approach does make sense on the surface; however it’s difficult for someone who is not in my business to know if they are buying value when the best product isn’t necessarily the lowest price. That’s where I come in; tell me what the others are saying about their products as well as ours. I will give you my honest assessment and you can ask the others for the same thing. The last thing you need is a product that looks pretty, but falls apart in two years. It may have cost less, but you might end up with up-charges after issuance of the contract that slows the process and adds to cost. When you and I establish a relationship, I hope that you will take advantage of my many years’ experience. Certainly, I’m not naïve. Although I know our product is the best investment, you may not have the money to buy even if you wanted to. At that point, we go our separate ways and I hope to be of service in the future. This is how I do business. I hope what I’ve said has proved informative and that you come away with hints that will help you with outfitting your control room regardless of who you choose to do the work.
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