How to buy an inflatable! Part 5 - Systems & Processes.

"Systems and processes that will guarantee your inflatable product”

Welcome to Part 5 of our 8 part blog series that focuses on how to effectively purchase a well-made inflatable

Every business implements systems and processes to guide the successful delivery of every job. Some of these systems are organically implemented as the need arises while others are sophisticated operational systems around which an entire industry has been created.

Whatever the systems and processes a business implements, it is important for you, the purchaser, to understand what those are when you purchase your Inflatable product.  This is not so with every industry but with Inflatables, we strongly suggest you understand those processes to ensure you get what you want, when you want it and within the budget you have.  

So what and why are these systems and processes so important?

Your first point of contact needs to build trust

A salesperson who is more concerned with selling you a product than making sure you get a favourable outcome will never question your motivation or need for a product. However a well-trained and concerned salesperson will need to make sure what you ask for is going to meet your needs. They will frame their pitch in a manner that will allow them to ensure that what they offer is indeed what you need, to ensure your hard earned cash will lead to a favouurable outcome.

Alarm bells should be ringing if at your initial request when you first make the call to a supplier they do not ask you many questions about the product you envisage and its use.

In order to produce the inflatable product you want, your supplier needs to be aware of all circumstances surrounding its use. The questions should cover where it will be located, its purpose and the outcome you wish to achieve. It’s also important for a designer to understand who will be using it and what staffing you envisage operating it. Without this information your supplier will not be able to guarantee that your product will be fit for purpose.

Documentation

Don’t sign on the dotted line and waste your hard earned cash
Always be aware that your guarantee will only be as good as the documentation your supplier uses as standard practice.

Before you sign up with a supplier, ask for their standard documentation to show the relevant processes and steps followed throughout the design and manufacturing process to ensure:
  • you fully understand the timing requirements for all approvals in order to ensure you receive your inflatable timeously;
  • you have the contact person responsible for your job if you have any queries or need any information;
  • you will be timeously notified if there is any delay or unforeseen hitch in the design or timing along the project steps;
  • you are provided with safety parameters relevant to your product so that you can ensure the inflatable is fit and safe for purpose;
  • you are made aware of  the steps employed by the manufacture relating to product testing and quality control prior to delivery;
  • you are advised about safe use, operations and maintenance by means of a clear instructions manual, video or on-site training you will be receiving.
  • you are advised of services available to you for the set up, manning, pack down, transportation, storage, maintenance, repair, cleaning etc of your product.
The Design Process

Make sure you know what you are getting

In order to ensure that your product has the correct look and feel and provides all the outcomes you intend, you need to ensure that the design process employed by your supplier is a consultative process which produces at the outset a detailed 3D design model for you to sign off on.  This allows you to check that what’s being offered is what you asked for. You should be able to actually see a scaled visual representation and all the details of your inflatable prior to going to manufacture stage.  It also ensures that all the branding, colours and logos are correct and appear in a visually pleasing and appropriate places.

Manufacturing Process

How can I ensure it won't fall apart after its first use?

Before finally signing with your chosen supplier, ensure that your inflatable product is being manufactured from suitable materials for its intended outcome. Ensure that there is a documented system that tracks the type and use of materials and hardware used in its production.

Project documentation is a key process in ensuring that what's shown in the drawings you received is in fact the same as is being made and that spares for that particular inflatable are always available.

Testing Phase

How will I know it looks like my drawings and performs as well as I need?

It is always recommended that you employ a supplier that performs a fully documented and comprehensive Quality Control and Testing phase prior to delivery of the finished product.  To ensure that this will take place ask to see their Quality Control and Product Testing documentation. If this cannot provided be very wary of the supplier you are choosing.

Delivery Phase

How can I ensure it gets here on time in budget and will be workable as promised?

After production, testing, quality checking and certification has been complete your new valuable asset will need to be packed in a manner that is conducive to its delivery and subsequent use. You need to be assured that when its repacked after use it will still fit in its protective packaging.
Make sure you are clear, upfront, how delivery will take place and that the costs have been factored in at the quoted price or will be an extra.

If your own staff will be setting up the inflatable, manning it during use and packing down the inflatable, it may be worthwhile investigating at the outset if staff training will be available. Your supplier should also be able to give you advise about the documentation you may be required to submit when using your inflatable. Advise should also be forthcoming about physical aids to assist your staff in the correct processes and useful additional products that can make the moving and operational process that much easier. 

Certification

Can I get insurance and permission for its use in public spaces.?

Prior to committing to purchasing your valuable inflatable asset, ensure that your supplier can issue you with the required certification. That may include proof that that the product is manufactured according to Australian Standards, that its been tested and that its worthy to be operated as needed..  Without this certification you are exposed to risk and your insurance policy will be unlikely to cover any loss or damage.

Maintenance and Servicing

How do I ensure that my valuable asset will continue to safely operate?

Prior to ordering an inflatable, you should ensure that your supplier can maintain, service, repair, clean and annually certify your product as compliant in order to ensure the ongoing safety of your product and its longevity.

Conclusion

Before committing to making an investment in an inflatable  and spending your hard earned cash on a valuable asset, ensure that you have asked the hard questions. Satisfying answers to those delving questions will lead to peace of mind. Its the answer to those questions only that will ensure you are not left holding an expensive dud. Only suppliers that answer the call of wanting to ensure you get what you want in time and on budget by having the answers before you ask are worthy of your trust.


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