Buying AC and DC Drives – 8 Questions to Ask a Distributor
If you need to buy AC and DC drives for industrial or other motor control needs, here are eight questions you should ask when searching for a distributor.
1. Do you keep motor control products in stock?
Some distributors may keep multiple AC and DC drives in stock at all times while others might order from the manufacturer as they go. If in a hurry and can't find the motor drive you need in stock, some manufacturers will drop ship for the distributor, meaning they will ship it directly to the end user or customer. The process can affect turnaround time so be sure and ask how long it will take if the motor drive is not currently in stock when you need it.
2. How do you bill customers?
Most distributors offer multiple options for billing, and even more so with online billing. Payment options may include e-mail invoicing, third party billing, merchant accounts for direct credit card processing through the distributor, traditional postal billing (by the month or quarter), and time tracking (based on ongoing projects). Make sure there's an option that best suits your budget and payment schedule.
3. What is your return policy?
Although most manufacturers of AC and DC drives boast high quality engineering with a factory warranty, be sure to get a copy of the distributor's return policy in writing before ordering. Note if the product can be returned to the distributor or if it must be returned directly to the manufacturer. Check to see if there's a restocking fee for a product that you simply can't use in your application for some reason (even if the motor drive is in perfect condition). Will you have to pay for shipping on certain types of returns?
4. Do you provide one-on-one phone or e-mail assistance during all purchases?
Providing excellent customer service should be the top priority of every distributor of motor control products. But unfortunately, it's not a priority for every company. Ask how customer service is handled during purchases and if/when you need assistance. Can you chat by e-mail or through instant messaging? Can you call and get a sales or support rep within a reasonable amount of time?
5. Can the manufacturer be contacted directly for assistance?
Some distributors offer assistance through the manufacturer if you need help with installation or troubleshooting. Installing AC and DC drives for older motors may require special attention to ensure that everything's working smoothly. The engineers of the product may be available to assist by phone or in person in some cases.
6. Can your ac and dc drives be ordered online?
Ordering online will save time if you can find a reputable distributor. Some companies offer a shopping experience similar to that found on typical retail sites, with shopping cart options for AC and DC drives and accessories. This makes ordering a piece of cake when you need a motor control product quickly!
7. What is your shipping policy?
Ask about shipping fees and delivery times before ordering. Keep in mind that shipping costs are determined by distance and weight, so they can be fairly costly with heavier motor control drives and products. So make sure the product will be cost efficient AFTER calculating the shipping costs.
8. Do you accept international orders for ac and dc drives?
If you need to order internationally, ask the distributor about how their international orders work and what to expect in terms of shipping and billing. International orders are sometimes handled differently from domestic purchases, so get all the information you can before moving forward.
Whether your company is located in the U.S., Europe, India, Africa, Canada or anywhere around the globe, you should consider the quality (not only pricing) of the products you're considering. AC and DC drives should be built to certain standards to prevent damage to other equipment while helping you maintain the level of productivity you need. So a lower price on motor control drives can sometimes mean lower quality…be observant and read online descriptions, brochures, etc. carefully.
Use these eight questions as a guide when trying to find a distributor for AC and DC drives. You can't be too careful when making such an important purchase for your company.