Effective purchase decision-making on, for example, investing in new equipment, can be helped if you start by looking at the problem as a four level hierarchy of needs. Make sure that each level of the hierarchy is addressed, understood, and agreed to, in order from one to four, before proceeding on to the next. Don’t confuse the levels.
The four levels are:
1- The desired impact on your business you wish the purchase will make. E.g. Increased profit, competitive advantage, attract new clients etc.
2- The benefits to your business the purchase will need to have in order to deliver the desired impact. E.g. Shorter makeready, less waste, faster turnaround, better print fidelity, etc.
3- The features of the proposed equipment or process that will lead to the benefits. E.g. Fewer steps, greater accuracy, automation, etc.
4- The technology behind the features. E.g. Laser technology, media technology, thermal compensation, etc.
In most cases, the features and especially the technology are only useful for helping to understand and prove how the benefits and the net impact will be achieved.