Articles

Get the right scope at the right price

Adding new scope capability doesn't have to leave you wondering if you're spending your lab budget wisely. ScopeMatch™ is a consulting service that will help you match your actual needs to the most appropriate scope type, and then find the best deal. And it’s offered by ASA, a company that's worked in the scope industry every day for almost 20 years.

Scope Mismatching

Problem #1 - Mismatching of Scope to the Work

At first glance, oscilloscopes might seem like wonders of modern technology, and in many ways they are. But in most cases, any real-time oscilloscope can be defined precisely by just 5 bullets:

  1. Analog bandwidth/sample rate
  2. Intrinsic noise
  3. Memory depth
  4. Probing solutions
  5. Price
Every day, we see engineering groups overbuy oscilloscope capability, in some cases severely... you can overspend by as much $150,000 on a high-end scope purchase and end up with capability you won’t need for many years, or ever. This happens because you might not have done a good job of matching your work to a particular level of scope performance, or you might have been a little too trusting of the mounting levels of bad advice from those with either a vested interest in seeing the purchase "go big," or "experts" who really aren't.

Just as over-buying is a common mistake in the high-end and upper-mid-range scope market, not buying enough scope capability is a common outcome for organizations moving up from "value"/lower-midrange to address new technology challenges. Under-buying scope capability is probably almost as expensive as over-buying.

Careless Buying

Problem #2 - Buying the Scope Carelessly

In both cases, it is common that "where" and "how" to buy the scope receive less than adequate consideration. Buying "new" from ScopeCo has its merits, but sometimes, the secondary market or renting for finite term are just better options. But this also has its risks, too. It is also important to realize that there are numerous kinds of secondary market providers, and some carry more risk than others. The Agilent CertiPrime organization has done an excellent job of documenting some of these risks. Check the link on the sidebar to see it.

ASA's ScopeMatch: The Right Box at the Right Price

At a time when the world economy is slowing significantly and high-visibility layoffs and pay cuts in the tech sector have already begun to take place, it's probably a really good time to stop wasting money on "brass plaque instruments". These are boxes that get into the lab at the expense of someone's job.... maybe even yours. ASA has launched the ScopeMatch service to make sure you have access to unbiased, credible, third-party advice on how much scope you need, and how to buy it less expensively. Your job and primary expertise is getting your parts or systems to market in the least amount of time... not being an expert on scope procurement. ScopeMatch will help keep you moving, and stretch your organization's T&M budget.

ScopeMatch offers to deliver five value propositions:

  • 1. We'll help you match the signals you need to see, now and into the future, with the right scope. Not too much. Not too little. And we have zero vested interest in whether you buy a lot or a little.
  • 2. We'll have a rational discussion about probing
  • 3. We'll have a rational discussion about software. Potential savings: Over $120k max, $25k-$75k typical.
  • 4. We'll have a rational discussion about renting vs buying for your particular situation... and...
  • 5. We'll talk with our partners in ALL of the scope markets to see about getting you the best possible price. You have one conversation instead of five while still getting the benefit of multiple vendors bidding for your business.

Impact Story

How Does ScopeMatch Impact Your Purchase?

An Example of the Savings: Saving $235k on a High-End Scope

The most powerful real-time scope on the market costs about $160k. Probes, and probe accessories, can cost over $21k each, or about $85k for a set of four. For about $120k, you can purchase all of the software options for that instrument. That means it's possible to spend someplace well north of $350k on one scope. Practically speaking, most would not buy the whole software portfolio and the software component for a scope at that level is more likely to be in the $25k to $75k range.

The way ScopeMatch might influence a purchase like this might look like the following: We'd take a look at your current and future needs from a credible, technical point of view and instead of that $160k box, you might do just as well with a $110k box, or even less. The same conversation might reveal you really only need $43k worth of probes or even less. We're... "pretty sure"... we can save you all of the money you'd spend on software through our Cirrus Program (think absolutely free software that does vastly more than what you can get from the manufacturer), though if you still want to buy the manufacturer's software, we'll obviously still help you. Once we know what you really need, we'll help you with the rent vs buy decision. At the end of the process, we'll take everything we learned about your work and your preferences and contact our partners at:

  1. The scope companies
  2. In the secondary and refurbished markets
  3. The rental markets if appropriate
Factoring in the savings possible from the secondary/refurb market, what was a purchase with a $350k upper limit is now closer to $115k. That $235k savings is just about dead-center on the cost of a fully-loaded engineer at most companies, not to mention you will have a much more powerful platform because of the up-shift in software capability.