Price Versus Quality

2010 | Feb | Price Versus Quality | Metronics Digital Readout Systems

The Gucci Family Slogan: Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.


We’re responding to the topic everyone has been raising about price versus quality with regard to DRO’s during the past year as a result of the recession.

Quality versus Price

An example to kick off with is John. John’s new lathe has been delivered and now that it’s in his workshop, the only thing left to do is to get one of the DRO guys to install a Digital Readout System. He’s thought it through and has settled on a 3-axis system. The question was … which system was he going to buy? Ten years back, it had been an easier decision. There were only a few systems around but today… well today there must be about 10 or 15 to choose from. The Chinese systems are the cheapest of course and then there are a couple of systems that range between medium prices to the absurdly expensive.

John knows that his choices are a reflection of his own values, not something imposed on him by the salesman. For one thing, John looks for value for money and secondly, he gets really frustrated when things break down too often – he wants a thing to work without it being an ongoing hassle.

He also knows of course that quality and price need to be balanced. He’s done his homework. He’s got the quotes and listened to the sales guys.  He knows that in each category of DROs there’s a hierarchy of price and quality from lowest cost to highest cost.

But… what John does not know is that the DRO selection he eventually makes can have a huge impact on the final cost.

When John contacted Klaus at Metronics he told John that being a designer and manufacturer of DROs himself, he has a dilemma. “As DRO manufacturers, we are constantly being asked to achieve two seemingly conflicting goals: assure the high quality of products while keeping costs low”. Klaus told him that in order to resolve these two conflicting issues, a structured approach towards cost and quality can help.

We agreed with John that buying DROs is no longer the straightforward price comparison it once was. For example, our experience over the past decades has shown us that without accurate assessment, customers may buy on price alone, which can lead to high operating and maintenance costs and high upgrades costs. What we at Metronics have found is that overall; customers want reliability, high productivity, and the “lowest total operating costs over the life of a DRO”.

Tracking costs and future costs pays off

1. Replacement DRO parts for cheap imported Readouts are a key expenditure often not taken into consideration. For example, when a scanning head fails, most companies selling imported DRO systems have to replace the entire scanning head – a costly business. Metronics on the other hand is able to locate the exact problem in the scanning head of its system and will repair the specific fault – a less costly business.

Instead of replacing, Metronics repairs!

2. How many times do DRO parts have to be replaced? It’s no secret that many parts of the cheaper DRO scanners break or fail regularly and that suppliers have boxes of failed scanners they’ve had to replace. Someone’s paying for the imports of all these new scanners…and that someone is you, the customer! How many times does your company have to replace failing imported DRO parts over a 20-year period? 3…5….8 times…?

It’s not unusual for our customers to report 15 to 20 years down the line that they have never had a problem with Metronics DRO systems.

3. Most DRO companies import expensive DRO parts instead of sourcing inexpensive replacement parts. For example, for the last 25 years, Metronics has had high quality lips for glass scales made locally – (we even have lips for imported scales).

Instead of adding to your expenses, Metronics adds to your company’s bottom line!

4. Labour and down-time as a result of DRO breakdowns are future costs the sales guys never mention.

In addition to future costs such as,

– buying new replacement parts

– paying to have parts brought in by expensive air freight to minimize downtime

Buying a cheap DRO leads to future costs such as,

– the cost of future down-time

– paying for future labour hours

– paying for future travel costs

It’s difficult to justify these extra expenses when they are not necessary!

Instead, Metronics can supply off the shelf, or can assemble a new part within a day with no freight costs, less down time (if any) and at a reasonable cost.

When John did the maths to find out what the final cost of a DRO was likely to be over a 20 to 25-year period; this is what he discovered –

Option 1: Buying the cheapest DRO. When he tracked the future costs it became clear that the cost over the life of the DRO was not cheap after all!

Option 2: Buying a Metronics DRO. Tracking future costs showed the Metronics System not only cost much less than a “cheap” system over time but he would end up with a good balance of quality and price. He also wanted peace of mind and he knew he’d have basically no hassles with our DRO system.

Is price important, yes it is … but no price is a good price if you don’t like the quality!

Tip of the month

Service your equipment. Just like those unseen enemies of the body, like cholesterol that quietly blocks our arteries and can lead to a heart attack so, a build up of oil and dirt on your DRO scales could suddenly lead to scratched glass, “DRO Failure” & a costly new scale. Service your DRO equipment regularly!

By Leslie Zimmermann | Metronics Marketing

Metronics: 011 646-8738

Metronics Mobile: 083 268 6074

Metronics Web:

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