How to Compare Purchase Proposals for CNC Cutting Machines

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Use this blog and our proposals comparison chart below as a guide to thoroughly vet each machine proposal you receive.

You’ve done your research, narrowed down your machine “wish list”, and now it’s time to connect with salespeople and request machine purchase proposals. Whether this is your first CNC machine or you’re upgrading your lineup, carefully reviewing each proposal you receive will help ensure a successful partnership with the providing manufacturer.

While it is tempting to simply purchase the machine with the lowest price tag, your best ROI can be indicated by a high-quality proposal. The interactions you have while requesting proposals from each company, combined with the quality of the proposal itself, can give you a solid understanding of what your future after this purchase will look like. Keep in mind that you’re investing in more than just the machine.

A high-quality proposal will provide details in the following areas:

  1. Integrity of the machine after it’s built
  2. Support the company will provide before, during, and after installation
  3. The services and products you actually receive once a contract is signed

The Initial Connection

As you’ll be working with the manufacturer closely for some time to complete your order, be sure the working relationship meets your needs and expectations.

Ask yourself:

  • Does the manufacture contact you to discuss your cutting requirements prior to sending a proposal?
  • How long does it take for the manufacturer to send a proposal?
  • Does the manufacturer offer to review the proposal with you?
  • Does the manufacturer offer references?

Once you’ve received the proposal be sure to read every word. Proposals include many technical specifications. Slight differences can significantly impact machine performance.  Make sure you understand what is written. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

Do not assume things will be included. If an item is not listed, most likely it will not be included (i.e. cylinder gas regulators, hoses from regulators to the plasma system, consumable parts kits for the plasma system, input cable for the plasma system, etc.)

CNC cutting machine proposal comparison chart

Pictured: Park Industries® sample comparison guide for reviewing CNC cutting machine proposals.

Continued Support

Working with a manufacturer that can support your needs after installation, as well as before and during, can be crucial to a successful investment. Not only do you want a machine that runs well, but you also want a provider that will help keep it running and ensure minimal downtime.

Look for the following details in your proposal:

  • Will the manufacturer:
    1. Conduct an onsite survey prior to building your machine?
    2. Help you prepare a shop layout of the machine?
    3. Conduct a follow up visit after the installation of the machine?
  • How does the manufacturer handle their technical support?
    1. During what hours is support available? 24/7?
    2. Does the manufacturer provide remote diagnostics via the internet?
    3. Does the manufacture charge for remote support?
    4. Are repair parts readily available?
Kano HD 510™ plasma cutting table in action

Pictured: Park Industries® Kano HD 510 plasma cutting table in action

Understanding Your Proposal

Let’s get into the “fine print” and the nitty gritty details. Review each section to ensure you are aware of all services being provided, all expenses associated with the final purchase, and how you’ll know the end product installed in your shop is high quality, calibrated, and ready to rock.

Machine Integrity

  • How does the manufacturer validate the motion accuracy of the machine before shipment? Do they use a laser interferometer or other devices to measure and record machine accuracy?
  • Does the manufacturer make samples cuts with machines before shipment? Are the samples sent with the machine?
  • Can the customer visit the manufacturer facility to conduct a “run-off” of the machine prior to shipment?

Does the proposal include:

  • Freight?
    1. If the proposal includes freight, will the manufacturer coordinate with the shipper to ensure the machine arrives at the needed place and time? 
    2. Does the freight quote include all permits and expenses? Is it door-to-door?
  • Does the proposal list items in the options for consideration? (i.e. cylinder regulators, compressed air drier, compressed air booster, power supply stands, etc.)

Warranty

  • What is the warranty period for the cutting machine? For the plasma system?
    1. What does warranty include? i.e., Drive electronics, CNC controller and mechanical devices?
    2. Is the warranty period different between certain categories of components?
  • Does the warranty include travel expenses if a factory technician or engineer is required onsite during the warranty period?
  • Does the manufacturer offer scheduled “after the warranty” service plans?

Installation & Operator Training

  • Does the manufacturer assign an installation coordinator to your project to help you prepare for the arrival of your machine?
  • Does the proposal include installation and operator training?
    1. Does it include expenses for the installing technician? Or will you receive a bill later?
  • What exactly does the installing technician do when onsite?
    1. Does the installer perform the installation?
    2. Does the installer only supervise the installation performed by the customer?
  • What criteria is used to determine when the installation is complete and you are properly trained?
  • What will the manufacturer do if the installation takes longer than expected and cannot be completed in the time planned? What happens if the time available for training is less than needed?
    1. If the delay is caused by the customer?
    2. If the delay is caused by the manufacturer?
Kano HD Series tested at Park Industries before shipping out

Pictured: Kano™ HD Series being tested at Park Industries® before shipping to its new home.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a new CNC cutting machine for your shop is a bigger investment than the dollar amount. It can completely alter your production rate, workflow, and service ability. To gain the full benefits of adding a CNC cutting machine to your lineup, it’s critical to recognize that success equates to machine uptime, and ultimately which manufacturer will be by your side down the road to keep you running.

And that’s the Park promise.

Each machine sold is backed by our full effort to also provide you Performance. Precision. Peace of Mind®. We are there every step of the journey as your business changes – now, and ten years down the road. Your success is our success, and we are proud to offer 24/7 support, online technical assistance, and next-day parts to ensure minimal downtime.

When you’re ready to make the switch to a CNC cutting machine, our team is ready to walk you through the process.