User satisfaction with machine tools in the USA had not been formally researched prior to this study. Users have been forced to rely on word-of-mouth to get a recommendation. Manufacturers have been kept equally in the dark about the acceptance of their products relative to other choices in the market.
An in-depth survey was mailed and 333 users of machining centers responded. The major areas covered by the in-depth survey include:
- Rating of 99 machining center vendors as to overall product quality.
- Rating of 99 machining center vendors as to overall service to the customer.
- Rating of 33 vendor and product characteristics as to their importance to the user.
- Ratings of vendors who performed the best and worst for each of the 33 characteristics.
- User preferences as to the control architecture used.
- Preferences for features on machining centers.
- What future needs does the user see in machining centers?
- What impact will the Internet have in certain machining center related areas?
- With what sales channels does the user prefer to deal ?
- What job function is most influential in selecting the machining center vendor?
- What are the numbers and ages of the companys machining centers?
The 33 vendor and product characteristics mentioned above include performance, price, reliability, aesthetics, ease-of-operation, ease-of-maintaining, CNC capabilities, cutting accuracy, thermal stability, SFP, cycle time, diagnostics, training, installation, documentation, warranty, factory service/support, local service/support, lead time, availability of replacement parts, price of those parts, etc.
Of the respondents, 63.1% have vertical machining centers in their facility and 42.4% have horizontal. The top 5 industries that best describe their activities are: Job Shop (28.5%), Machinery Builder (20.9%), Fabricated Metals (22.6%), Automotive (18.0%), and Plastics & Rubber (14.0). Manufacturing Engineering is the job function of 50.9% of the respondents. 62% of the respondents companies employ 100 or more people and 40% purchase $250,000 or more each year in machining centers.
Presentation of Results
The report starts with an executive summary for the person who wants a concise overview. The body of the report explains the methodology of the study and presents the analysis and conclusions of the survey data. The total report is 233 printed pages with about 174 color charts and graphs. Appendixes are attached which list all the comments and the primary data tables.
For each major question asked, cross-correlations were done to see if answers varied based on size of the company or for the specific job function of manufacturing engineering. Significant variations are pointed out.
There is a 90% confidence level that, on a dichotomous question in the worst case, the survey data will be in a ± range of 4.5%.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 Introduction
- Chapter 2 Quality and Service
- Chapter 3 Important Characteristics
- Chapter 4 Best and Worst Performers
- Chapter 5 Preferred and Potential Features
- Chapter 6 Internet Use and Sales Channels
- Chapter 7 Demographics
- 1.1. Background
- 1.2. Purpose of the Research
- 1.3. Margin of Error
- 1.4. Methodology
- 1.4.1 Limitations
- 1.4.2. Non-Observational Errors
- 1.4.3. Observational Errors
- 1.5. Dedication
- 2. Quality and Service
- 2.1. Overall Product Quality
- 2.1.1. Overall Product Quality Ratings With 100 or more Respondents
- 2.1.2. Overall Product Quality Ratings With 25 or more Respondents Overall Product Quality Related to Annual Purchases
- 2.1.3. Overall Product Quality Related to Job Function
- 2.1.4. Overall Product Quality Rating for all Vendors Alphabetically
- 2.2. Overall Service to the Customer
- 2.2.1. Overall Service to the Customer Ratings With 100 or more Respondents
- 2.2.2. Overall Service to the Customer Ratings With 25 or more Respondents
- 2.2.3. Overall Service to the Customer Related to Annual Purchases
- 2.2.4. Overall Service to the Customer Related to Job Function
- 2.2.5. Overall Service to the Customer Rating for all Vendors Alphabetically
- 3. Importance of Characteristics
- 3.1. Rating of Characteristics
- 3.2. Other Important Factors
- 4. Best and Worst Performers
- 4.1. Machine Reliability
- 4.2. Performance of Machine
- 4.3. Cutting Accuracy
- 4.4. Availability of Replacement Parts
- 4.5. Resolves Problems in a Timely Fashion
- 4.6. Factory Service and Support
- 4.7. Ease of Operation
- 4.8. Capabilities of the CNC Control
- 4.9. Local Service and Support Availability
- 4.10. Ease of Maintenance
- 4.11. Documentation Provided with the Machine
- 4.12. Cycle Time (Speed of Operation)
- 4.13. Telephone Support
- 4.14. Warranty Terms
- 4.15. Vendor Training on Machine
- 4.16. Thermal Stability of Machine
- 4.17. Price of Replacement Parts
- 4.18. Financial Stability of Vendor
- 4.19. Pricing of Machine
- 4.20. Vendor Installation of Machine
- 4.21. Vendor is Technological Leader
- 4.22. Past Experience with a Vendor
- 4.23. Application Engineering Assistance
- 4.24. Shop Floor Programming Capabilities
- 4.25. Quality Salespeople
- 4.26. Machine Delivery Leadtime
- 4.27. Provides a Turnkey Solution
- 4.28. Remote Diagnostics
- 4.29. Worldwide Presence
- 4.30. Vendor Offers a Trade-In Policy
- 4.31. Vendor Can Remanufacture Old Machines
- 4.32. Overall Looks of the Machine
- 4.33. Vendor Provides Financing
- 5. Preferred and Potential Features
- 5.1. Control Architecture Preference
- 5.1.1. Control Architecture Preference by Title
- 5.1.2. Control Architecture Preference by Purchase Volume
- 5.2. Machine Center Feature Preferences
- 5.2.1. Machining Center Feature Preferences by Title
- 5.2.2. Machining Center Feature Preferences by Purchase Volume
- 5.3. Machine Center Feature Needs
- 6. Internet Use and Sales Channels
- 6.1. Internet Vision
- 6.1.1. Internet Vision by Title
- 6.1.2. Internet Vision by Purchase Volume
- 6.2. Distributor or Direct Rep
- 6.2.1. Distributor or Direct Rep by Title
- 6.2.2. Distributor or Direct Rep by Purchase Volume
- 6.3. Purchase Decision Maker
- 6.4. Preferred Vendors
- 7.1. Industries in Which Active
- 7.2. Number and Age of Machining Centers
- 7.3. Primary Job Function
- 7.5. Employees
- 7.5. Annual Machine Tool Purchases
Appendix A Sample Size Calculation
Appendix B Data Tables for Questions 2 and 3
Appendix C Listing of Open Ended Survey Responses