A recent article in Packaging Digest, titled “Integrators Do you know what your clients want?” struck home for us and we’re sure for many of our customers as well. The gist of the article (you can read it here) is that companies doubt that integrators and solution providers really understand their needs. The entire concept is interesting to us because we spend so much time up-front really trying to understand a customer’s needs. How else can we even think about coming up with a solution that works. That’s one of the reasons we often build entire mock-ups of a product line, BEFORE we even start designing a solution.
This approach lets us get a real, hands-on feel for the challenges, and ultimately makes for a better designed solution that will actually work in the field. The process ensures we actively listen to our customers and understand every subtle nuance that simply cannot come out through question and answer sessions and scoping documents. We know from experience that it takes a hands-on approach and ongoing two-way communication to really dissect the issue and design and integrate a solution.
As the article indicates, customers want reliability, quality, a fair price and ease of use in their integration solutions. Successful integrators include these metrics and others in their overall approach, and address the topics very early in the relationship to ensure they are included in the end solution.
If you’re shopping for an integrator and you’re not sure how to select the right vendor, here are a few tips:
Look for a vendor that has a proven track record with leading systems. Such vendors are authorized integrators and distributors.
Ask the vendor if they also design their own solutions — integrators who do more than install off-the-shelf solutions are more likely to perform the detailed research required for a successful integration.
Ask for examples that are outside your field and industry — experience across industries brings a deeper background of expertise and knowledge and can often lead to out-of-the-box solutions that lead to significant ROI.
Finally, talk with the project team yourself — don’t rely on email and web sites; you’ll never hear the passion in someone’s voice or whether they get excited about finding and implementing solutions.
Of course we invite you to contact IAS Corp if you need assistance with an integration project and want a proven team on your side that will listen and understand the challenges, before proposing a solution.