When it comes to evaluating finishes and vendors of industrial coatings, it’s not necessarily what you ask. It’s how you ask it. Most purchasers, finishing managers and others whose daily lives on the job can be affected—negatively or positively—by the coating they are using are concerned with how well a product is going to perform, how much it’s going to cost and the quality of the vendor’s service.
When you are evaluating a new coating or vendor, consider how you get to the bottom of these basic questions and whether you are asking the right question to get the most useful information.
What is being asked: “What is the best product out there?” aka “What do you sell the most of?”
What should be asked: “What would you recommend I use for my application?”
Why: There are so many variables to take into account when considering a coating. Look for a partner that will take the time to understand your business, application, environment, process and—most important—expectations of the coating. From cost, to environmental and health concerns, to overall look, what you want or need your coating to be may be different from others. Find a coatings partner that is able to offer several potential solutions to meet these needs, and ultimately improve your product and your bottom line.
What is being asked: “How much does it cost per gallon?”
What should be asked: “What is the applied cost of the coating?”
Why: Not all coatings are created equal. The volume solids (or guts) of the coating can dramatically impact the amount needed to do the job. A coating with a high volume solid percentage can help lower material costs and in many cases the cost of labor due to reduced number of coats needed. A cheap coating with low volume solids can be a waste of time and money, and lead to a lower-quality finish.
What is being asked: “Where are you located?”
What should be asked: “What service can I expect in the event I have a question or issue?”
Why: Do you really care where the vendor is if they can get you what you need when you need it? When it comes to technical support, knowing the who, the what and the when are much more important than the where. Look for a trusted coatings partner that is able to provide both onsite support and full laboratory support capabilities when issues arise that may impact your productivity in a timely manner.
Are you asking the best questions to get the information needed to make smart decisions? If you aren’t, start today.