Industries idealistically look for suppliers prepared to "tailor to customer needs".
Does such a beast really exist? Is it possible to find a supplier not only with leading edge products but one prepared to adapt to your requirements?
Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd (HCA) found just such a supplier many years ago in the form of Bulbeck Envirosolutions, a company that continues to reinforce the value in their relationship.
When HCA's national refurbishment centre for excavator motors and pumps was established at Muswellbrook six years ago, Bulbeck established a relationship as the provider of parts cleaning equipment, supplies and services.
In those days it was very much a marriage of convenience given that the Newcastle based company could provide a quick response. Today it's very much a mutually beneficial partnership.
HCA's Muswellbrook Workshop Manager Peter Wydeman said that a perfect example of this was HCA's recent decision to re-design its workshop while replacing and upgrading equipment to cater to a growth rate of 300% in just six years.
"We wanted to two new filtered parts cleaners and five standard ones but advised that the existing Bulbeck units wouldn't fit under our new benches.
"They had completed the re-design and started manufacturing the bases before we even placed the order," Wydeman said.
For a workshop that is busy by international standards, with 21 staff refurbishing, 70-100 units per month, a proven, adaptable supplier is a huge benefit, let along one who designs and manufactures equipment to the highest standards.
In the early days, Bulbeck provided some very basic equipment but each time HCA's needs changed the company was able to match them, utilising a market leading, solvent based, parts cleaning machine offering four-tier filtration and a proprietary solvent specially developed in conjunction with Shell.
HCA tried the machine first and it was only in the workshop for a matter of weeks before the decision was made to lease units.
"We use the filtered system to clean the final product before it gets assembled so we don't have any contaminants because it's all to do with hydraulics and fine tolerances," he said.
Peter said that quite apart from machine performance, to ISO 16/13 and its reliability, Bulbeck's lease/rental alternatives backed by a regular materials and equipment supply program were real advantages.
"The service has also been excellent," he said, citing this as one of the main reasons for the latest order of seven new parts cleaning machines.
"We just never needed to go anywhere else. There were few problems and when there were any they were fixed straight away," he said. As well as parts cleaning machines, Bulbeck also provides HCA with hot wash machines to further reduce labour and time spent on non-productive work.
Featuring unique Bulbeck developed wash water filtration and clean water rinse systems, the machines are a breed apart in the market.
HCA's Muswellbrook workshop currently employs 21 people and is looking to increase staff to 26 in the short term. Peter would be the first to admit that it's probably easier to have a manufacturer tailor a piece of equipment to your requirements than to attract fitters and machinists in competition with the all-consuming coal industry in a place like Muswellbrook.
He'd be equally confident that the new look workshop equipped with the best in equipment such as the new bank of parts cleaners and hot wash machines will at least give HCA an edge.