Exposing “Hidden Costs” of purchasing a Spectrophotometer

Our current market situation predicates that we are very cost conscious, both in running our business, as well as in what we offer our customers.

Managers, supervisors and purchasing departments demand, decree, and request best prices and discounts as a matter of course. As this global “Weak Economy” situation has been in place since 2008, the game has changed over the past 8 years somewhat, and we would like to share our experiences and policies with you.

  • Do you need a Spectrophotometer?

    While you may receive a direct call, visit or e-mail from us, most of our customers come to us with a need.

    A show, advertising, an event of a Google Search, or even one of those Facebook posters that slide into your view, sparks the idea that you need this type of device. In many cases our customers have never had or used a Spectrophotometer, and while often requesting a quotation for a specific Instrument, a short discussion often reveals that something else may be better. So the first hidden cost is do you actually require a device at all? What to do? We have had cases where customers have requested quotations for an Instrument to solve a problem which we well knew would not solve it. We declined to quote and probably have made a short term bad impression in these cases. In the long run, we will be thanked for saving a wasteful expenditure.So on this point, while we can and often do visit customers and carry out demonstrations, we have set up a Central Show Room where customers can in peace and quiet look at a few options at one time, and see which solution is best. 

  • What does a Spectrophotometer do? (Colour and Appearance applications)

    A Spectrophotometer measures either reflected or transmitted light from an object, returns a Spectral Curve as well as returns values in a Colour Space calculation as closely as possible to the human perception and sense and this describes the Colour  of an object.
    Spectroscopy does not return much detail about the character of a colour.

    Depending on the model, there are portable and bench-top instruments capable of measuring almost any object.
    One would use a Spectrophotometer to:
    — Compare a Target colour to Samples (Say production) for conformity.
    — Colour Grade samples into categories (Batches).
    — Accurately describe colour to create a formulation for a real colour in Plastics or Paint or other materials
    — Authenticate  colour chemical make up by analysing the Reflectance Curve (Food stuffs)
    — Measure Haze
    — Measure or verify many more colour and appearance related tasks.

  • How much should I pay for an Instrument?

    This is not the question. Most suppliers today specialise in niche solutions, and if their prices were not competitive within their niche, they would cease to exist.

    The actual question is: What does my problem cost? If our solution is more expensive than the cost of the problem, you do not need our solution. We offer a wide range of solutions designed to fit many applications at competitive prices, so talking to us will help.

  • What else must I pay for?

    This will depend very much on your circumstances and staffing, but lets list a number of items and their related implications:

    — Loan Instruments – We do NOT loan instruments to measure once off arbitrations, crash test in your business or see if they will survive your conditions. We charge for instruments we temporarily rent for a short term project on a per time / per model basis subject to being capable of using the Instrument, housing it securely and insuring it for loss or damage.

    — Shipment – Is not a profit centre for us and is shown on our quotations ex works the manufacturer. You may collect the instrument if you feel we are over charging, at your own risk.

    Technology Transfer Training:

    — Installation – The setting up of and confirmation that the Instrument is working is included in our price. We reserve the right for remote sites to charge of on-site presence.
    — Orientation – Most Tertiary Qualified users can read the manual and use the Instrument without us, but we offer On Site Orientation Modules by quotation per session.
    — Implementation – Many customers find that while they can operate the Instrument they are still not getting the Data they require. We offer On Site Orientation Modules by quotation per session with the requirement that a senior or supervisor level person is fully present. The requirements are analysed and normally a solution given.
    — Customisation – Many customers have special request like report format, special equations, special conditions and the like. We offer On Site Customisation Modules by quotation per session as well as pre session work where applicable. Written specifications are required in this regard.
    — Repetition – Staff changes are a continuous corporate reality. We can repeat any module at the current applicable pricing.


    — Software – Our software comes in Three Categories:
    1. Utility – Used to extract data to Excel – No support
    2. Quality Assurance – Used to operate most Instruments and extract multiple data – Supported
    3. Computer Colour Matching (CCM) – Used top predict colour formulations – Supported

    Utility Software enables direct extraction from some instruments to an Excel Spread sheet. It is self explanatory and no support is offered.
    Quality Assurance Software – SpectraMagic NX – Comes with detailed manuals and interactive help ad video tutorials. Support is available on a charged basis.
    Computer Colour Matching – Colibri Software – Requires intensive consulting and implementation locally and typically with International Consulting charges.

    The time and cost of support will depend very much on the level of staff designated as users.

    Computers – While FIRMWARE is managed by our Service Department, all of the above software requires a Microsoft OS PC or Laptop. We will supply preconfigured PC’s at competitive prices plus preconfiguring charges which EXCLUDE your Network and Security settings which remain the customers responsibility.

    Data – The very purpose of having an Instrument and / or software is to gather data. All data captured whether in on-board Firmware or External Software is the sole responsibility of the User / Customer at all times. While we take care not to loose data or change settings during service, certain repairs will result in Data Loss.

  • Other costs of ownership:

    Warranty Claims – All of our Instruments are supplied with Industrial User Terms and Conditions (Not Consumer Rights). In the event of a suspected Warranty claim, the customer must ship the Instrument and all related accessories and software to our nearest Service Centre in Johannesburg or Cape Town. If deemed a genuine warranty claim by our Service Technician, the product will be repaired free of charge. We will however charge an inspection fee to ascertain if the warranty claim is valid or not. If a valid warranty claim is granted the Instrument is returned to the customer without charge.

    Calibration Certification –
    A Calibration Certificate is valid for 12 months from the time of completion according to international Norms. If you use an instrument in an harsh environment, it may require to be SERVICED more often, and the certificate does not ensure performance for any period of time, only at the time of certification. Calibration Certificates are a bureaucratic requirement and do not ENSURE Instrument Performance. Certification is a part of your supply chain requirements, and is recommended by us but not required.Calibration Prices are managed globally by Konica Minolta.

    For your convenience we have a number of Calibration Certification Service Level Agreements on request.

    Service & Repairs –
    Narich (Pty) Ltd is an Authorised Service Centre  and able to meet your requirements with a Service Centre in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

  • Discounts and Pricing arrangements:

    Discounts – We are careful to always quote the recommended prices as managed by our Principals. Due to our internal Ethical Standards as well as normal competitive standards, we do not accept that we automatically overcharge to allow later discounts. Our first price is our best price. Globally Managed Accounts (GMA’s) may have special concessions on a Global Basis agreed with Konica Minolta, which we pass on automatically, unless we were not made aware of the agreement internally.
    Our quotations are valid for fixed periods and values and are subject to our terms and conditions. If customers modify say payment terms without negotiation, we reserve the right to change quotations accordingly.
    Large company’s are not necessary large customers, so terms and conditions applied to other suppliers are not readily accepted by us.

    Exchange Rates –
    Due to the volatility of all currencies, Budget Quotations are generally in the Source Currency i.e. either Euro or US Dollar. We Accept payment in both these currencies via our local Euro and US Dollar FCA arrangements with our South African Bank.If you require to pay in South African Rand, a ZAR Invoice is applied at the time. While exchange rates are taken into account, exchange rates are not the sole basis of the conversion from a foreign currency budget quotation. We do not enter into exchange rate discussions on ZAR Invoices.

    Recourse – While we take every care to look after our customers in a professional and ethical manner, our customers always have the recourse to speak directly with our principals on any matter. Should they agree with you, we will know all about it.