Quality of service.

Position:Industry outlook 2009

Q: How has the relationship changed between machine tool makers and customers--and where do you see it going in the future?

The responsibility of machine tool makers has evolved from not only building, supplying, and servicing their stock, but also educating their customers on how best to utilize these tools.

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"Being a machine tool manufacturer requires us to be more of a solution provider than was necessary in the past," said Howard Michael, president and CEO of Toyoda Machinery. "Customers are looking to us for more than just a good piece of equipment. They are looking to us for the technologies and expertise that will put them ahead of the curve in today's increasingly competitive global economy."

That change has come in large part because machine tool manufacturers have had to take the time to learn about their customers' business, Michael said. Without fully understanding their customer's industry, application, volume, and goals for growth and expansion, he said a provider cannot deliver the best short- and long-term solutions.

This is why it's important for a manufacturer to offer...

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