Home Interviews THMG180 – Meter Purchasing Pitfalls with Dr. Eric Roy

THMG180 – Meter Purchasing Pitfalls with Dr. Eric Roy


In this episode, Bob and Mike discuss the potential pitfalls surrounding purchasing meters with Dr. Eric Roy.

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Complete Show Notes

2:15 Introduction to Dr. Eric Roy

  • PhD chemist who’s worked in R&D for hazmat meters – mostly works with customers now
  • People often make decisions that don’t make sense when purchasing meters – Eric’s team works to keep this from happening

6:25 Determining the Quality of a Meter

  • Dr. Roy recommends asking the vendor for federally-sponsored test reports before making a purchase
  • Some new meters might not have been evaluated yet, so keep that in mind – you’d be an early adopter
  • Be wary of third-party testing that the manufacturer paid for themselves

9:00 Choosing the Right Meter

  • Start with product literature – any vendor will have brochures or manuals you can check out
  • Salespeople are also very useful – they just want the right tool to land in the right person’s hands

10:45 Starting to Evaluate Meters

  • Do a smaller version of what federal agencies do
  • Figure out (and write down) what you need from your meter – what are your blind spots?
  • Nobody knows your use case better than you, so be wary of vendors who try to tell you what you need
  • You need to have plenty of hard data on hand since you’re probably spending a lot of money
  • The upfront preparation should take longer than the actual evaluation itself
  • Once you understand what you need, you just have to make sure the products you’re evaluating meet that need
  • Tell salespeople that you have a funded opportunity to purchase equipment with specific requirements
  • Assemble candidate companies based off sales claims and your expected needs
  • If you’re using a distributor to coordinate multiple vendors, ask to be trained by the manufacturers’ SMEs (subject matter experts) before evaluation
  • Don’t talk to the engineers in R&D – they are building the product and don’t speak your language
  • Instead, get the direct contact info of the SME who trained you and keep that on hand for future reference

19:00 Evaluation Stage

  • Prepare multiple real-life scenarios that your team encounters that you’ll need the device to handle
  • Plan to bring in substances that the device is designed to detect
  • Plan scenarios with false positives, too
  • Get in writing from the manufacturer that the meter will work as promised
  • Use each device in each scenario for apples-to-apples comparisons
  • Your resident skeptic should be present for all of the evaluations to act as a referee – they’ll keep your evaluation from going off the rails

29:30 Vendor References

  • All vendors will have happy references – be wary of them
  • You never know whether they got a great deal or if they get preferential treatment (i.e. early adopters)
  • You want to hear from customers who had a bad experience
  • What did the company do to make it right? Would you be happy with that outcome if it happened to you?
  • All vendors will have these people – if they say they don’t, they’re lying

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