#RelationshipGoals in the Material Handling Industry

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Time Invested Should ≠ A Complete Waste of Your Time (~4 min. read)

Time is important, and your time is valuable to you and me, so I’ll try and be quick, while advising it’ll only take 4 minutes to read this blog article. After reading, you should be able to determine your type of systems integrator more efficiently, and have smoother starts to your projects, large or small (3 min. 44 secs. now)

Goals for selecting a systems integrator

Did you skip to the bold or bulleted points before coming back to this line? If so, I’m not offended… I do the same if I ever go back to read the article at all. It should be no surprise that today’s world is click (and scroll) happy. We need what we want when we need it, which is usually yesterday. We live in a world that allows you to do everything with a smart-phone or a dumb computer, and has apps for your watch, which is now yesterday’s news.

The consumer drives industry pace, and we, you reading and us behind the screen, are all consumers to some respect. So, as a consumer, how do we get what we want when we need it and optimize our wasted time? The answer is pretty simple, but does require an additional investment of your time.

Any consumer relationship is a relationship first

If you’re lucky (and some, not so) you remember what relationships are like… get your feet wet, go in up to your knees, dump your whole body in… then you see the high-tide come in and remember you can’t swim! Jokes aside, there’s an understanding that any relationship takes some warming up to, and the material handling industry (MHI) is no different.

1. Who you should go with depends on who you are…

  • We all have a “type” when it comes to dating, and again, the MHI is no different. The first step in finding your “who,” is figuring out what you have to offer. Determine which of these you fit for your project at-hand (names are for differentiation only and not industry terms):
    • “The Knower” – I know my project and have the following:
      • Product info; product type(s), dimensions, and specifications
      • Project layout; drawings, conceptual layout
      • Budget; or an approximate
      • Deadline; or an approximate
    • “The Aspirer” – I don’t have all of the above, but aspire to shortly
    • “The Hands-off” – I don’t have all of the above, but would like someone else to acquire the information
  • The types of integration partners who can assist also depend on your needs, which can generally be broken down to the following:
    • How big the project is to you
    • How quickly you need the job performed
    • How much money you’re okay with spending, and
    • If you are okay with repurposed material and/or repurposed labor; i.e. an engineer turning a wrench costs more than a mechanic to do the same

2. Secondly, who you should go with should depend on where you are…

  • If you’ve established a trusted relationship with a long-distance partner that’s great! However, paying for round-trip tickets and trying to figure out who’s going where for the holidays will stress any pair.
    • Your MHI partner’s location for the project at-hand may or may not be as crucial as where your goods come from (i.e. equipment and services)
    • Your MHI partner’s location is crucial if you require high-frequency attention and do not have access to conferencing platforms (i.e. GoToMeeting)

3. Who you should go with sometimes depends on where you are going…

  • If the relationship is long-term, you should include your MHI partner in your long-term goals (given the goals are not proprietary).
    • Communication is key and helps everyone in the relationship stay on the same page by providing the maximum resources with ample time
    • “The devil is in the details,” or in this case its predecessor, “God is in the details” – The greater the detail, the better the results with smaller room for error and a focus on future growth

When selecting a material handling integrator, remember to consider who you are, where you are, and where you are going. Ultimately, like most relationships, the quality you end up with is determined by which one of the following 3 you’re willing to sacrifice: good, fast, or cheap.

Good Fast Cheap Triangle

Picture credit: Jeannel King, jeannelking.com

Irving is a Field Application Engineer with Bastian Solutions. Originally hailing from New York City, he’s made his way across the country, now working for Bastian Solutions out of the California office. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University with a focus in System Design and Engineering Management. Since joining the Bastian Solutions LA team in 2013, Irving has had the privilege of managing accounts and growing business relationships over the west coast and the southern parts of the United States. He enjoys challenging his fast-paced NY state of mind and pushing the limits on his servant’s heart through ongoing personal and business relationships in and out of the material handling industry.

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