Top 10 Considerations When Selecting a CAD/CAM Representative

Last week, we discussed the top 10 things to evaluate when looking for CAM. This week, we’ll take a more in-depth look at one item on that list – your local software representative.
Your CAD/CAM representative plays an important role in your use of the software. They will offer you technical support, answer your questions, and make sure you are productive as quickly as possible. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate them when choosing a new CAD/CAM system.
Here’s s a quick list of the top 10 things to consider about your CAD/CAM software dealer:
1. What is the dealer’s history?
How long has the dealer been in operation and how long have they been selling the software? If they’ve been successfully selling and supporting the software for years, chances are they have a strong company based on a good product, and will be there when you need them.
A newer dealer may also have a lot to offer. Do they have previous experience with the software or a good background in the manufacturing or CAD/CAM industries? Look for evidence that a new dealer is willing to go the extra mile for you.
2. Does the dealer offer local support?
Training and support are crucial to a smoothly running shop. A good dealer will make sure that you have the support you need. This can be done through support contracts which let you call whenever you have a question. Most also offer training either on or off-site.
3. Can your dealer offer you additional training options?
You may want training on a schedule that is different than the one offered by your dealer. Schools and colleges often offer training classes in specific CAD/CAM systems, and your dealer may be able to put you in touch with these facilities. They will also be able to recommend books, DVDs and websites to fill the need.
4. What is the dealer’s territory?
Some CAD/CAM developers will assign a specific territory. If the territory is small, the dealer may handle all sales and support through his company. If the territory is large, they may have their own network of sales and support staff to ensure proper customer service.
5. Is the dealer dedicated to the CAD/CAM software?
Top-notch dealers, just like NC programmers, try to find the best CAD/CAM package and stick with it. One who sells several competing CAM products may have their time and skill spread across too many packages.
6. What is the dealer’s skill level?
When you schedule a demo, ask them to program a part that is similar to your work. The representative should be proficient enough to program your part while explaining the process in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
7. What is the dealer’s reputation?
When you’re investigating CAD/CAM systems, it’s often a good idea to ask other shops for their recommendations. The same is true for a CAD/CAM dealer. A dealer with a reputation for prompt service and reliable support is better than one who is out to make a fast profit without the long-term commitment to your satisfaction and success with the product.
8. Does the dealer demonstrate computer literacy?
Your dealer should be able to help you choose hardware with the correct system requirements to get the most from your CAD/CAM system. Some dealers offer computer hardware as well as CAD/CAM software, while others may be able to recommend a hardware dealer.
9. Is the dealer familiar with your industry?
A good dealer will have a working knowledge of your industry in general, as well as local issues that may affect you. He or she may also be able to give you direction, advice and industry contacts such as machine tool dealers and suppliers.
10. How strong is the dealer network?
Is the dealer part of a strong worldwide sales and support network? This is useful for you because dealers often rely on one another for tips and advice from around the globe. In addition, other dealers in the network may develop add-ons to the CAD/CAM package and may know of software utilities that can help you in a highly specialized application. If they are in contact with others in the network, they will be able to let you know about these specialty tools.

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