MRO Magazine

PT buyers see product quality and on-time delivery as critical factors

Chicago,IL -- U.S. and Canadian end users rate the importance of product quality/reliability as the most critical f...


October 5, 2004
By MRO Magazine


Chicago,IL — U.S. and Canadian end users rate the importance of product quality/reliability as the most critical factor when buying one power transmission product over another. That information comes from research conducted recently by The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA).

The research assessed the needs and buying habits of customers of industrial power transmission products. Surveyed separately, U.S. and Canadian end-users were asked questions that addressed factors influencing product and vendor selection, willingness to pay for services and the role of price in the purchasing decision.

To qualify to participate in the survey, respondents needed to specify or buy at least one power transmission product from a list of 16 general categories. Among U.S. respondents, 58% specified or bought motors, with motor/motion control products (48%), hydraulics and pneumatics (47%) and pumps (45%) the next most common. In Canada, the most commonly specified or purchased products included motors (53%), hydraulics and pneumatics (44%), adjustable/variable speed drives (42%) and mounted bearings (41%).

Forty-four per cent of U.S. respondents described themselves as design engineers, followed by plant engineers (35%) and purchasing (21%). Of Canadian respondents, 44% described themselves as plant engineers, followed by design engineers (33%) and finally, purchasing (23%).


A broad range of end-use industries were represented by both U.S. and Canadian respondents. Nearly half of the U.S. respondents and more than half of the Canadian participants reported working in the miscellaneous manufacturing, fabricated metal product manufacturing and machinery manufacturing sectors.

On-time delivery/accuracy is considered the most critical factor when both U.S. and Canadian end-users select one power transmission vendor over another vendor. Other popular U.S. and Canadian responses included technical support, expertise and responsiveness.

Fifty-six per cent of U.S. end users said product knowledge was the most critical importance when asked to evaluate distributor and manufacturer salespeople characteristics. This was closely trailed by follow-through. Canadian respondents also classified sales representatives’ product knowledge as most critical, followed by application knowledge.

In order to isolate the role price pays in the overall purchase decision, respondents were asked how much of their decision is based in price versus other factors. The average U.S. respondent bases 47% of the decision on price; the average Canadian buyer attributes 50% of his decision to price.

Seventy-eight per cent of U.S. end users and 82% of Canadian end users currently receive expedited delivery from vendors, making it the most popular service received. Storeroom management and kitting were the least commonly received services in both markets.

Among those services for which U.S. end users currently are not charged but are willing to pay, training was mentioned by the highest percentage of respondents, followed by kitting, inventory management and engineering/design.

Other highlights from the research include:

– Nearly half of U.S. respondents have contracted power transmission vendors (45%), but on average these individuals make 33% of their purchases from non-contracted local vendors.
– Contracts appear to be less prevalent in Canada, with only 31% of respondents reporting they use contracted power transmission vendors.
– Only 30% of U.S. respondents and 40% of Canadian respondents receive bonuses or incentives in addition to base salary. Among this group, productivity is the most common factor affecting the bonus achievement.
– Average spend on in-plant (MRO) requirements over the past year was $1,987,433 in the U.S. Average resale (OEM) spend was $1,699,652. Similar data was not available from Canadian respondents due to insufficient response.

End-user research results for the U.S. are available for purchase in print format as "How Customers Buy" for US$49.95 to members ($349.00 to non-members). The U.S. report includes data broken out by end-user job function; OEM versus MRO purchases; and by size of company, both by number of employees and spend. Canadian results are available only to PTDA members for free download by visiting