Selecting a good or service can become an exercise in cost/benefits analysis, requirements gathering and trying to understand what criteria are important to the person or organization that is purchasing the product (Kaplan and Norton, 76). Throughout the research phase of the product selection it is important to understand what the consumer of that good really needs regarding functionality, serviceability, and support. When a product is said to have high quality it is imperative to understand what the company perceives as quality metrics and what areas of the product are deemed a necessity by the purchaser.
Products are generally provided by multiple vendors and provide similar attributes and key performance dynamics that are used to either promote their product or off a standard functionality. An example of this type of product that is offered by multiple vendors but hold similar functionality is that of a cordless impact. The purpose of a cordless impact driver is to provide a means for the user to exert a tremendous amount of force to loosen or tighten fasteners in automotive, construction or other projects. This also gives the ability to be mobile which ultimately increases the range of the user. The key deliverables for this product search includes power measured in driving and loosening torque, battery life, durability, handling and cost (Berendson 2012).
With that list of simplistic measures the initial round of comparison started out with three vendors that were accessible both through the internet and in brick and mortar locations. The reason this is an important function is that on paper the comparisons may have similar results and the final deciding factor may be form, fit and function in an actual demonstration on those key characteristics. The three vendors selected based upon the key preferences include Milwaukee, DeWalt and Craftsman.
The three vendors have multiple cordless impact drivers available but since the project work that these tools would be utilized for would fall into the light to medium effort the range of options were slimmed down slightly. The first cordless impact driver is the Milwaukee M18 18-volt driver. This driver provides some key aspects that I didn’t realize were imperative until I actually contacted users of this type of tool. I contacted my local mechanic as well as a family member that’s primary profession was carpentry and there were two additional requirements added to my list. The first is the adjustable trigger speed and the next was the belt hook. While these seem like obvious selections these features are not always present in the models selected. The Milwaukee weighs about 2.5 pounds and uses a lithium-ion battery. This is also important because the technology used for lithium-ion batteries allows for a lighter battery pack. This becomes a key selling point based on the extended usage of the tool. The torque of the tool tops out at 1400 inch-pounds for driving force. It is available both in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online with shipping to my location. The cost for this tool with battery pack was $162.00 plus tax and shipping.
The next comparison was on the DeWalt brand. As I research more about the product I knew that I needed to have an 18-volt tool based performance and longevity. The 18-volt DeWalt DC825KA tool weighed in at a staggering 10.2 pounds. While that may not seem like a significant weight, in the world of carpentry and light duty utilization over the course of a few hours that 10+ pounds will begin to strain the user. The weight increase is based on DeWalt’s use of NiCAD battery technology as opposed to lithium-ion. The driving torque of this tool is rated at 1,330 inch-pounds. The cost of this unit with battery is $135.00 plus shipping and tax.
The last impact driver is the Craftsman brand. Craftsman does not have an 18-volt version but they do have a 19.2-volt. This tool has a heavy NiCAD battery as well but weighs in at a pound less than the DeWalt. The Craftsman is below all others in regard to the torque which comes in at 900 inch-pounds. The tool is still priced the same as the others coming in at $160.00 with battery. The Craftsman tools does not seem to be in a position to compete in the cordless impact driver arena with the other cordless impact driver considering the higher cost, heavy weight and exponentially less power.
All three products are usable in certain situations that require the impact driver. As the reviews progressed there was one clear choice that met the requirements regarding, power, durability, usability, fit, availability and weight. This was the Milwaukee impact driver. This choice was based on the ultimate need of the tool as well as the usability of the tool coupled with the reviews on longevity of the battery. The selection process was made a bit simpler by the fact that one of the cordless impact drivers did not necessarily compete in performance and durability as the others. The Craftsman impact driver was focused more on brand loyalty and adding an additional tool to the targeted segment of users that leveraged off of the 19.2 volt Craftsman batteries. Since my requirements were for a stand-alone tool that was powerful, durable, light and easy to use, the Milwaukee walked away as the choice.
Berendson, R. “Impact Driver Comparison Test.” Popular Mechanics. Web. (2012). http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/power-tools/impact-driver-comparison-test#slide-1
Kaplan, R. and Norton, D. “Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System,” Harvard Business Review (January-February 1996): 76. Print.
Project Management Institute. “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fourth Edition.” Project Management Institute. Newtown Square, PA. (2008). Print.