Total Cost of Ownership for a Test System: Nine Key Considerations
by John Arnold, on Apr 29, 2020
4 minute read
Investing in a new test stand is an important step in growing your capabilities. It is critical to understand the complete picture to avoid the pain of overlooked details and under-equipped test systems that can be costly to remedy while undermining your goals.
When preparing to procure a new test system, there are many different factors to consider: breadth of applications; system usage and demand; technical capability; expected life cycle; long term support and technology upgrade path; timeline; etc. For many, chief among the considerations when buying a new test stand is cost. But cost goes beyond the quoted price of a test stand.
Total Cost of Ownership (or TCO) is comprised of two primary areas:
- The cost of acquiring and maintaining your test equipment
- The cost of lost opportunities
Here are nine key considerations when calculating the TCO for your new test stand:
1. Test Stand Price
When reviewing test stand proposals, make sure that you understand what is included in the test stand price. Are there any additional items or services that you will need to purchase? Do you understand which items are your responsibility and which items are the test stand vendor's responsibility? Testek Solutions proposals are organized to make reviewing and understanding what is included is simple, with a pricing table and clearly defined sections outlining what is included and who has which responsibilities.
2. Adapters and Test Program Sets
All test stands require an adapter kit to attach the test part for testing. Are these included in the test stand price? Do they need to be purchased separately? What is included in the adapter kit? Does the adapter kit include all necessary connections? Are there test fixtures or tooling that you need to purchase from the test unit OEM? In addition, if a test stand uses semi-automatic or automatic test operation, you will need a Test Program Set (TPS). Is the TPS included with the adapter kit?
A quality design and quality system components cost money. Are the cheapest available system components the best option for your operation? Testek designs feature higher quality components that offer optimal productivity and have proven reliability and accuracy.
Who will be coordinating the shipment of your test stand from your vendor's site to your facility? Who will pay for shipping? If applicable, who will pay for import or export taxes? How will the test stand get to your facility? Shipping terms are clearly identified in all Testek Proposals.
Where will your test stand be located? Will you be placing your test stand in an existing space? Will it fit in your existing space with plenty of clearance? Does your space have all necessary facilities for test stand operation (e.g., compressed air supply, cooling water supply, appropriate electrical supply)? Do you need to make any modifications to your building? Do you need to add ventilation? Or will you be constructing a new space? What kind of equipment will you need to install your test stand? Will you buy or rent installation equipment? What kind of labor do you need to install your test stand? Testek can offer installation supervision and installation services upon request.
After your test stand is installed, what do you need to keep it running? How much does your test fluid cost? Where will you get it? What is the cost of electricity for running your test stand? Should you keep spare system components in stock? Testek can provide strategic spare parts packages, which can include system components that need to be replaced at regular intervals, as well as critical components. Having these spare parts available at your facility helps to minimize test system downtime when maintenance is required.
Is the test stand designed for ease of maintenance? At Testek, we design all of our equipment so that maintenance is a minimal disruption to your operation. System components that require more frequent maintenance (such as filters) are located near access doors. Our test stands are designed so that maintenance of any one item does not require disassembly of other items.
Who will maintain your test system? For many customers, maintenance of their test stands is performed by their own team. However, our Aftermarket Services division offers many different support options, ranging from on-demand remote support, to annual calibration services, to on-site maintenance contracts.
9. Upgrades, Modifications, and Future Capability
When purchasing a new test stand, it's important to plan beyond your immediate testing needs. Consider what test parts you may want to test in the future. Will this test stand be able to meet your future needs? If not, what upgrades or modifications are required? Can these modifications be made at your facility? Is it more cost-effective to include future capabilities now? While the initial purchase price may be higher, Testek offers many options for test stands that are designed to exceed your current testing needs and give you a clear upgrade path. With these options, adding new test capability is easy and often only requires the purchase of an adapter and test program set. Test stands designed for future capability help to minimize test stand downtime when upgrading or adding new capabilities.
As test stand experts with over 50 years of experience, we have helped thousands of customers stand-up test systems. Our team can guide you through calculating your TCO to ensure that you are ready to keep your test stand running.