If water or wastewater treatment is not your core competency, then chances are pretty good that you will, at some point, need to engage the expertise of a water service provider. With water playing such an integral role in myriad industries, its treatment and/or disposal is not something to be taken lightly.
According to Tim Crowley, business director of General Industry Solutions for Evoqua Water Technologies, there are a few key attributes that you should look for when selecting a water treatment partner. Among them is expertise. “The customer should look for a provider who has a very good knowledge of the customer’s business and the type of water systems that it requires,” said Crowley.
But even more importantly, he said, that knowledge must be accessible. “That means that the people who touch that customer have to have the highest levels of competency, communication, and dedication to that customer.” The ideal water service provider will have very knowledgeable sales people backed up by deep application engineering, project management, and manufacturing expertise, he said.
Another important criteria is the size of the water service provider. “These can be long-term contracts,” Crowley said. “You want to know that your water service provider has the financial strength to survive any market downturns.”
But size has another benefit: reach. A water service provider with national purchasing power can pass that advantage along to the customer “in the form of a competitive selling price - not necessarily the lowest price, but a competitive selling price - for the long lifecycle of the water system,” he said.
However, he added, simply being the biggest isn’t enough; it’s very important to have a local presence. “A company that has a very large corporate location but not really anything local will have to fly people in to the customer’s location,” he explained. “That’s a risk to the customer in terms of time.” A water service provider with a local presence (within a couple of hours of the customer’s site) provides an opportunity to build a relationship with the sales staff and technical services groups that will be working with the customer on a regular basis. “That’s what truly puts the resources of a big company at the customer’s disposal,” he said.
But above all, the absolutely most important quality to look for in your water service provider is that it has a strong safety culture in place. “That is extremely important,” said Crowley. Customers should expect any water company that they invite into their facilities to be able to adhere to the rules and regulations that govern their business. “A water service provider that does not have a solid safety culture in place will have a hard time following the customer’s rules and regulations.”
Crowley advises discussing key safety metrics with your water service provider so that you know safety is integrated into the entire lifecycle of its business practices.
Editor’s note: Read more about these and other important attributes in the full interview with Evoqua’s Tim Crowley, “6 Things to Look for in a Water Service Provider,” on WaterWorld.com.